We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Good quality housing only seems less available now to people who pretend the housing stock is the same and household size is the same.

Fifty years ago large families crammed into small leaky houses. Nowadays half as many live in the renovated versions of those houses. With decent plumbing etc.

We frequently blow up fifty year old tower blocks because they are considered sub-standard.

– the delightfully named Chester Draws

14 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Snorri Godhi

    Much depends on where Chester Draws lives.

    In the UK and ‘red’ counties of the US, people have more space because they have fewer children.

    In most of the US, people have more space because more housing has been built.

  • Ferox

    In several areas of the US, housing is dysfunctionally expensive because, as always, the people in charge think they are smart enough to centrally control the market for housing.

    That, and their fetish for imposing byzantine rules and codes on builders, layer by layer.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Changes in household size have been a big driver of this process. There are millions of houses formerly occupied by a complete family, and now occupied only by the parents (or one of them). This has led to population declines in outer areas of major cities and mature collar suburbs.

    One also sees houses built to accommodate extended families and often a servant or two, now occupied by at most four people.

  • Agammamon

    Snorri Godhi
    May 9, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    Much depends on where Chester Draws lives.

    In the UK and ‘red’ counties of the US, people have more space because they have fewer children.

    In most of the US, people have more space because more housing has been built.

    I don’t know why you would think that. There’s widely available evidence that the number of residents in a home has shrunk over time due to societal norms encouraging moving out early *and* that home sizes in the US are increasing on average.

    Yes, more housing has been built – but its larger housing, holding fewer people.

  • Eric

    In the US, at least, the average sq ft of a new house is double what it was in 1970. Not only that, new houses have insulation plus minimum electrical and earthquake standards. Housing is much better quality than it used to be.

  • bobby b

    “Housing is much better quality than it used to be.”

    For the people who can afford the new excellence in building, it certainly is.

    But that group is much more exclusive than it used to be.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Agammamon: I am not sure that there is much difference between what you said and what i said.

  • My place was built in late 1840s, right next to what became Baron Carlo Marochetti’s artist studio & foundry in 1851, in which his chum Edwin Landseer created the four lions that now sit in Trafalgar Square, installed in 1867. It would have housed 8 to 10 workers & dependents, with a shop on the ground floor, and a superb large wrought iron coal stove for cooking/heating in the basement (on which my water cooled games PC now sits). Two of us live here now (occupying a whisker over 2,000 square feet). The former coal hole is now our laundry room 😉

  • Paul Marks

    50 years ago people did NOT tend to have too many children – the number of children per family tended to be about 2 or 3, that is enough to replace the population (some people had more than three children – and many people, even then, had no children at all, I myself have no children at all – no one to bury me or remember me).

    Today the British people (like the peoples of many countries – including the United States) does not have enough children to replace itself – that is not a good thing.

    Even the Irish people (once famous for their high fertility rate) are now below replacement level – and now they have voted to murder their children (there is no point in using soft words – the voters knew the referendum was about murdering babies and they voted for that) the fertility rate will fall further.

    As for the idea that immigrants will pay for us all in our old age – even assuming the sort of people who are coming in from North Africa and the Middle East could get jobs (and they do not really have the relevant skills) why would they want to pay for old people with whom they have no kinship?

    I must stress I am NOT blaming them – if I was told “give us half your money – so we can spend it on these old Martians, these green things waving their elderly tentacles”, I think I would resent it as well. They have no kinship with us – there is no reason (none) why they should pay for us in our old age.

    In Sweden, even pre virus, there was mass unemployment of “immigrants” (the quotation marks are because many of these people are actually born in Sweden so I do not see how they can properly be called “immigrants” in the land of their birth) – and the Swedish government is the most obsessed with “Diversity” and “Inclusion” of any on this planet. If it can not make such a WELFARE society work, and it is plain that it can not, then no one can. The cultural (cultural – not genetic) differences are just too great – and they do not diminish over the generations.

    As for those of the “immigrant” community who do work -they tend to make it very plain that they have no desire to pay for a lot of elderly Swedish people (and I do NOT blame them). Hence the “soft euthanasia” policy of the Swedish government (all part of what the late John Paul II called “The Culture of Death”).

