Thursday, February 01, 2018

NOMADISM AND THE COST OF HOUSING---GUEST EDITORIAL





A small portion of the estimated 2000 who attended the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Quartzsite this January.   Many of our speakers celebrated the vagabond spirit and call of the wild that urged us to take to the
open road.  Some of my readers wrote to add :

kaBLOOnie boonster said...

Let's not get carried away with romantic escapism: 'freedom of the open road' and all that. The real explanation for the growth of 'nomadism' is that normal housing has become over-inflated. The government has made it a policy for decades to turn housing into a financial investment bubble.

I would consider it progress to see the cost of housing go DOWN, not up. Then we could move the financial markets over to Bitcoin and tulip bulbs.
(if you don't know what he's referencing--click here for a quick education)
Anonymous said...
Boonster is spot on. Fully 80% of the working population can no longer survive without some form of government assistance or charity, that is, unless they opt out of the rat-slugging rent seekers and go RVing.

There is nothing new about the lifestyle, no matter what the propheteers are saying. Gypsies have been doing it for centuries. Nomads, thousands of years. Hobos, since railroads began. Mobile-homers, since trailer parks. Romanticizing the lifestyle using a camera and a YouTube channel doesn't make it new, any more than the Gutenberg Press made gypsies new.

Bottom line, cheap RVing is attractive only because it is a viable alternative to paying rent or mortgage payments. Silicon Valley geeks with hundred-thousand-dollar paychecks live in RVs because they do not want to bunk up, like migrant workers, ten in a motel room, but want to save money to one day have real freedom and satisfy some wanderlust.

A lot of the window dressing that bloggers put on RVing, which by no means at all is an easy lifestyle, is compensation for the difficulty of surviving in a world gone mad with greed. The human race is the only ransom species on Earth. Natural resources are owned & monopolized by one person, group or organization, then made available to anyone else for a ransom. The practice has become so normalized throughout history, no one gives thought to the realty that such a system is a simple variation of slavery.

And RVers want no part of it!

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I think Kabloonie and Anonymous are correct: The sheer cost of housing is a major factor in the increase of nomadism.  Kabloonie's (Boonster's) mention of tulip bulbs is a helpful reminder that from time to time whole societies will go bonkers over one fad or another, sometimes bankrupting whole nations.
Housing is indeed an economic bubble that, hopefully, is beginning to burst. The average American is paying 47% of their take home pay for a roof over their head---a staggering disproportion of values.
Thoreau said in Walden that hardly a man in Concord (Massachusetts) owns his home---that Indians living in Teepees were much smarter---took a month to build--were as good as their neighbors--would serve for a lifetime and were movable.  Kudos to the million or so of us who have opted out of the insanity.








10 comments:

Mike said...

"surviving in a world gone mad with greed"
Boy, that hit the nail on the head!

Stuart said...

The LA Times recently trumpeted some news from Mexico that had been knocking around in YouTube for years: the Mexican government under Vincente Fox decided that every Mexican should have a house. He enlisted private enterprise to help build housing developments outside major Mexican cities. What began well-intentioned soon derailed badly. The private enterprise "partners" soon skimped on materials, shrank the size of the houses, made bad loans to poor credit risks and, you guessed it, packaged and up-streamed those bad loans to investors on Wall Street. Public transportation to these suburb developments did not materialize, neither did needed utilities like sufficient electricity, water or even sewage systems. Many Mexicans suckered into buying these shoddy houses far from their jobs soon abandoned them rather than pay the mortgages. Squatters moved in, graffiti is everywhere, crime is rampant. Why am I mentioning this? I am not trying to say low income housing is doomed to failure, although who can forget Cabrini-Green in Chicago? Clearly, low income housing is needed, not everyone can live in RVs on Wallmart parking lots. But any low income housing effort has to be undertaken seriously with competent people in charge and the profit motive should not be paramount. We can make fun of the Mexican experience but at least we can see that the Mexican government identified a problem and tried to do something about it. That seems to be more than we can say for the United States of America which can't even agree on providing health care to its people like every other civilized developed country does.

Randy said...

Thank you stuart for a very helpful comment. Yeah, governments have a poor track record at housing efforts. Soome very thoughtful economist say that the next big collapse is freddy and fanny may. One modest proposal that I have made is to allow free living zones like the slabs outside all major cities. I am now at the slabs with about 50 people--It serves us well and we're having a good time.

David Atkins, Jr. said...

All of this is very interesting to read and think about. Personally, I do not buy into "it cost less to live free." Keep in mind, my perspective is that of a 42-year-old husband and father of four; ages 4 to 15 years. Having said that, if I were single, had no kids, or married with no kids, or even had my kid's raised my perspective probably would be completely different. Like the article sited, 80 percent live off of some form of government assistance. Well, I am part of that 80 percent, as we qualify for EBT (food stamps) and also, because of a lack of resources (MONEY) have access to non-profit organizations that help with food, health-care, prescriptions, clothing, etc... I fear if I and my family were on the road that assistance would be gone; if not immediately, eventually.

Anonymous said...

have been reading a lot lately about people living in RVs because they can't afford a sticks and bricks.
Retired and younger people. Van living seems to be the rage. Just saw the group in Quartzsite RTR
http://www.cheaprvliving.com A little more upscale than the Rainbows group of homeless that has living in the BLM in Q for many winters now. Always wondered how they all got there.
Well all was good as we sold our S & B in 2003 and went full time and a few years ago decided we needed a backup plan if needed. So went looking for a more perminate place in AZ after doing the Quartzsite LTVA thing for years. Everything in Q was priced out of site so expanded and found what we have 40 miles east of Tucson.
As most 55 + people find a RV resort and buy a lot and maybe put a park model on it. We went looking for more of a regular S & B and found a 4 acre all fenced lot with 2300 sq ft tree section palm-harbor house with 1200 sq ft steel garage for about the price of a park-model with lot.
Cost $116K water $200 a year HOA $100 a year Taxes $1300 a year. Ins. $500 a year
That's it pretty cheep living in the winter season. Camp host last and this coming year for BLM in Idaho.
You can find good places but you have to look long and hard.
All take care,

Anonymous said...

Watch this, I live in the UK and the same situation with housing,
https://youtu.be/WUsJcPc8g0A

Hawkcreek said...

Randy, you mentioned that Thoreau said that hardly a man in Concord owned his own home.
Well today it seems that no one owns their own home, if you consider property taxes, HOA fees, utility costs, etc, etc.
Just try not paying any of those and see who really owns your home.
Everyone really just rents from the government.
To me, realization of that is one of the biggest reasons for the nomadic movement.

Randy said...

Well said Hawkcreek: I hope everyone who reads the post gets down far enough to read your comment, But I have good news for you---THERE IS ONE PLACE IN THE US WHERE A PERSON CAN TRULY OWN HIS OWN HOUSE---AND THAT IS AT THE SLABS WHERE i AM NOW. MANY RIGS HERE HAVE PERMANENT TAGS--AS I DO--TAXED JUST ONCE IN THE LIFETIME OF THE OWNER. AND THERE ARE NO FEES CHARGED TO LIVE HERE. IT'S TRUE--- YOU COULD LIVE HERE FREE OF CHARGE--FOR YEARS AND YEARS--ABSOLUTELY FREE. (i THINK i WILL DO A BLOG POST ON MY STAY HERE.)

Martin said...

I have enjoyed your writings for some time - at least a couple of years. I know you have no obligation what-so-ever to post but it seems of late you have really quit your communications - much missed. Hoping you will be more frequent with your writings and unique insights into topics others are rarely interested in pursuing. Happy Days ahead. Martin

Randy said...

Thank you Martin for the inspiration--I might post something today.