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]

Don’t you know it’s an EMERGENCY?

“Scottish government to declare national housing emergency”, reports the BBC.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, sorry Humza Yousaf, sorry John Swinney wanted a turn at the podium.

Declaring an emergency is a signal to government that the current situation is not working and there needs to be intervention.

The councils cited issues ranging from pressure on homelessness services, rising property prices and high levels of temporary accommodation.

By declaring an emergency, the Scottish government is formally recognising the housing problem and calling for cuts to its capital budget to be reversed.

However, there are no practical effects that automatically happen due to a declaration being made.

The one declaration they will not make is the one that would have an effect; the one reversing the stupid thing they did that brought about this “emergency” in the first place.

As Kevin Davidson-Hall says in this article, “The Past and Present of Scottish Rent Controls”,

I have some news for the Scottish Government. “Bah! Humbug!” Rent controls simply do not work.

UK data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released on 17 April 2024 reveals the largest increase in average rents since 2015, was in Scotland. Rents which have had a cap since September 2022, have increased more than in any other country in the United Kingdom.

ONS figures show that during the year to March 2024, average monthly rents in Scotland went up by more than in England, which went up by 9.1%, while Scottish rents rose by 10.5% to £947pcm. This is proof enough for me that rent control in Scotland has had the opposite effect from what the Scottish Government said was intended.

14 comments to Don’t you know it’s an EMERGENCY?

  • Fraser Orr

    If only some economist somewhere had written in a book that price controls don’t work. But, alas, we must find these things out by surprise.

  • If only politicians were smart enough to realize that people who say that price controls work, don’t count as economists.

  • Ferox

    Limiting the financial return on rentals decreases the number of rentals available, pushing up rents. No sh*t Sherlock. It’s such an obvious consequence that I find it impossible to believe rent control advocates are sincere.

    Qui bono – springs immediately to mind. How does pushing for rent control directly benefit the people pushing for it?

    I don’t find it credible that they are just that stupid. It has to be nefarious.

  • Deep Lurker

    Rent control is a failure only if you take the naive view that it’s about rents, rather than about control.

  • Paul Marks

    House prices are also very high in the United States – partly due to the general loose monetary policy (the expansion of Credit Money – this is also true in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom) and partly due to the massive subsidies that have gone into housing – that subsidies increase (rather than reduce) costs has been known since at least the time of David Ricardo, but governments keep subsidising things – which has led, in the case of the United States, to most mortgages being backed by the government and partner corporations, yes “capitalist America” is NOT capitalist.

    The next move that Scotland will make will most likely be price controls – for rented houses and flats, which will destroy ordinary private renting (Neil Oliver, supporter of the World War One Glasgow “rent strike”, please note) apart from the “partner corporations”. In California the regime has imposed price controls on house insurance, which has destroyed private house and apartment insurance – leading to the government setting up its own insurance scheme (which people must join as a condition of getting a mortgage) – government, and “partner corporation”, control is normally the way things go in California and, later, in the rest of “capitalist America” which is not capitalist.

    Rent control, and control of housing, and everything else, by government and “partner corporations” – this is, most likely, how Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom will go.

    After all this is the objective of the international establishment – both government and corporate (which are joined at the hip).

  • bobby b

    “Declaring an emergency is a signal to government that the current situation is not working and there needs to be intervention.”

    Declaring an emergency is a signal to government that the current situation is not working and the government needs to get out of the way.

  • decnine

    Government is too omnipresent to get out of the way. It will be in the way wherever it goes.

  • Discovered Joys

    If a blessed policy of the Government isn’t working then, obviously, it must be applied more rigorously until it does work.

  • Limiting the financial return on rentals decreases the number of rentals available, pushing up rents. No sh*t Sherlock. It’s such an obvious consequence that I find it impossible to believe rent control advocates are sincere.

    Sure, but the “logic” (or what passes for it in the inner workings of socialists), comes back to “But that cannot happen because rent controls prevent prices from increasing”.

    They think that Government fiat can set or keep prices stable without reductions in quantity or quality.

    These people are idiots.

  • Paul Marks

    As the post states – the Scottish State has already gone part way down the price (rent) control path – with predictable terrible results – however, the failure of the policy will just lead to more extreme policy (they will “double down”) – as statism fails the “answer” presented is even more statism. This Herbert Spencer noted in “Man Versus The State” (1884) and Ludwig Von Mises noted in many works.

    It should also be noted that New York City was the first major place in the United States to have rent control in peacetime – just as it was the first major place to have “Zoning” and to have “Gun Control” (the infamous Sullivan Act – pushed by the Democrat politician and Gangster, Mr Sullivan, so his goons could have a monopoly of firearms) – people who think of New York as the “heart of capitalism” are wildly wrong.

