I have family members who are our landlords, and others that own second houses. Is this a “no ethical consumption under capitalism” moment or what do I need to do about this?
being a landlord or owning a second house is a big no no, I cant see any situation its good in, its directly exploitative, even if they are renting it for cost value they’re still gaining the capital on the house, they’ve taken a house off the market that someone else could have owned themselves as their actual home and been paying the mortgage on. this is a bit of a market based argument but still, even under those circumstances its unethical.
its also just a way for people who have alot of money to make even more money from that money, and accelerate away from those without much money.
It really depends on the context. There is a non-exploitative demand for (cheap) rentals as well, even in a “perfect” anarchist society. Renting gives more flexibility and not everyone wants to / can deal with the maintenance.
I would say if it is a tight urban market and they are profiting of the supply shortage both due to higher rent and increase in house market value then it isn’t very ethical. But somewhere in a rural setting with more or less surplus housing, there isn’t really much to be concerned about.
I don’t know about where you live obviously but here in the uk there isn’t really any surplus of housing in rural areas, in fact many rural villages are being taken over by second home owners and airbnb rentals, which drives up the price on the few remaining houses, leaving the more built up areas where most property is bought buy landlords to be let.
I’m pretty sure a ‘perfect’ anarchist society could help people who can’t do so to maintain their homes as well as having lodgings for those who don’t want to live in one place for long, these aren’t rocket science.
What should I do about it?
As metawish said above it’s very important to know what sort of relationship you have with these people. It’s not very effective to go around making out of the blue quite drastic(for the current society) demands and expecting people to just do those things, it’s just going to have the opposite effect of cutting those people off from you.
It sounds like you’re quite young so I would suggest the answer might be nothing. Perhaps at most just sow some distrust of the very idea of landlordism or owning property in this way (sort of life real life meme magic). For instance I like to ask the open question “what does a boss even do?” (I seem to remember this comes from malatesta), an open question like this isn’t that confrontational and won’t have much immediate effect but the other person may go away and ponder over this question, they may not even come to the conclusion you’d have liked but at least they’ve have started to give it some thought rather than just presume it’s the way it always should be.
But if you really think you have a good relationship with these people where you could sit down and talk seriously to these people about the ills on society of being a landlord then go for it, but don’t expect them to change right away.
I can think of one or two instances where you would want or need a landlord; for those who want their own space but do not want the hassle of upkeep/maintence amd/or cannot upkeep/maintain the property, and as transient housing for folks. I know there are people who want, need, and desire this sort of housing structure due to disability, age, or other status. Should we just ignore that for black and white thinking?
I think it’s very black and white thinking to suppose that a single use case gives the green light to a practise such as landlording. Just to be clear I take that landlordism always involves someone owning a house and charging another rent to live there.
Within a non-market anarchist society I’m pretty sure we could figure out a way to provide a space to live for those who would prefer to be transitory. It might be an odd example but it’s the one that comes to mind, but buddhist monasteries in medieval china always maintained guest quarters for travellers. I don’t have all the answers but it’s easy to see that this situation isn’t rocket science and could easily be fixed without resorting to landlordism.
As for upkeep/maintenance, those who cannot do this would surely be helped by their community, this is the entire point of anarchist mutual aid.
I find it very strange to be on an anarchist community with people advocating for landlordism.
Hmm those are good points, and while the example is old, it servers as a great example of what could be possible. Existance in capitalism causes brainrot in the sense I didn’t think more creatively for a solution that isnt so exploitative. So thanks
I totally get you, it’s sometimes so hard to think outside of the bounds of capitalism that infests our every waking moment, like I say I’m no expert and don’t have all the answers but I’m convinced that the ability to have a stateless non-capitalist society is there if we dream hard enough.
The society envisaged in bolo’bolo (well worth a read!) Tries to build in the ability to freely travel between bolos, because that sort of shit is important if we want localism but some benefits of wider mixing and the town 20 miles away not becoming a weird place we just don’t understand in our village and hence start to fear and otherise.
Well if you are here I assume that you agree that property is theft.
Or at least that you are familiar with such an idea, so what I will try to do is ask you what other uses you could give to said property. The question gets easier to answer when there are people freezing to death and we are keeping people outside so we can keep property value high enough.
I could go on and argue that such behavior is just a subproduct of playing the game. But I will stop myself because I think we all agree that to resist is also to not think about only our personal interests.
I mean, do you have a relationship where you can talk to your family members seriously about housing?
Also, your phrasing makes me pause, the whole point of capitalism is to own as much private property as possible. So no, owning private property is not unethical. Owning property under capitskism is actually ethical and encouraged.
I’ll assume ethical in a broader sense, and say its part “no ethical consumption”. The best option would be to just give the deed and mortgage over to the tenants. Next down would be to have them pay just enough to cover the bills as if they were owning the property. Just above the line of completely unethical I would say is making a living off being a landlord, but being the best housing manager for the tenants. When things are broken it gets dealt with immediately, if tenents need a month give them one, be nice and actually build a relationship with the tenants.
But honestly there is very little for you, personally and individually, can do about the situation. Just try to talk them into being better landlords OR go to their tenants and help if they want to make a tenant union against your family members.
I think the issue is rooted in extraction of value vs. contribution of value, I believe that an individual should not own more than they can contribute value to.
If the landlord personally contributes value by maintaining the houses and charges fair rates, and the tenants benefit from not owning their houses, then that is not an exploitative relationship.
Where I have seen renting become unethical is when landlords own so many properties that they must hire third-parties to manage their properties for them. In such a case the landlord is unable to contribute value to all their properties and tenants, so therefore he owns too much.
Another way landlording becomes unethical is when rent is raised unnecessarily: e.g. Trailer Park Millionaires. In such a case the landlord does not need more income, but they raise rates anyway to earn greater profit. That video is a pretty egregious example of investors buying trailer parks so they can raise rent to turn a greater profit, the investors have no interest in trailer parks other than profit. The tenants who live in those trailer parks obviously suffer, so this is unethical.
It’s ultimately less about the formal arrangements and more about the informal relationships between people. Is the landlord screwing over their tenants, and extracting more value than they contribute? That’s unethical. Is the landlord fairly contributing value and making their tenants lives easier? That’s not unethical. How you define “screwing over” and “fairly contributing” can answer whether or not your situation is ethical. Are they renting to you just to make a profit, or are they renting to your family for your family’s benefit as well?
You’re not the one owning the house or renting it out, right? You’re not obligated to do anything.
That is true. I’m the child watching it all go down.
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