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Moral imperative for a housing crash... and permanent devaluation

ygolo

My termites win
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,546
I know we've known this for a long time:


1200x-1.jpg


I have a hard time convincing my own family about the problems with single family housing. It seems like the famed millennial generation of people are following their boomer parents footsteps and not actually caring about it.

What really is the appeal of this suburban life?

I basically follow because of familial pressure--I have no reasons of my own, in fact, upon reflection, it strikes me as the prime example of being "basic".
 

ygolo

My termites win
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Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,546
Interesting alternatives to lumber:

 

The Cat

I'm from Outer Space...Dont Overthink it.
Staff member
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Interesting alternatives to lumber:

Wish I could like it twice.
 

ygolo

My termites win
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,546
I recently binged a bunch of videos from the Not Just Bikes channel that @ceecee posted.

A couple of resources are mentioned.
(A great resource. Look especially about the "growth ponzi scheme")
(Visualization examples, NotJustBikes showed how a poor but dense neighborhood actually subsidizes a more affluent suburban neighborhood through taxes)

To learn about "new urbanization":
t4-america-cartoon-1.jpg


A great historical primer on us suburbia since 1945:
I'll be going back here over and over for it comprehensive nature despite it's length.

I think people just prefer the status quo if not reflective of consequences and alternatives. Thoughtful conservatives want the same things that the channel @ceecee recommends also.
 

Virtual ghost

Complex paradigm
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
17,761



This isn't debunking anything from what I see. This is basically just blaming the other side for everything. I agree there is racism and poverty and unfairness and .... etc. However that doesn't change the fact that our space and resources are limited. Plus what is extra problematic the more you take out of the environment it is more likely that you mess up the regeneration of resources and spaces. If course this is so big in impact that all kinds of ideologies will make some kind of their own story about this since this is about what ideology is all about, stories and beliefs. However the more you are ignoring the problem the harder will things get. The fact that ecological reality is considered racist is simply ideological thinking. While in fact if humans don't fix this in time the environment itself will and that wouldn't be pretty. Yes, we found the ways how to buy time and get away with our lifestyle, however the basic logic of the problem didn't fundamentally go away.


What is the picture of the world that isn't pretty but we are physically limited and independent space colonies are at least a century a way. And even they will harbor only tiny fraction of the current global population since being lifted into space is evidently a privilege from the perspective of energy. Therefore as the environmentalists say "There is no planet B". In about less than a year we should hit 8 billion living people, what means that the global population doubled during the life of a person that is now middle aged. Therefore at this rate by the mid century that should rise over 10 billion. What is objectively unsustainable if you know something about how biosphere works. Especially since everyone wants to live like a fist worlder. While our numbers are often problematic even if you live in much more humble way.


Everyone political will try to make some kind of feel good story that this isn't true, that this is just creating foundation for the genocide, that this is just some cheap election campaign ...etc. However that is because politics and even the most people can't really deal with idea that we have clear physical limitations. Since that cracks the very foundation of modern economy and various religious dogmas. Plus accepting the world of such limits makes people uncomfortable and they will rather distract themselves with something that deeply look into this. However none of that will change the fact that in the end there is deep deep problem that isn't addressed.



 

ygolo

My termites win
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,546
This isn't debunking anything from what I see. This is basically just blaming the other side for everything. I agree there is racism and poverty and unfairness and .... etc. However that doesn't change the fact that our space and resources are limited. Plus what is extra problematic the more you take out of the environment it is more likely that you mess up the regeneration of resources and spaces. If course this is so big in impact that all kinds of ideologies will make some kind of their own story about this since this is about what ideology is all about, stories and beliefs. However the more you are ignoring the problem the harder will things get. The fact that ecological reality is considered racist is simply ideological thinking. While in fact if humans don't fix this in time the environment itself will and that wouldn't be pretty. Yes, we found the ways how to buy time and get away with our lifestyle, however the basic logic of the problem didn't fundamentally go away.


What is the picture of the world that isn't pretty but we are physically limited and independent space colonies are at least a century a way. And even they will harbor only tiny fraction of the current global population since being lifted into space is evidently a privilege from the perspective of energy. Therefore as the environmentalists say "There is no planet B". In about less than a year we should hit 8 billion living people, what means that the global population doubled during the life of a person that is now middle aged. Therefore at this rate by the mid century that should rise over 10 billion. What is objectively unsustainable if you know something about how biosphere works. Especially since everyone wants to live like a fist worlder. While our numbers are often problematic even if you live in much more humble way.