    “Heart of Credit Money Bubbleism” would be a more accurate description.

  • Paul Marks

    “the opposite from the effect the Scottish government say was intended” – that raises an interesting point, do the statists really have good intentions – or do they intend (yes intend) to do harm.

    Mr Sullivan (Democrat politician and Gangster in early 1900s New York) certainly did NOT have goon intentions with his 1911 Gun Control Act (or anything else he did), and Mayor Curley (Democrat Boss of Boston) did not have good intentions either – he deliberately tried to do as much HARM as possible, reasoning that if people were thrown out of work and into poverty, they would be dependent on the city government – and thus filled with gratitude to him (Mayor, and later Governor, Curley) for the benefits and public services that he provided (provided at the expense of other people).

    This is called the “Curley Effect” in local government (although it works in national government as well) – pose as “the friend of the poor” with benefits and and public services, and push policies (taxes, regulations – but also cultural policies, such as the breakup of the family and other cultural institutions, and spread the various vices that destroy lives, spread the vices as much as possible – “crime is a social construct”, |”the so called criminals are the real victims – victims of racism and classism” and-so-on) that will massively increase poverty, increase the number of people in poverty, – so they will vote for you.

    “We love the poor, or rather the poor love us – so let us have a lot more poor people” is the attitude.

  • AndrewZ

    War is the health of the state. But it is no easy matter to create suitable wars on demand, and the outcome of an actual shooting war is always uncertain and liable to result in all manner of unintended consequences. Therefore, it is safer to declare emergencies and treat them as equivalent to war. If this is done often enough, the public may become so accustomed to it that the threshold for what constitutes an emergency can be steadily lowered until it is little more than anything that displeases the current ruling clique.

  • Paul Marks

    AndrewZ – war is also the death of the state, and not just Civil Wars.

    Nations that waste their resources in wars that have no benefits are undermining themselves – a point, I must admit, that Donald John Trump understood before I did.

    Governments who are more concerned with distant wars than defending their own borders, are destroying their own nation – and when the nation dies, so will they.

    This is an ancient point – for example the Assyrian Civilisation survived the |”Bronze Age Collapse” it lasted for many centuries and dominated the Middle East – then it suddenly (horribly suddenly) fell. Fell utterly – totally.

    Most of the Assyrian army was in distant Egypt – not guarding the borders of the home area, after all (the Assyrians reasoned) the hill tribe barbarians are no real threat – and they really want-to-be-like-us.

    Then there was a sudden population movement – the Assyrian cities (which had lasted for centuries) were burned, and that-was-that. The “no threat” “primitives” – had destroyed an ancient and powerful civilisation.

    The primary function of the military is to guard your own borders – if they are not doing that (if your military are a long way away from your own borders), if your borders are (basically) unguarded – then your nation is likely to die.

  • Paul Marks

    General, later Emperor, Constantine was a great commander – he never lost a battle.

    However, he eventually split the Roman Army into an elite force around the Emperor and a formally (but not really) equally valued force on the borders – border guard or border patrol.

    A lot of ink has been wasted on examining this military reorganisation as “defence in depth” – but it was nothing of the kind, an army can not march from Constantinople to the distant frontiers and get there in time to prevent provinces (cities and rural villages) being destroyed – Constantine was not an idiot, he knew all this. But Constantine also know that having elite troops on the frontiers was a political danger to the very life of the Emperor – as a frontier General could REVOLT, after all that is what Constantine-himself-had-done.

    The military reorganisation was not about “defence in depth” – it was a political move. After all Constantine abolished the military force that guarded Rome itself – and flung away the naval-army fleets in Italy – so much for “defence in depth”. The new army also tended to be based in cities – rather than military bases, it was useful to have troops on hand in the cities if the citizens gave trouble (but it tended to undermine military discipline over the longer term).

    Constantine also hired more and more Germanic mercenary soldiers (Diocletian had also done that – after he, Diocletian, broke up the old Legions) – after all a Germanic mercenary could not become Emperor, so they were (Constantine reasoned) no political threat.

    Do I have to explain what this eventually led to?

    Governments, whether Emperors or republics, sometimes put their own interests ahead of the interests of the nation – not grasping (or not caring) that if the nation dies, so does the government. Such governments are like the scorpion stinging the frog that is carrying them over the river – “but you will die by killing me” says the frog, “it is my nature to sting you even if it means my own death” says the scorpion.

    “More, illegal, votes for us – and if the army is short of men we can get the illegal migrants to join and thus make them legal – and use this mercenary force to crush the resistance of citizens to our rigged elections and general Police State” think wicked fools in the United States.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>