The one who brought you Christmas chocolates for the kids that year is vastly superior to the one who revenge evicted you for complaining to the estate agent about their regular unannounced visits.
The one who promptly fixed the broken boiler in the dead of winter is infinitely preferable to the one who repeatedly refused to listen when you told you about the water leak and growing mould problem, then took the cost of all the damage out of your deposit at the end of the rental.
Some people do things in a decent way, and some people are absolute scum. That's just a fact of life.
This article isn't about that, it's about the economic principle of landlordism itself.
From an economic standpoint landlordism is the pinnacle of exploitation, to such an extent that it even beats capitalism.
After all, at least the output of capitalism is economically productive activity.
Under capitalist business models the materials and labour get combined to form the product, with the capitalist taking a big slice of profit for themselves based purely on their ownership of the factory and the machines.
But the landlord takes a cut for themselves without even producing anything! They just derive unearned income from property ownership, without any economically productive activity whatever to justify their cut.
Whenever the parasitical nature of landlordism gets pointed out, the landlords come out in droves to defend themselves and their exploitative economic behaviour.
Some justifications are far better than others of course. If you moved away for a couple of years for work, with the intention of coming back, it clearly makes sense to rent the house out in the short-term.
Taking out huge loans on the other hand, to buy up all the affordable property you can get your hands on in the local area, in order to extract loan repayments from all the people who you've priced out of the housing market is absolutely despicable stuff.
The most irritating Landlordism justification of all are the plaintive cries of "it's my pension".
So instead of investing in the moderate-but-safe returns of a private pension, or the higher-but-riskier returns of playing the stock market, or actually doing something economically productive like building their own business, they decided to take out a load of unsecured property loans and get some other poor saps to pay them off?
They ignored the simple economic principle that the higher the returns, the higher the risks, and now that the coronavirus crisis means the people they're exploiting might not be able to pay rent for a while, they're crying victim and demanding to be bailed out with public funds, or through even higher rates of rent extraction to pay back the rent arrears!
The absolute entitlement of it!
This "it's my pension" mob, who view homes as wealth extraction opportunities, rather than places to live, are responsible for the absolute devastation of the UK housing market.
Not only have they bought up almost all of the affordable housing for their economic parasitism schemes, they've also managed to get their filthy hands on a third of all the council houses that got flogged off on the cheap too.
this parasitical rent-seeking behaviour extends beyond housing too.
Just think of the privatised utility companies that were handed £billions worth of public infrastructure on the cheap, and now extract £billions in unearned profits in shareholder dividends and bloated executive salaries, purely because they happen to be the owners of the infrastructure that was all built at the public expense.
Our public funds built the infrastructure, their Tory mates in politics flogged it off to them on the cheap, and now we have to pay them a load of unearned rent on top of the cost of actually providing these utilities and services.
The Financial Times reported that the privatised water companies alone are responsible for the unearned extraction of £2.3 billion per year in economic rent.
The parasitical rent-seeker is an absolute blight on the real economy, because the wealth they extract is wealth that could otherwise have been spent on genuinely productive economic activities like business formation or consumption.
And don't dare try to write this critique of landlordism off as some kind of far-left analysis, here's a quote from the notoriously anti-socialist Winston Churchill:
"Roads are made, streets are made, services are improved, electric light turns night into day, water is brought from reservoirs a hundred miles off in the mountains — all the while the landlord sits still. Every one of those improvements is affected by the labour and cost of other people and the taxpayers. To not one of these improvements does the land monopolist contribute, and yet, by every one of them the value of his land is enhanced. He renders no service to the community, he contributes nothing to the general welfare, he contributes nothing to the process from which his own enrichment is derived…The unearned increment on the land is reaped by the land monopolist in exact proportion, not to the service, but to the disservice done."
Landlordism is so ridiculously parasitical from an economic standpoint that it even makes capitalism look good in comparison, and it doesn't matter how many soothing fairy stories landlords might tell themselves about them being the good and responsible ones, not the nasty exploitative slumlord ones, the fact is that what they're doing is still economic parasitism.
But the worst thing of all is the absolute entitlement of these exploiters when it comes to economic hard times.
They simply won't accept the inherent risks in borrowing cash to make unsecured property investments, and then expecting to indefinitely live off other people's backs to pay off what they borrowed.
The whole economy is taking an enormous economic hit, the second mega-crisis in the space of twelve years, and these idle exploiters expect to be bailed out at the expense of the genuinely productive economy, so that they're the only ones not to take a hit.
The worst thing of course is that our political and media class are absolutely riddled with landlordism. The liberal media outlets are just as full of landlords as the hard-right propaganda rags, and even the Labour Party front bench is stuffed with landlords.
It's difficult to see how we ever begin to move away from this economy-sapping model of parasitical landlordism when the establishment class is absolutely riddled with the idle beneficiaries of it.
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