Everyone political will try to make some kind of feel good story that this isn't true, that this is just creating foundation for the genocide, that this is just some cheap election campaign ...etc. However that is because politics and even the most people can't really deal with idea that we have clear physical limitations. Since that cracks the very foundation of modern economy and various religious dogmas. Plus accepting the world of such limits makes people uncomfortable and they will rather distract themselves with something that deeply look into this. However none of that will change the fact that in the end there is deep deep problem that isn't addressed.



I'm omnivorous in my food for thought(for instance, see my use of the American Conservative in previous post for contrast). Al Jazeera isn't inherently pro-middle east, but keeping the source in mind is important.

Nevertheless, the points she made still stands.
1) Yes resources are limited, but per person, the rich still destroys more and creates more damage by several multiples. I have posted using other sources about the energy use of car dependant suburbia, compared to more human centered spaces.
2) If we could figure how people live like the most poor, there's still plenty of room for people. Further still, if we could figure out renewable energy use, and coexistence, the number of people become irrelevant.
3) The overpopulation story steers away from efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of an individual. This is her ultimate point.

You can interpret what she said as political talking points. But would you explicitly disagree with any of these? If so, that would be a more productive discussion. For me, point 2) is most contentious. However, as a technologist, I am hopeful if human ingenuity is pointed in the proper directions, this can be done.

One point not made in the video, but still important in discussions about overpopulation.
4) Population collapse leads to economic collapse if a large population aged out of productive work needs to be supported by a smaller population of productive workers.
 

Virtual ghost

Complex paradigm
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
17,761
I'm omnivorous in my food for thought(for instance, see my use of the American Conservative in previous post for contrast). Al Jazeera isn't inherently pro-middle east, but keeping the source in mind is important.

Nevertheless, the points she made still stands.
1) Yes resources are limited, but per person, the rich still destroys more and creates more damage by several multiples. I have posted using other sources about the energy use of car dependant suburbia, compared to more human centered spaces.
2) If we could figure how people live like the most poor, there's still plenty of room for people. Further still, if we could figure out renewable energy use, and coexistence, the number of people become irrelevant.
3) The overpopulation story steers away from efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of an individual. This is her ultimate point.

You can interpret what she said as political talking points. But would you explicitly disagree with any of these? If so, that would be a more productive discussion. For me, point 2) is most contentious. However, as a technologist, I am hopeful if human ingenuity is pointed in the proper directions, this can be done.

One point not made in the video, but still important in discussions about overpopulation.
4) Population collapse leads to economic collapse if a large population aged out of productive work needs to be supported by a smaller population of productive workers.


In my opinion her points don't really stand. Since unlike you or her I am not after positive vision. In other words you are both avoiding the depth of the shit that is this. It is true that rich destroys more per capita, but in my book that doesn't mean that the poor contribute in a positive way. Especially since they are evidently more numerous on the planet. Since in the end it doesn't really matter who pollutes or destroys the environment. What really matters is the sum of all of us. In other words pollution by quantity or pollution by amount of consumption are only adding to the sum. While neither is on the solution side.


Yes, the point number 2 is quite questionable. Since in finite space the number of people can't become irrelevant. Plus figuring out renewable energy is only a part of the story. Since you need space where people will live, work and grow food. While at the same time you must leave plenty of nature in order to have the world and the climate as we know them. In other words when you clear forests for the sake of extra food production good chunk of that forest biomass ends up as CO2. Therefore just figuring out renewable energy isn't enough, since consumption of fossil fuels isn't the only source of our green house gas emissions. However if you don't control those gasses you will end up in the run away green house effect that will end the world as we know it. Even if you run your economy 100% on renewable energy that will not be enough if you ignore this part of the equation. Therefore the number of people simply can't become irrelevant in finite space. This just isn't how this works.


In my opinion everything above 3 billion people is evidently pure overpopulation. Since that already erodes the foundations of the biosphere and creates the feedback loop that leads into global chaos (to put it mildly). I know that my looking at the subject isn't comforting at all and this is just tip of the iceberg on my part. However this is why I disagree since as I told you I am not looking at this in search for positive vision. I would really like to see the solution(s) but I will not try to grasp for the straws if I think this wouldn't do the job.
 

ygolo

My termites win
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,546
In my opinion her points don't really stand. Since unlike you or her I am not after positive vision. In other words you are both avoiding the depth of the shit that is this. It is true that rich destroys more per capita, but in my book that doesn't mean that the poor contribute in a positive way. Especially since they are evidently more numerous on the planet. Since in the end it doesn't really matter who pollutes or destroys the environment. What really matters is the sum of all of us. In other words pollution by quantity or pollution by amount of consumption are only adding to the sum. While neither is on the solution side.