    Long before the COVID 19 virus the standard treatment for elderly very sick people in Sweden was opiates – it did not cure their sickness (it was not intended to), but it kept them quiet as they died.

    Even basic oxygen is not given to many elderly Swedish sick people with COVID 19 – because the policy is for them to die (as they can not be afforded – they are not working).

    To be fair some of the “immigrant” population are shocked by this when they find out – as they would never treat their elderly like this (i.e. de facto KILL THEM), and they make it very clear that the Swedish government is NOT to do this to their old people. Of course the “immigrants” are not in the habit of murdering their own babies either.

    Still let us turn aside from Europe (as I can not bare to think about this continent any more) and look to Japan.

    In Japan this “decline of housing shortages” has indeed taken place.

    The Japanese are well below replacement level in the number of babies they have – but they have NOT welcomed in vast numbers of “immigrants”.

    The Japanese have gone (I am told) for the robot option – as they get older, so machines (robots) are supposed to take over more and more of the work.

    Well that will certainly deal with any housing problems – robots do not tend to be very demanding in their housing demands.

    Perhaps the Japanese policy will work (at least in easing their passing, the passing of the Japanese people, from this world) – I do not know, as this policy has never been tried before.

    “There is a first time for everything Paul” – true, and the policy may work.

    At least there will not be housing shortages.

  • Paul Marks

    I think that a diverse (small d – not Frankfurt School of Marxism big D) society can work – but it can not be a WELFARE society, and the cultural differences can not be too great.

    I think Florida works – the Cuban (indeed general Latin American – several different cultures, although kin) culture and the “Anglo” culture are very different – but not so different as to be incompatible (indeed there is some real cultural mixing).

    Florida is not very generous (with taxpayer money) to people who are young and not working (so it will not fall into the Sweden trap – or the New York and California trap, which is really the same trap).

    The problem in Florida is a lot of elderly people (most of them Anglos) who are dependant on government or private pensions that can not be afforded.

    That is not going to work out well – but it is certainly is NOT the fault of the Hispanics. They were NOT the people who set up this chain letter “Social Security” Ponzi Scheme – and they did NOT create the private pensions dependent on the Wall Street Credit Bubble.

    Cuban “immigrants” (again an absurd word for people born in a place) tend to look after their own elderly (children and extended families do that) and they are right to do so. A lot of elderly Anglos are going to have to start working again – if they can work. And perhaps not in the high status jobs they once had.

    The population of Florida has exploded over my life time – but they do not appear to have major housing problems.

  • Nessimmersion

    Bobby B – UK at least the housing is much better insulated, however UK builds the smallest houses in Europe due to planning restrictions which have meant supply has not kept up with demand, hence.price increase.
    Japanese toilets – the Japeanese style toilet that washes & dries your arse – 25% of home helps for the elderly are to help with toilet issues, if this is automated it alows more old people to stay in their home longer, reduces the care bill and gives them dignity.
    Population at replacement levels – we could always follow Hungarian policy, that seems to be working.

  • Chester Draws

    UK at least the housing is much better insulated

    That’s the least of it. In fifty years, toilets have come inside, decent baths and showers have been fitted, houses are far better sealed against rising damp (which is a major health issue), there’s double glazing etc. Wiring has been improved (and wirelessing) — how many rooms these days don’t have a wall socket? That wasn’t that unusual 50 years ago. Water is instant and properly hot. Homes don’t need to use open fireplaces.


  • Eric

    Wiring has been improved (and wirelessing) — how many rooms these days don’t have a wall socket?

    My brothers and I spent an entire long weekend redoing power and phone lines at my parent’s house, which was built in the mid 1960s. As constructed only the kitchen and master bedroom were wired for phone, there was no cable at all, and each bedroom had a single ungrounded outlet, all on one 15 amp circuit. Bathrooms had a single ungrounded outlet as well. In new houses you have an outlet on each wall wider than two feet.

    Of course in retrospect putting a wired phone line in every room was a waste of time and money, but the power made the place much nicer and safer to live in, particularly GFI sockets in the bathrooms.

    We snuck out when my dad started to complain about the plumbing.

  • Stephen Ottridge

    Rents for apartments, flats, in Vancouver BC are dropping quite significantly because AirBnB is not working with the travel restrictions. Their owners need revenue to cover their mortgages so are providing these apartments as regular housing.