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Berlin dreams big

“Berlin’s vote to take properties from big landlords could be a watershed moment”, writes Alexander Vasudevan in the Guardian.

Judging by the history of such schemes it could be. But not in the way he thinks.

The vote in Berlin is not legally binding, but it does show the popularity of such a measure (the popular appeal of taking their stuff and giving it to us is eternal), and as the Guardian says it will “serve as a template and inspiration for activists in Europe and elsewhere”.

Professor Vasudevan (he is an associate professor in human geography at Oxford) continues,

Smaller landlords and state-owned social housing have been aggressively targeted by large institutional players for whom housing has become a vehicle for the management of global capital funds.

I have little doubt that the large scale institutional landlords such as the property company Deutsche Wohnen that the initiative targets have transformed the Berlin housing market, and not for the better. But it is worth asking why it paid them to to go on a speculative property buying spree in the last few years when it did not pay them to do this earlier? I would guess it is because they have taken advantage of artificially low interest rates created by government.

What about compensation? For obvious historical reasons, German law frowns on confiscation without compensation. The article says,

Efforts to enact the socialisation process will undoubtedly face legal challenges, not to mention the problem of compensation of the property corporations. Campaigners are adamant that their model would balance a commitment to fair compensation with “budget-neutral” socialisation.

When fair compensation is “balanced” with something else, it means unfair compensation.

When the normal operation of law is suspended we are always told that it will apply only to people or groups that few would leap to defend. It never stops there.

14 comments to Berlin dreams big

  • Mark

    Hmmmm,

    Stealing property from legal owners in Berlin? There is a precedent.

  • Martin

    In context: Berlin is populated by a majority of useless red and green parasites who never did anything useful and productive in their live.
    Due to the special situation of Berlin before 1989 and the years after, they never have experienced the consequences of their uselessness.
    It’s time to let them reap what they sow. Let’s just sell Berlin to the russians (or maybe the turks), build a border around it and cut our financial, political and cultural losses.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    “When the normal operation of law is suspended we are always told that it will apply only to people or groups that few would leap to defend. It never stops there.”

    Absolutely. Years ago I was asked why I opposed increased taxes on the rich, even though I wasn’t that wealthy at the time. My reply was that sooner or later, most likely sooner, I would be deemed to be “rich”.

  • Paul Marks

    It is an example of how one form of statism leads to another.

    How did these corporations get the money to buy up all this property? They got on low interest (or no interest) terms from banks and other financial entities that are backed by the European Central Bank (the EDC) it is, essentially, money created from NOTHING.

    People know that something is corrupt in the system – but they mostly do NOT know what it is. So they make the fatal mistake of thinking the problem is “the rich” and the solution is to steal their stuff.

    The truth is that it is the money-created-from-nothing that is the problem (the Cantillon Effect – named after the Irish economist Richard Cantillon of some three centuries ago) – but only minority of the people know the truth.

    This is also the case in Britain and the United States – the problem is not “the rich”, the problem is the money that is created from nothing.

    The money-created-from-nothing is used by the Corporations and wealthy individuals to buy up real assets (such as property) and squeeze out most people. It is the money-created-from-nothing that is the problem – not “the rich” as a concept.

    When people see the incredible gulf between the tiny elite in a city such as New York and the terrible poverty of so many other people they jump to the conclusion that private property and freedom of trade (!capitalism” to use the boo-term invented by socialists) that is to blame – but it is not, it is the money-created-from-nothing (the Credit Money), created by the banks and other financial entities, and backed up by the government in the shape of the Central Banks such as the Federal Reserve – or the Bank of England, or the European Central Bank.

    As for trying to “correct” this by the state stealing property…….

    That is the long term plan – first property becomes concentrated in a few hands (the “Woke” Corporations and so on) – then the left come along and say to most people (who no longer have any property) – “why should this small elite have property and you have none?”

    But the plan is NOT to give back private property to ordinary people – the plan is for NOONE to have private property.

    First bankerism (Credit Bubble money-from-nothing ism) – then full Collectivism.

    By the way…..

    There is nothing wrong with lending out Real Savings for productive investment – the problem is that banking and other financial services stuff is no longer mostly about that. It is mostly about creating and using money-from-nothing rather than Real Savings. It is the money-from-nothing that forces up the prices of real assets (such as property) and concentrates ownership in a few hands.