Yes, the point number 2 is quite questionable. Since in finite space the number of people can't become irrelevant. Plus figuring out renewable energy is only a part of the story. Since you need space where people will live, work and grow food. While at the same time you must leave plenty of nature in order to have the world and the climate as we know them. In other words when you clear forests for the sake of extra food production good chunk of that forest biomass ends up as CO2. Therefore just figuring out renewable energy isn't enough, since consumption of fossil fuels isn't the only source of our green house gas emissions. However if you don't control those gasses you will end up in the run away green house effect that will end the world as we know it. Even if you run your economy 100% on renewable energy that will not be enough if you ignore this part of the equation. Therefore the number of people simply can't become irrelevant in finite space. This just isn't how this works.


In my opinion everything above 3 billion people is evidently pure overpopulation. Since that already erodes the foundations of the biosphere and creates the feedback loop that leads into global chaos (to put it mildly). I know that my looking at the subject isn't comforting at all and this is just tip of the iceberg on my part. However this is why I disagree since as I told you I am not looking at this in search for positive vision. I would really like to see the solution(s) but I will not try to grasp for the straws if I think this wouldn't do the job.
It actually sounds like you agree with 1) and that the rich actually are per capita more destructive.

You say the poor aren't contributing in a positive way. Are you stating that's impossible for humans to contribute in a positive way, or that the way things are right now, they aren't contributing? Are we dealing with something you believe to be true in principle, or something that you believe is true, in fact?

Point 2) is most interesting for me because this is where we can be most quantitative, and play with assumption? What is the basis of your 3 billion person limit for example?

There are models built where there's an inbuilt "carrying capacity" that we can use to think through various scenarios. One model based off of the preditor-prey relationship is presented here:
We're actually alarmingly close to the collapse according to this and other similar models.

Do you use a particular model?

I believe there are ways to remove the carrying capacity limitation, but would at least temporarily require great societal reorganization through collective goal setting.

When we talk about the moral implications with dealing with the problem, there are many dystopian futures to imagine. But part of the reason for making this thread is to come up with some sort of non-dystopian future to imagine.
 

The Cat

I'm from Outer Space...Dont Overthink it.
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Hedge funds just bought an entire community nearish where I live and jacked the price and the people right out, apparently its more profitable to let them sit empty...I loathe the corporate dystopia we seem to be bee lining too. Let me guess: "Raise the child and earn our freedom" huh? hedge fund realty utterly horrifying. >_<
 

Virtual ghost

Complex paradigm
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
17,761
When we talk about the moral implications with dealing with the problem, there are many dystopian futures to imagine. But part of the reason for making this thread is to come up with some sort of non-dystopian future to imagine.

In the big picture level I really don't have much to offer other than dystopia, despite decades of studying the problem. Plus I will dare to say that a number of people around me openly request that I don't open this topic since it mess up their mental health every time. Especially since I can be pretty convincing in my presentation of the dystopia and that this is our future. Also until the war in Ukraine I had some hopes that some kind of a global compromise will be found and that we will at least find ways to avoid the worst case scenario. But with current events and politics as it is playing out there is no way that there will be a genuine global solution that will come on time. Which is clearly the biggest problem. Yes, caring capacity can be greatly expanded but that takes time. The right time to start doing things in the topic were at least 50s and 60s, but we wasted way too much time and the tipping points are too close. If we didn't already passed them but due to the size and inertia of the system we aren't aware of it. So I will skip dystopia.


Therefore if you want something positive about city planning and US suburbia. In my opinion there should be some changes of law in that regard. So that if one family decides to sell their house that on it's place someone can or should build local super market. So that you always have a local supermarket in a waking distance from your home. Or if you have enough space somewhere in the neighborhood you can build it there. This way people don't have to drive across the city to buy some small things they are missing. Plus walking there is good for your health and it lowers air pollution. From what I understand the suburbs were mostly build with some wrong premises. However that doesn't mean that this can't be fixed to some degree. Since bringing content into them is more a matter of law then something that is fundamentally impossible.
 

