What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Housing? Is part of a new book series offering short, up-to-date overviews of key issues often misrepresented or simplified in the mainstream media. In this book, Rowland Atkinson and Keith Jacobs, established analysts of housing policy, claim that what we think we know about the housing crisis is wrong, and encourage readers to see the housing crisis as a result of the ‘property machine’ - a constellation of interests, actors and institutions made up of banks and developers, landlords, speculative investors, the majority of homeowners and real estate agencies. By taking aim at the ‘property machine’ and its opposition to the social and everyday needs of the majority of the population, the authors analyse some of the key social and economic forces and the broad range of policies that have shaped and responded to Britain’s housing crisis. Exposing the roots of key current problems such as homelessness, the lack of affordable housing, and insecurity in the private rental sector, and linking them to the choices made by successive governments to prioritise the interests of capital above social need. The authors conclude with a series of innovative proposals that they believe would help alleviate the UK’s housing crisis; improving conditions and tackling the inequalities that are so starkly expressed in relation to personal housing wealth. Allowing for the establishment of a fairer and more equal society and a more stable economic future. Series Editor: Professor Chris Grey, Royal Holloway, University of London
Chapter 2: the background
As we have explained so far, our core argument is that the housing crisis is a notable outcome of the working of the property machine as it is currently constituted. This is a state of affairs that we must grasp in order to critically consider and use to explain the state of housing today, and the kind of response that might flow from this. But what is particularly important to note is that any political response to the crisis needs to be system-focused rather than piecemeal. In this chapter we trace some of the key social and economic forces and the broad range of policies that have shaped and responded to the UK’s housing crisis. We show how the roots of ...