This morning I woke up feeling a little bit gloomy and found myself pondering the concept of property ownership. I have come to realize that property ownership is a concept that is really only for the wealthy few whether it is in the form of real estate or consumer goods. In a capitalist society, you only really own property if you have the means to pay cash for it. Otherwise, your landlord really becomes the bank which places a lien on your property. And a bank makes for a really poor landlord because the bank won’t come out and make repairs on your property when they are needed. The bank further profits from your misfortune.
At least when you pay rent to a landlord, your landord (in theory) has to come out and make repairs. If there is a leak in the roof or one of the appliances dies, the landlord is under contractual obligation to fix the problem or face some sort of punitive action. When your bank is the landlord, you have even fewer rights. The loan documents practically give a bank carte blanche to call the loan at anytime or foreclose for even one missed payment.
Watching my brother and his wife go through the stress of home ownership and a fixer upper that has no end in sight, I realize that paying rent is not so bad after all. Furthermore, in these fluid economic times for all but the wealthiest, home ownership can make it difficult to go where the jobs are. These days, few people can say that they’ve lived in a spot long enough to pay off their mortgage and own their home lien-free anyway.
As if this is not enough, we do not even own our appliances and machinery anymore, rather we have purchased a license to use them. In other words, we have purchased the entitlement to use them and this entitlement can be revoked almost at any time rendering the device useless. The corporations whom manufacture these goods, have fought our rights to repair them under the guise of protecting intellectual property and trade secrets. In reality, the corporations want to force us to use their repair facilities instead of being able to repair the product on our own; think Apple and John Deere. This is why I buy used and second hand whenever possible. To add insult or injury, Amazon recently just cut off one of their Echo products suggesting that owners of this “recycle” it.
It is sad how brainwashed the working class is to believe that we can own any property. I think it is time to end the concept of having to pay for a home. Everyone should be given a place to live. Food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare should be considered inalienable rights. When we purchase a piece of machinery, we should own it and not simply have purchased a revocable license to use it.