The Cat

I'm from Outer Space...Dont Overthink it.
Staff member
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Messages
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In the big picture level I really don't have much to offer other than dystopia, despite decades of studying the problem. Plus I will dare to say that a number of people around me openly request that I don't open this topic since it mess up their mental health every time. Especially since I can be pretty convincing in my presentation of the dystopia and that this is our future. Also until the war in Ukraine I had some hopes that some kind of a global compromise will be found and that we will at least find ways to avoid the worst case scenario. But with current events and politics as it is playing out there is no way that there will be a genuine global solution that will come on time. Which is clearly the biggest problem. Yes, caring capacity can be greatly expanded but that takes time. The right time to start doing things in the topic were at least 50s and 60s, but we wasted way too much time and the tipping points are too close. If we didn't already passed them but due to the size and inertia of the system we aren't aware of it. So I will skip dystopia.


Therefore if you want something positive about city planning and US suburbia. In my opinion there should be some changes of law in that regard. So that if one family decides to sell their house that on it's place someone can or should build local super market. So that you always have a local supermarket in a waking distance from your home. Or if you have enough space somewhere in the neighborhood you can build it there. This way people don't have to drive across the city to buy some small things they are missing. Plus walking there is good for your health and it lowers air pollution. From what I understand the suburbs were mostly build with some wrong premises. However that doesn't mean that this can't be fixed to some degree. Since bringing content into them is more a matter of law then something that is fundamentally impossible.
You and I would be just adorable at parties. 😅
 

The Cat

I'm from Outer Space...Dont Overthink it.
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Not really, I am actually much more of a cameleon than it seems. Plus I plan to party this weekend. As that post shows I have a sense for when it is time to change the topic. :cool:
I wasnt being sarcastic lol.
a26bdd203c08bcc5f30f32a8b5ab7538.jpg
 

ygolo

My termites win
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,546
I binged a bunch of Strong Towns materials.


A few ideas I found very interesting:
  1. The Growth Ponzi Scheme

    A crash course: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2020/8/28/the-growth-ponzi-scheme-a-crash-course
    Essential Reading: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2020/5/14/americas-growth-ponzi-scheme-md2020
    Parts:
  2. The Suburban Experiment
  3. Stroads
  4. The Swarm and Incremental Development
    (I really liked the saying: "No small plans. No large leaps.")

Some background concepts that I had prior that made things click with me when I saw this.
  1. Default Aliveness and Cash-flow Positivity
  2. Anti-fragility and Resilient Systems
 

ygolo

My termites win
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Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,546
I know inflation has been top-of-mind for a lot of people. But as I mentioned in the first post, inflation as a single number is very misleading. People's lives are affected by the change in daily expenses in complex ways.

One specific way is through housing. In fact, it has become a norm that about 1/3 of your income goes towards housing. You can find so many calculators and advice centered around this norm.
You can seach and play with a few to get a feel:
(The following is specifically for rents)
https://www.zillow.com/rent-affordability-calculator/

But this is the main norm I want to challenge in this thread. My contention is that the norm should be like Moore's Law, Wright's Law, or Carlson Curve if we are to say that society is itself making progress. Once again, these norms based on a set of observations with a group of people collectively dreaming and putting together organizations to make and keep that norm a reality. See again Moore's Second Law, the roadmap for semiconductors, the National Human Genome Research Group Institute. These are norms and expectations with groups working to continually keep their industry vibrant and dynamic by staying in the sweet spot of the learning curves inherent in their work.

These exponentials are neither accidents nor laws of nature. They are held through tremendous collective effort and established norms.

Back to housing: From a progress in society perspective, I think the metric should be how much of a person's income is spent on housing, and I am arguing once again that this should be on an exponential decrease and not a 1/3 as is the supposed norm, but is actually exponentially increasing instead.

We can look at home prices divided by annual income as a guide. Here is one set of charts:

If you look at the US chart from about 1954 to 1999, you can actually see a nice steady decline from about 6.5 to a little about 4.3. This was around the time I had a lot of acquaintances that were learning to become super-savers and there were many pushing to only get a house 3 times their annual income, and pay it off aggressively in 5 years. These days even if you pay off your home, property taxes alone could require ridiculous amounts just to stay in your home.

The subsequent period, in about half the time, saw an increase from 4.3 to about 8 right now. This is society going in the wrong direction. Remember this isn't just house as an asset (though it a large contributor the phenomenon), this is housing measured in years worked with no other expenditures. This is access to a self-secured human right as measure of human life to achieve it.

For some people reading this, they may even be gleeful that that number had gone up as a means of their own "wealth" going up.
the-simpsons-mr-burns.gif


Imagine if we treated water that way? Access to basic human rights (and securing those rights through ownership) are being denied in favor of another "number goes up" collective seeking of economic rents using local local lobbying of zoning boards and NIMBYism.
 

