The Many Colours Of NIMBY: Melons And Chickens Explain Why Affordable Housing Is Unnecessary

Economics 101: Chicken pretends to lay a melon. Seriously though, would you buy a house based on the market pricing of chickens and melons? It seems many people would!

NIMBY: Not in My Back Yard. Part of an ongoing collection of articles exploring some of the many ways that a worldwide affordable housing crisis is opposed.

Bargain Hunters, get right down to your local melon-and-chicken market, where a glut of both melons AND chickens is REALLY driving down prices.

Fine advice fifty or a thousand years ago when sell-buy dates in the market place could help justify the sacred ‘Law of Supply and Demand.’ Quantity goes up, so price goes down. And vice versa.

So NIMBY! Keep the culinary rats and acorns reserved for the poor out of the Melon and Chicken market! The answer is simple. We can serve those less fortunate simply by growing MORE melons and chickens. That will drive down prices to those which the underclass can afford. That’s the answer!

Getting (finally) to the point, and explaining the analogy in terms of affordable housing, we just don’t need corner-cutting and undoubtedly shoddy affordable homes blighting our neighbourhood. Build more market rate housing! Even luxury housing! As night follows day the price of housing will begin to fall as these desirable but delicate and perishable market rate shelters begin to approach their sell-buy . . .

Wait a second here . . .  Housing IS perishable . . .  But only after decades, if then. As for land, well my own family owned a piece of land and left it undeveloped for over a century before finally selling it. Indeed, studies show that land and housing speculation by and large seems to ensure that housing values may flatten, even dip slightly, over years of a market glut. But trickle down to affordable prices for a working underclass plagued by flat wages? Never.

Here’s an article on an Australian study which explores this subject: The Silver Tsunami: Will Expiring Seniors Bring Down Housing Costs When Nothing Else Can?

The ‘law’ of supply and demand in a free enterprise marketplace is not by any means a law. It’s only a theory. And when it comes to housing, it’s based on a useless model, a perishable commodity.

And we won’t even mention the unfortunate results that can occur when the theory actually might seem to work. . . Oh, all right, we will mention it. Suppose word gets out that a tremendous glut of produce threatens to drive down the prices in the Melon and Chicken Market, so that people come by the hundreds from outlying districts, increasing the demand and driving up, not down, the prices? What then, eh?

So. Time now to re-enter a real world market, where a stream of in-comers actually are keeping the demand high for both melons and chickens. Meanwhile, experts are crying, grow more melons! Raise more chickens. That will bring down prices!

And now the head of a council committee responsible for this marketplace is downing tools in exasperation until he can find experts with a little more sanity. Read about some of the raging colours of NIMBY in a very large neighbourhood — New York City — as detailed in Crain’s New York:  Head Of Council Zoning Committee Freezes Land-Use Negotiations


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