O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

sexta-feira, agosto 29, 2003

Why Rent Control is Immoral

1. "Only the landlord has a choice, because he controls the apartment that the tenant needs and thus he has the tenant over a barrel."

ANSWER: The tenant controls the rent that the landlord needs; that's always what's involved in a contract: each party has a value the other wants, and they trade their values to mutual advantage. Neither party has a right to the other's values: landlords have no divine right to a customer or to certain levels of rent (they're free to lower their offers or invest their money elsewhere), and tenants have no right to demand housing (they're free to seek alternative housing). Of course, the advocates of rent control recognize the importance of housing (and medicine and food) and thus feel morally justified in forcing people to provide those things to the "needy". But their position is the exact opposite of the moral position. The more valuable and important the product, the more you should be rewarded "not punished" for supplying it! Need is not a claim.

2. "Human rights are more important than property rights."

ANSWER: Property rights are human rights, and very basic ones. They are the rights of human beings to use their own property. As Ayn Rand wrote in Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal: "Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave."

3. "Rent controls are perfectly legitimate because this is a democracy, and rent controls have been voted in."

ANSWER: It makes no difference how popular a law is; it can still be a violation of your rights. Just because the majority votes away your property, that doesn't give them a moral right to do so. If a neighbor sneaks into your house and takes some money out of your wallet to help pay his rent, that's theft; well, there's no moral difference if a group of your neighbors get together and vote away your money to help pay their rents; that's merely "legalized theft". If majority rule were the only basis for deciding what the government can do, then 51% of the people could legitimately vote to enslave or even kill the other 49%. Hitler was voted into office and had great popular support. All tyrannies are wrong, including tyranny by the majority. The voters don't own your life or your property.

4. "Landlords are just being selfish by wanting higher rents."

ANSWER: Why is it okay for tenants to be selfish by wanting lower rents? In fact, there's nothing wrong with being selfish rationally selfish. Selfishness means that you live for your own happiness, not that of others. You want the highest rent you can get, and tenants want the best apartment for the least possible rent. Neither party should be altruistic: the landlord shouldn't say "you can have this apartment for less than you're willing to spend", nor should the tenant say I'll pay you more than you're willing to take, just to make you happy. Being selfish means you don't sacrifice yourself to others or sacrifice others to yourself. It means that you and everyone lives independently, trading value for value.

posted by Miguel Noronha 1:38 da tarde

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"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."

mail: migueln@gmail.com