The Cat

I'm from Outer Space...Dont Overthink it.
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
18,405
I know inflation has been top-of-mind for a lot of people. But as I mentioned in the first post, inflation as a single number is very misleading. People's lives are affected by the change in daily expenses in complex ways.

One specific way is through housing. In fact, it has become a norm that about 1/3 of your income goes towards housing. You can find so many calculators and advice centered around this norm.
You can seach and play with a few to get a feel:
(The following is specifically for rents)
https://www.zillow.com/rent-affordability-calculator/

But this is the main norm I want to challenge in this thread. My contention is that the norm should be like Moore's Law, Wright's Law, or Carlson Curve if we are to say that society is itself making progress. Once again, these norms based on a set of observations with a group of people collectively dreaming and putting together organizations to make and keep that norm a reality. See again Moore's Second Law, the roadmap for semiconductors, the National Human Genome Research Group Institute. These are norms and expectations with groups working to continually keep their industry vibrant and dynamic by staying in the sweet spot of the learning curves inherent in their work.

These exponentials are neither accidents nor laws of nature. They are held through tremendous collective effort and established norms.

Back to housing: From a progress in society perspective, I think the metric should be how much of a person's income is spent on housing, and I am arguing once again that this should be on an exponential decrease and not a 1/3 as is the supposed norm, but is actually exponentially increasing instead.

We can look at home prices divided by annual income as a guide. Here is one set of charts:

If you look at the US chart from about 1954 to 1999, you can actually see a nice steady decline from about 6.5 to a little about 4.3. This was around the time I had a lot of acquaintances that were learning to become super-savers and there were many pushing to only get a house 3 times their annual income, and pay it off aggressively in 5 years. These days even if you pay off your home, property taxes alone could require ridiculous amounts just to stay in your home.

The subsequent period, in about half the time, saw an increase from 4.3 to about 8 right now. This is society going in the wrong direction. Remember this isn't just house as an asset (though it a large contributor the phenomenon), this is housing measured in years worked with no other expenditures. This is access to a self-secured human right as measure of human life to achieve it.

For some people reading this, they may even be gleeful that that number had gone up as a means of their own "wealth" going up.
the-simpsons-mr-burns.gif


Imagine if we treated water that way? Access to basic human rights (and securing those rights through ownership) are being denied in favor of another "number goes up" collective seeking of economic rents using local local lobbying of zoning boards and NIMBYism.

Stay Tuned. It's already starting.
 

ygolo

My termites win
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,546
This was brought up by @Doctor Cringelord in the economics rents thread, but weirdly, strong towns actually has a lot of information on this as well.

It's interesting how even after binging the material on that site earlier and even taking one of their certification courses (the free one), this concept was new to me when @Doctor Cringelord mentioned it.

There is so much there, I can get lost reading and thinking about it for hours...






Some other implications and rabbit holes:



 

ygolo

My termites win
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,546
I think one way to get learning curves to become part of the housing norms more is to reduce the hurdles involved in pre-fab homes.


tl;dr
  1. There are three main types of pre-fab homes.
    • Manufactured homes: A home in this category is built in sections and pieced together by professionals and heavy machinery at its final site. These must follow HUD requirements, though.
    • Kit homes: These homes are much simpler than a manufactured home, though they follow a similar build to piecing style. In fact, most homebuyers can build a kit home themselves.
    • Modular homes: These homes feature much more personalization, companies will often let you customize the floor plan of your purchase. However, unlike manufactured and kit homes, modular homes have an immovable foundation.
  2. Pros are:
    • Energy Efficiency
      One of the benefits of prefab homes is that they tend to be highly energy efficient.
    • Fast Construction
      Fast construction is one of the big advantages of prefab homes.
    • Affordability
      Building a prefab home is generally less expensive than building a comparable stick-built home.
  3. Cons are:
    • Land Costs
      If you want to put up a prefab home you’ll need to own the land underneath it.
    • More Up-Front Payment
      While financing and construction loans are available for many prefab homes, you’ll need to pay for the home’s construction before you move in. Your contract will include a schedule for paying in installments while your home is being built.
    • Utilities Hook-Up
      One of the disadvantages of prefabricated houses is that it can be tough to arrange for utilities and other site details.

What if economic development funds could give very good terms for loans for pre-fab, amortize the preparation of land, hook up of utilities, and then sell lots (just like the on-site stick/balloon framed housing) and sell to individuals in relatively small lot sizes making pre-fab more normal? It is almost a return to the way things used to be done, but now with better technology.
 
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