David Thompson
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January 22, 2011

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Karen M

"The best solution to end homelessness is to abolish private property"

Good to see the Graun getting input from experts.

Sam

So soeone who makes a living renting out his body thinks renting out other property is wrong…?

Jonathan

Hmm. Seems like it might also conflict with their beloved ECHR, specifically Article 8.

R. Sherman

Actually, as opposed to buying rental property and keeping it vacant to drive up prices, I simply forgo buying the property to start. That really props up demand and ergo the price. Now, I just have to sit back and wait for all that filthy capitalist lucre to start streaming in.

Darleenclick

Many buildings are empty because rich people need more money in the bank. Owners prefer to keep their property empty: this increases demand for accommodation, thus raising the cost of renting

Don't you just love reality-free proclamations in support of looting?

David

“So someone who makes a living renting out his body thinks renting out other property is wrong…?”

It should be abolished, apparently. Along with those incredibly cunning people who generate rental income by not actually renting out their property at all.

It’s a strange collision of philosophies, to say the least. Regarding his professional affairs, Mr Schaffauser wants to be free to use his own property – his body, for instance – as he sees fit, including renting it to strangers. He wants the state off his back, as it were. (“I think prohibitionist measures are a mistake.”) But other people’s property – that’s a different matter. Theirs should belong to the state. He has entitlements, see, which are good and noble things. They have privileges, which are bad and should therefore be taken away.

And all it would take is “political will.”

TDK

To be fair to him, if a commodity is in short supply, its price will go up. Therefore an artificial shortage would achieve the same goal. However, it's not clear that the rent foregone (by leaving property empty) would be less than the extra rent earned (by charging a higher rate) - ie has the total rental income increased. Nor is it clear that those landlords who chose to forego rent (by leaving their properties vacant) would be compensated by the landlords who were able to charge more - the collusion problem - why would landlords act for the good of the class when for each member it makes more sense to cheat and rent the property out.

Moreever he fails to see that there are graver problems. First, a lot of property is rent controlled and it's unclear how that can be overcome. Second, there are plenty of controls preventing new property being built. If lifted then new rental property would enter the market and high house prices would fall. Combined there would be a relative glut, cutting rental prices.

JuliaM

'And all it would take is “political will.”'

And an army.

Twistyspinster

Is he at least good-looking?

(Looks)

No, not really. I mean, he's okay, but I don't see anything there worth renting out for even five minutes. What can I say, I'm picky. (In the New Regime, all "sex workers" will be just "sort of okay-looking." Can't have any competition, you know.)

sk60

"This is great in theory but I don’t see it working in practice."

How can something that's evil in practice be "great in theory"? What's great about the state stealing our property?

jones

He don't look too bad...

Does he give out for free one wonders?. Capitalism/ownership/property an all that......As long as he ain't hungry and has a roof over his head anything extra would surely constitute unwanted wealth.

If the relevant receptacle is free then that would be a 'space' to be occupied....rent-free of course. Unless someone was there already which might make for overcrowding....cosy tho....

I'm just asking.

David

“What’s great about the state stealing our property?”

Well, quite. The abolition of private property by an all-powerful state, with all that entails, is a strange thing to describe as “great in theory.”

Franklin

Whores prefer to keep their, ahem, "property" empty: this increases demand for accommodation, thus raising the cost of renting. The best solution to end sexlessness is to abolish "private property." Mr. Schaffauser not letting me have him for free is theft.

JonnyN

"This is great in theory but I don’t see it working in practice."

If the statement of a theory is enough to determine that it won't work, then it clearly ain't that great.

carbon based lifeform

I did a picture search for 'Thierry Schaffauser'. Got way more than I bargained for.

sackcloth and ashes

Presumably, if M. Schaffauser is living up to his standards then he treats his own body as a public good, and does tricks both in front of the camera and for his clients free of charge.

Wm T Sherman

By giving a podium to this brain trust, the Guardian has chosen of their own free will to step in dogshit and track it into their house. No reasonable person would blame that on the dogshit, which shall always be with us.

Jonathan Levy

"Many buildings are empty because rich people need more money in the bank. Owners prefer to keep their property empty: this increases demand for accommodation, thus raising the cost of renting."

The most bizzare aspect of this sentence is that the writer believes that all property-renters some sort of conglomerate, as if they were one company, or controlled by one brain, without individual will or interests. "I, the overmind of property-renters, have decided that property-renters whose last names begin with A, B, or C will leave their properties empty, so as to increase rents for the other properties. Let it be so".

