This Siderea post is good and talks about a phenomenon I’ve never really noticed before: https://siderea.dreamwidth.org/1519134.html
I have literally not seen a single thing on the topic which discusses the phenomenon of people being forced to live in less space as a consequence of outrageous rents. But that’s a thing that’s happening too. …
But you only get to save money on beer by brewing it for yourself, if you have someplace to put it while it’s fermenting. … Of course, it’s not just brewing your own beer, any more than this is just about owning books. There are a lot of ways, it turns out, people can economize on their other expenses, if their living space has the room. …
This is a hidden form of Vimes’ Boots Theory. If you make enough money to rent more space, you can then use that space to save you money on other things. Poor people don’t just pay more for boots because they are left buying many cheap pairs that wear out quickly because they can’t get together the money for a good pair that last; poor people pay more per square of toilet paper if they can’t enjoy the bulk discount because they can’t afford the room for the big discount package of toilet paper.
Owning things is becoming increasingly a privilege of economic class. We’re used to thinking of buying things being, obviously, a privilege of economic class. Economic class means how much money you have with which to buy things, so it’s unsurprising that buying things is something people with higher economic class get to do more of. But owning things – even things that were given to you as gifts, that you made yourself, that you found, that, crucially, cost you no money to acquire, and which you never bought – is also an economic privilege, and, I am contending, becoming ever more and more so.
I’m rich but live in a small space (I’m paying ~$600/mo for rent in a big city) and, yeah, I don’t buy many things that would improve my life (including experimental health equipment that’s remotely bulky), not because I can’t afford it moneywise, but because I can’t own it spacewise.
Anyway, the post branches out some more, e.g hobbies you can’t do because you don’t have the room for it. I should chew on it some more but wouldn’t be surprised if weeks of percolation later I found I’d somewhat changed my mind on some housing issue downstream of thinking about this.
I used to see people voluntarily living in RVs and “tiny houses” and think “Well, you do you, seems like a valid preference to have, and I might very well acquire the taste myself someday”.
Now…it’s still “well, you do you”, but it’s more the kind of “you do you” response one has towards people who do recreational mountain-climbing. Like, yes you have that right, and I’m not going to try to stop you, but why are you putting yourself in danger when instead you could…*not* do that?
I no longer think I will later acquire the taste for small-space living: I am increasingly firmly of the opinion “a dwelling that can’t fit a three-month supply of food is unfit to be called a home”.
In related news, having an in-home treadmill is fucking amazing. It’s *much* easier to go for a jog if you don’t have to trek out to a gym, or go outside where the bugs and pollen and darkness are and the first-aid kits aren’t (and are difficult to wear while jogging). And the limiting factor in who can own a treadmill is very much *housing* (both space and stability: if you’re moving all the time you *really* don’t want to have to lug a treadmill with you), not money: you can get used (often barely-used) treadmills on Craigslist very cheaply from people looking to dump them because they’re too much of a pain in the ass to take with you when moving house. (Some of them will then buy new(-to-them) treadmills in their new location from people about to move away from *there*, and the cycle will continue; others will give up.)
This house once (long before my time) crammed 12 inhabitants within its walls, could comfortably fit 5 – 6, and currently fits 4. I’ve lived here for nearly 13 years and plan to do so indefinitely (and since we rent from a bank (via interest-only HELOC payments) rather than a landlord, it is unlikely anyone with the authority will try to kick us out of a building my father legally owns†; plus, obtaining *financial* ownership of our house is as simple (not *easy*, but *simple*) as shoving a couple hundred grand into the HELOC account, with no further negotiations required and no possibility that the landlord will refuse to sell).
Space, people, time: all of these are privileges when it comes to housing, but they are all privileges of the form “everyone should get the chance to have these things, and it is bad that some people can’t”.
P.S. I wrote another response to “The Privilege of Property” a few months ago [link], focusing on her apparent belief that it’s more efficient to live alone than with housemates.
†and is planning to add me as legal co-owner, so that my income will help when refinancing
#judging from a lot of the discourse I’ve seen over the years #it is dangerously easy to confuse privileges of this form with privileges of the form #”*nobody* should get the chance to have these things and it is bad that some people *do*” #reply via reblog #adventures in human capitalism #overly enthusiastic parenthetical use