homeownership

Maoist Internationalist Movement mim3 at nyxfer.blythe.org
Sat Sep 16 10:50:04 MDT 1995



On Sat, 16 Sep 1995, Doug Henwood wrote:
>
> MIM seems to be taking a lot of ideology at face value - i.e., the
> embourgeoising nature of homeownership. It what Marxian sense is a "home" a
> capital asset? It throws off no income, and may not even appreciate
> significantly in value. What homeowner could liquidate his or her asset and
> turn it into a real capital asset, one that generates some M'? People
> either live in their owned crib, or if they sell it, immediately sink the
> proceeds into another.
>
> Doug Henwood
> Left Business Observer

MIM replies: Thank you Doug. This post shows how struggle leads to
advance, because I forgot to raise what you did so crisply.
I left out appreciation/speculation. Have you noticed what has
happened in California? Ordinary people who bought houses in
California a generation ago, many are now millionaires or well
on their way. When you think about how much income $150,000 in
assets generates, you can see the potential.

Now just because a capitalist sells an investment and
immediately proceeds to sink the money into another investment
doesn't mean there was no M', does it Doug? It would be
vulgar Marxism to say there is only M' when the capitalist
diverts some of the M' to other forms consumption.

The same goes for homeowners. Ordinary Californians can now
sell their homes and choose to live elsewhere and take in
a huge M'-M gain. Only by defining it as necessary for
Californians to live in their luxury estates does it become
possible to avoid that, which is why MIM focusses in
on what is truly necessary to reproduce the white worker?

How many Guatemalan workers or peasants can just sit in their
houses and walk away with a $100,000 or $500,000 gain?
People from California and other places with real estate
speculation, like the coasts of Florida, know what I am talking
about from experience. I challenge Doug to back up what
he is saying with numbers. Show us that the average settler
gains nothing from real estate speculation.

Pat for MIM



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