Class-consciousness raised to a new level.

David

Carbon,

“Got way more than I bargained for.”

Yes, it’s all a bit… low-budget. I don’t think Mr Schaffauser has quite reached the loftier, more photogenic planes of his profession. But then it’s his mind that interests us. And it’s a mind that can say, quite emphatically: “I think prohibitionist measures are a mistake. We don’t fight poverty by criminalising people and preventing them earning money the way they can.” And then - one breath later: “The best solution to end homelessness is to abolish private property… I don’t think the abolition of privileges is complicated to do, we just need the political will.”

Mr Schaffauser doesn’t care for privileges (which apply to someone else and should be done away with). But he does care for entitlements that would benefit him.

Altruism, see? As everyone knows, it’s the basis of communism.

David

Jonathan,

“The most bizarre aspect of this sentence is that the writer believes that all property-renters [are] some sort of conglomerate, as if they were one company, or controlled by one brain, without individual will or interests.”

But isn’t that just a function of cultural Marxism and its various offshoots? Issues have to be framed in terms of discrete and competing groups, leading to errors and unrealism. So, for instance, the Guardian’s Zoe Williams and the Observer’s Kevin McKenna both assume that parents who can afford private education exist as some alien and uniform “privileged” class. (A point disproved rather dramatically in Williams’ own article on the subject, though somehow, curiously, she doesn’t notice this.)

In terms of identity politics, people are typically viewed not as individuals but as interchangeable exemplars of some designated victim group, as if individuals simply are their pigmentation or sexual appetite or disability. It’s absurd and dehumanising. And it allows its adherents to say amazingly stupid things. Which is why Sheila Jeffreys, a high priestess of 80s feminism, has banged on for decades about men being “the enemy” and an “oppressor class,” as if distinctions between individuals were utterly irrelevant and counter-revolutionary.

Dan Collins

I seem to be recommending this book to everyone nowadays, David (sadly, we didn't publish it), but Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics addresses both these points, and explains empirically how rent controls cause more homelessness and higher rents, and how imposing price controls on wheat has led to famines all around the world.

David

Dan,

Recently watched Sowell’s interview on Uncommon Knowledge. I’ll add the book to my list.

Phil A

The Soviets of CCCP fame tried the same solution just after the revolution. Clearly not sucessful in the long term.

bochild

So landlords are not renting out apartments to drive up the prices of apartments they're not renting?

Monsters.

(I'd invite anyone who buys this idea to apply the same logic to say... bread.)

Rob

Naturally, the first person you would turn to for informed comment on English social or economic policy is a French rent boy. Naturellement!

I would also recommend Thomas Sowell's "The Vision of the Annointed".

He has the ability to write with great clarity, not only his prose but his arguments. No retreat from reason Marxist bullshit here.

Dan Collins

@David: 'Dan, Recently watched Sowell’s interview on Uncommon Knowledge. I’ll add the book to my list.'

He does (in this book) have a slight tendency to make his point, make it again, make it a bit more, reword it, make it one more time and then remake it, just for luck. But I think this is because he is writing for a thoroughly lay audience.

He's also well worth watching on Youtube - some excellent stuff of him from the 1970s and 80s, Afro and all - particularly crossing swords with Joe Biden at a Supreme Court nomination hearing. It might just be me, but right towards the end, you can see the whole problem with people like Biden.

Slightly tangentially, yesterday I watched (on Youtube again) Milton Friedman in an hour long 'Donahue' show from, I think, 1979.

It's interesting for three reasons:
- one, it's interesting
- two, the generally appreciative reaction from the audience when Friedman says that General Motors (or Chrysler, or maybe both) should be allowed to go to the wall
- and three, the fact that a Nobel Prize-winning economist, and a free marketeer at that, could appear on what as far as I know was essentially a mainstream chat show.
Would either of these last two things happen today?

David Gillies

That rent control causes housing shortages is, I think, about as apodictically true a statement as it is possible to make in economics. P. J. O'Rourke said something to the effect that economists might not know much, but one thing they all know how to engineer is glut or famine.

As for the idea of expropriating property and billeting people in the buildings thus 'liberated', has there ever been an instance in history where this has not been accompanied by lakes of blood?

sackcloth and ashes

'As for the idea of expropriating property and billeting people in the buildings thus 'liberated', has there ever been an instance in history where this has not been accompanied by lakes of blood?'

No, and strangely enough the regimes that have attempted such a redistribution of wealth have tended to have a very hostile attitude to homosexuals. Yet again, M. Schaffauser hasn't really thought this one through.


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