Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Interest rates were high because there was an inflation problem in the 1970s. Also, house prices then would be considered a bargain by today's standards-- you could buy a middle-class house in Seattle or San Francisco for what would be about $200-250k today.

I am certainly not saying that the 1960s and '70s were a perfect era. They were far from that. What I'm saying is that it wasn't nearly as difficult to advance. You had to seriously fuck up in order not to advance by default. College practically guaranteed a good job.

People who slacked off in college during the '60s entered boardrooms in the '70s and '80s. That sort of access and opportunity isn't handed out to our generation; far from it. We face stiffer competition for (except at the very top) less reward, at least economically speaking.

"Interest rates were high because there was an inflation problem in the 1970s."

Of course they were, that's the point. That was the crappy economic situation that generation lived under; it was worse than today's, at least from a home-buying perspective.

And again, you still don't have any actual evidence for your other idyllic depictions.

Well, yes and no. Inflation eroded their debts too remember. That's why there are so many Boomers living in nice houses that their kids could never afford at the same age.

Right. Inflation is far less vicious than house-price inflation for most people.

It's bizarre that so many people have adopted the "rising house prices = good" mentality, since housing is something on which people naturally have a short position (a need). Renters are obviously short housing, single-home owners are theoretically neutral (they own housing equal to their need) but actually short as well, since they're paying real estate costs every time they shop. So 90+% of us are actually in a short position with regard to housing; our lives get better if real estate becomes cheaper. The important, high-value land is held by a few.

This is why it's odd to hear people rage against inflation or rising gas prices but cheer on housing bubbles. They have the perception that rising energy prices benefit "other people" but that they somehow are making money when real estate gets expensive-- and unless they own a lot of it, this isn't true.

This is a very insightful comment. Did you read something that gave you this notion, or was it an insight that you had on your own?

It's something I realized after I started working in finance-- the young are very "short housing", and most people are neutral at best.

In New York, housing is a source of widespread and ongoing misery. If you lose your job, you're truly fucked because rents can easily exceed $2000 for a studio. Many apartments lack basic first-world amenities in-building laundry and dishwasher because there is no need to include them when rents and prices are so ridiculously high. It's very difficult to save money here because a class of fucking parasites (most of whom don't even live in New York) are sucking everyone dry.

Land ownership is the justification for entrenched aristocracy and, in less-enlightened times, slavery. It always has been, and probably always will be. It's a concept that exists for a purpose that 90% of us would find distasteful. This is also why Americans have such a fetish for homeownership; throughout most of history, those who did not own land were at a social level comparable to slaves or serfs. What they don't realize is that if they take out mortgages on bad terms, they're assuming a speculative position while not gaining real ownership of the property.

I frankly think it's time for aggressive land reform, and I think private land ownership (with exceptions for small, single-house plots) needs to be retired as soon as we can build the infrastructure to replace it.

I'm curious. Is a "small, single-house plot" a 30'x50' lot? A quarter acre? An acre? 160 acres? Should someone with a house on 160 acres in northern Alberta be subject to the same restrictions as a condo-owner in Manhattan?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact