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Today on the podcast, Ash Navabi returns to discuss his recent work on housing and rent control. Ash published an opinion piece entitled “Why low-income earners should actually welcome Ontario’s reversal on rent control.” In that article, Ash pushes back on the kneejerk reaction to the Ontario government’s reversal of its rent control policy on new units:

There’s no question that there are problems with affordability and livability in certain areas of Ontario, but implementing rigid rent control measures is not the way to fix them.

Economists agree: rent control reduces both the quantity and quality of housing available. In a 1988 survey of 443 Canadian economists, fully 95 per cent agreed (in full or with some provisos) with that statement. A more recent survey of 40 economists (including several Nobel laureates) yielded a similar result: only one respondent believed that rent control increased quantity and quality of the housing supply.

The reason there is near unanimity on this question is simple: there is ample theory and data in support of the answer. The theory is simple enough. A maximum price policy (which is what rent control is) has two contradictory effects — namely, it increases the quantity demanded for the good, while also decreasing the quantity supplied. In other words, it creates a shortage.

We discuss the policy change that prompted the article, and the backlash the article itself generated, as well as many things related to housing policy.

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discussions

  • There are some ways in which buying a house can be a path to independent living.   On the other hand, we’re expecting currency devaluation and the housing market is propped up on limbo rates. Is it worth taking on debt to buy? Will inflation eat away at the principal, or would you have been better off in PMs?   Have you bought recently? What factored into your decision?

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  • Not too long ago I decided to ask a Scottish Socialist an economic question about the socialist system he advocates on his YouTube channel: “Due to the preclusion of exchange for goods of higher order, what is the basis for state officials directing the alternative applications of the factors of production towards thousands of different and changing consumer needs and wants of different urgencies in the least-cost manner for society at large?” The answer to my own question was basically going to be that state officials cannot have a basis for directing the factors of production due to the absence of the price mechanism, but as you can see in the comments section he didn’t really answer my question. As you can see above, he has now responded to my question with a new video, but after listening to it I cannot compile a sufficient answer to reply with in order to get him to understand where he is mistaken. http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=yN5_YWv–WA Can you tell me what point he is still missing?

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  • History shows that control of the individual is achieved through the factors of production: labor, land, capital control through labor = slavery control through land = feudalism control through capital = the debt system Government is not necessary to control individuals through the factors of production. It is only necessary to own the factor of production. A study of history reveals multiple examples of this control. Are there any examples when this control of the individual through the factors of production has not existed?

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  • Who would you like to see debate live on Liberty.me?

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  • After reading Jon Beauchemin’s article ‘Practical Anarchy is All Around Us’ and comments to my question of the funniest/dumbest arguments against a freer society and it became even more clear how many of them are based in fear. Some like ‘muh roooads’ are fear of inconvenience or fear of the loss of freedom to travel easily, but for some reason the TSA is an acceptable invasion of privacy when flying. Which is truly surprising, since flying is also the answer the the ‘who would build the roads’ question. Answer: anyone, and who cares? We could fly!?! But I digress. It seems fear is behind almost every objection. One of the biggest objections being that the physically strong, rich and/or influential would have to much power, and a government must restrain them. Ignore for a moment that this argument defeats itself – we need strong people we have little control over to protect us from strong people we have little control over – and note what this fear really means. These people likely agree with us that they would like a freer world, but they are terrified that without government people as prone to lying as Pelosi might control a delivery company. Someone as vacuous and backpedaling as Boehner would run and insurance company.  Or someone as formerly popular as Obama might become an arbitrator of contracts. These are terrifying thoughts! Politicians would be in the market, and think of all the evils they might perpetrate then, you know, when you and I actually had to deal with them. Now while we know that the market would force these people to be relatively good actors(no one buys a shit-sandwich just because their competitor is a douchbag), most people have never thought this through. The reality of the situation is, the vast majority of our interactions with government are mostly just inconveniences. Violations of our rights to be sure, but imagine for a second you have not focusing on educating yourself about markets, and freedom, and your rights, but are a typical citizen. Imagine how terrifying an image it would be to have politicians running companies, charities, or preaching in your churches. Letting these sociopaths, psychopaths, and megalomaniacs run around outside of D.C. and state capitals is a terrifying idea. So how do we convince people that their biggest fear, is not of not having very limited(or no) government, but of having to interact with people currently in government?

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