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HOUSING STUDIES ASSOCIATION – 2014 CONFERENCE. Separating the demands of housing suppliers from the houses in demand : the changing moral values embedded in UK housing transactions. Dr Martin Field Institute for Urban Affairs, University of Northampton m firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Martin Field
Institute for Urban Affairs,
University of Northampton
The musings of a ‘housing theorist’ about UK housing supply values and possiblemoralities.....
[* NB : see also NHF presentation, HSA 2014 conference plenary ]
1a : ‘Morality’ represents social values created solely by each society to suit particular circumstances
1b : ‘Morality’ is at root based upon intrinsic ‘cosmic existence’ that transcends human settings
1c : ‘Morality’ is a mixture of how socially constructed values respond to matters intrinsic to ‘cosmic existence’
2a : The operations of ‘markets’ have nothing to do
2b : The operations of ‘markets’ is based solely on
dynamics of ‘supply and demand’
2c : The operations of ‘markets’ change with the
prevailing values of the surrounding society
3a : The UK ‘housing market’ is a clear example of
an ‘open market’
3b : The UK ‘housing market’ operates in ways
significantly different from any classical ‘open market’
3c : The UK ‘housing market’ is not really an ‘open’
market, but more a kind of ‘free-for-all’
(4i) Religious / Theistic : an imperative to treat [house?]
others as one would wish to be treated
(4ii) Humanistic / Utilitarian : securing the greatest good
[best housing] for the greatest number & the least harm
(4iii) Neo-liberal / Economic Rationalism : unrestricted
wealth creation and accumulation [through housing]
Largely provided by bodies ‘geared to make money’
Bodies lack competition, but support monopolies
Outputs assessed as expensive, small, eco-limited
Completions limited in their pace of delivery
Would (4i) and (4ii) create more inexpensive property, as well as higher all-round quality?
Can (4iii) best explain why rates of supply may be lower than what could be built?
NPPF & Harman have maximised the interests of ‘land-owner’ and property developer’
Challenges to Local Plans are increasing speculation and local greenfield approvals in non-residential areas
Renegotiated developments are reducing contributions to local infrastructure and expectations of new ‘affordable housing’
Could (4i) and (4ii) support this thrust of NPPF, or the Harman position?
Does (4iii) prioritise wealth creation for ‘land-owner’ and property developer’ above others?
An appeal to the importance of a ‘national economic imperative’ would seem to still rest on (4iii) ........
Outstripping all other forms of rental provision
Constraining opportunities for owner-occupation
Predominant criticism - expensive and insecure
Limited in type, size and facility
Increasingly provided for ‘investment’ returns
Would (4i) and (4ii) support investment ‘portfolios’ if costs and insecurity rise for renting households?
Does (4iii) best explain why investors’ interests are being supported above would-be owner-occupiers?
Current UK newbuild and PRS supplies best interpreted as:
- but primarily the demands of suppliers & investors
from classical ‘open markets’ – central policy constructs
circumstance – the economic & supply ‘crisis’
rather than good housing for the many
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the well-being of himself and his family”
“Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others...”
“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence”
`“All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”
“People who are not religious have tended to extend their scepticism about religion to ethics as well.... [and] they have yielded the field of ethics to the religious right” [Singer, 1993]
“The dominant political and economic model of today allows, indeed encourages, citizens to make the pursuit of their own interests (understood largely in terms of material wealth) the chief goal of their lives....”[Singer]
Each ethos will be understood by the principles it values....
The presentation generated discussion regarding both the extent that ‘Neo-liberalism’ may be described as a variant of a ‘utilitarian’ moral ethic, given its plausible focus upon raising social standards through the positive effect of ‘the market’, and the extent to which utilitarian positions do or do not meet the needs of minority interests..... What was not said in reply to such points was to underline the concern about the ‘Neo-liberal’ focus on wealth generation and its acceptance of current wealth inequality that obstructs a proper planning of housing provision to shape what could otherwise be made available for majority and minority interests alike – the focus on ‘wealth’ is a chosen value, not an obligatory one ........[MF]