  • AlfromChgo

    Bill Gates is reported to be the largest holder of farmland in the US.

    R Redford and cronies own or control a large swath of the stare of Montana.

    Investment funds both private office type and public have ben buy up large apartment complexes for the past four years in the US

  • XC

    @AlfromChgo – the Feds own about 30% of the overall land in the continental US (i.e. – not Hawaii or PR or Guam or …) and while a TON of that is in Alaska (60% IIRC owned by the feds) MT is about 1/3 owned by the Feds.

    Most of what is controlled (leases) or owned (land and/or mineral rights) in the west is useless as there are no water rights or the water rights have been stripped in the past. I have a buddy whose family owns something like half a million acres in TX but there is one stream crossing a corner, to which they have no grazing or growing rights. They can water their horses, I guess, if out riding. There is no (known) oil or shale under their land, but they stole it fair and square generations ago and they’re pretty attached to it.

    -XC

  • Tim Worstall

    The likely compensation cost – this is compulsory purchase, not the expropriation that Guardian article tries to call it – is about the annual budget of the City of Berlin. Good luck in selling that tax burden to the voters.

  • There are also reports in the German press of a “150% turnout”, so something appears to have gone wrong.

  • snag

    @Tim

    In which case, all the more tempting to set their own compensation rates.

  • There are also reports in the German press of a “150% turnout”, so something appears to have gone wrong. (AndrewWS, October 1, 2021 at 3:20 pm)

    Sounds to me like something went right for the activists – but hiding it went wrong.

    In the anglosphere, today’s activists seem worse than those of my youth. I described the Berlin activists of back then in an old comment. If today’s are equivalently as much worse than they were, then they must be vile indeed.

  • George Atkisson

    In the US, hedge funds like Black Rock are buying up homes for as much as 125% of asking price, cash (money-created-from-nothing) up front. This includes entire subdivisions that are still under construction. Housing prices have doubled since 2018 in the Phoenix, AZ area. New families, or renters trying to acquire a permanent home are screwed. The hedge funds are flush with cash from stocks and other investments and are assumed to be buying all this property due to expectations of massive inflation on the horizon. Given the attempts of the Far Left to pass a $1.3 trillion ‘infrastructure’ bill plus a $3.5 trillion budget, we are looking at a $5 trillion package that will necessitate the ‘printing’ of trillions of imaginary $$. Therefore, massive inflation. Probably not Weimar levels. Probably. This will destroy the US just as surely and completely as a Chinese nuke strike. Given the infiltration of the CCP into Wall Street and the US government, it might as well be.

  • X Trapnel

    Expropriate?

    As Orwell suggested (in ”Politics and the English Language”) we should mistrust any polysyllabic weasel-word like “expropriate” when a more demotic, monosyllabic, Germanic word like “take” or “steal” or “thieve” does the job more clearly. The polysyllabic Latin or Greek work is often

    used to dress up simple statements and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgements.

    “Expropriating”, just like “redistributing”, sounds so much more considered, more high-minded and principled, than “helping myself to”. To be fair, the Guardian headline does use the word “take”, but the tasty text gets more florid in its language the harder it tries to approve of this.

  • Lee Moore

    Meanwhile :

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/58775881

    Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool manager says vaccine is ‘not a limit on freedom’

    You can take the boy out of Germany…..

  • Paul Marks

    Tim Worstall – are you under the impression that Mr Gladstone is still Prime Minister and Grover Cleveland still President?

    Why should a government limit its spending to what it can tax? The government of Berlin could borrow the money – and the money borrowed would be created (created FROM NOTHING).

    Nearly all universities teach that such raving insanity is good “modern economics”.

    By the way, today I heard the “right wing” Ian Duncan Smith say that all money spent on the lockdowns and so on in the United Kingdom, more than 400 Hundred Billion Pounds, should be set aside as “war debt”.

    How does putting the word “war” in front of the word “debt” change anything? Is this word “war” a magic word? And it is not just Ian Duncan Smith – I have heard John Redwood say much the same thing.

    These men are some of the most free market in Parliament – and they think that some 400 Hundred Billion Pounds of spending can just be disregarded, that if one puts the word “war” in front of the word “debt” the debt does not matter, or can be dealt with by “growth” generated by tax cuts. No need to CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING at all

    To quote your words Sir “good luck with that”.

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