Under financialized capitalism, corporate investors value homes not solely or primarily for rental income, or even as assets that can be bought and sold—but rather because they serve as collateral. Three episodes of institutional change in housing markets underscore the importance of not only decommodifying land and housing, but decollateralizing it.
In the housing context, a law to facilitate countervailing power must be geared toward encouraging tenant participation at the grassroots, building-by-building level, and it must be sufficiently robust so as to check the enormous power of corporate, financialized real estate.
we argue that to decommodify urban property, we need to fight not only for policy and funding which transfers land and housing to social ownership, but also for policies that make extractive and predatory housing models less viable and organizing more feasible. We need a strategy that incorporates both social housing and housing justice.
When vacant land and structures fall into the hands of the state, new possibilities emerge. How can local governments transform these assets into co-governed spaces?
Introducing a symposium on non-market approaches to governance over land and housing.
Creative and strategic militancies interrupt the normal functioning of society, shift the terms of debate in public discourse, and expand the definition of the common good. Never has this been more evident than when the Young Lords barricaded themselves inside The First Spanish United Methodist Church in East Harlem.
By inviting their members to learn bureaucracies and hold them accountable, the Gray Panthers empowered elderly people to see themselves as experts capable of disentangling convoluted bureaucracies and reshaping them to better address local needs.
By organizing and running free health centers, the Black Panthers not only delivered much needed social provisions. They also empowered participants to envision and pragmatically move toward new political horizons.
Between 1942 and January 1946, national output more than doubled, unemployment dipped below 2 percent, and real civilian consumption increased by 50 percent. Yet thanks to an across-the-board price freeze, prices rose merely 3.3 percent per year. What lessons can we draw from the initial failures and ultimate success of this stabilization program?
Civil procedure is the infrastructure of democracy, allowing the public to interpret, elaborate, and entrench constitutional-regulatory commitments over time. Rather than sidelining courts entirely, a revival of the democracy-of-opportunity tradition should include a progressive vision of procedure.
“It is not true that the U.S. Constitution has little to say about our economic rights and liberties – let alone our material welfare. Instead, as Fishkin and Forbath argue convincingly, the Constitution has nourished a democracy-of-opportunity tradition that places our equal social rights front-and-center in constitutional practice and politics.”
The historical high-tides for the domestic experience of democracy-of-opportunity have occurred during periods of territorial and global expansionism. A serious effort to recover this tradition entails engaging with its imperial dimensions.
In the introduction to a symposium on their new book, The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution, Joseph Fishkin and William E. Forbath make the case for reviving interest among progressives in constitutional political economy.
To conclude our symposium on Root & Branch Reconstruction in Antitrust, this post offers a glimpse into an alternative universe where horizontal coordination among small players is embraced as a social good.
While a properly designed association of contract workers could pass muster under current Sherman Act antitrust jurisprudence, any such association will face serious practical impediments.