Legalized Corruption in Real Estate to Pay the Rich
– K.C. Adams –
The revelations of a corrupt real estate deal involving the BC government, the City of Vancouver and Holborn Properties Ltd. raise important questions. How pervasive is corruption in real estate, not only in depriving people of the right to housing but in driving skyward the price of land itself and real estate generally? Large amounts of the people’s money and funds in the economy are tied up in real estate and paying residential and commercial rent. The resulting economic and social problems, including homelessness and bankruptcy must be addressed and resolved.
What role does corruption play in these problems? Corruption usually refers to illegal activity but with regard to real estate often the corruption is legal according to business law. A perception is held by many that real estate corruption may be morally abhorrent but not illegal. Such is the case with the 2008 BC government sale of twelve acres of Little Mountain to Holborn Properties, a global real estate and investment cartel.
A way to attack corruption is to make it materially and legally difficult, if not impossible. In the case of land, it would require removing land as a commodity and making it public common property that cannot be bought or sold. With residential housing generally and social housing in particular it would require human-centred public enterprises across the country constantly building structures to be rented or bought for a determined price of production.
For rental housing, the public enterprises would build and maintain the structures at Canadian standards with modern amenities. Social housing would require not only constant maintenance but all other necessary social programs for the residents to retain their dignity and attachment and solidarity with work and society. This means social housing would include at Canadian standards all aspects of health care, education, recreation, sports, culture and food security for residents.
Removing the Legalized Basis for Real Estate Swindles
None of the cartel parties in the federal election would ever suggest removing the material basis of corruption in real estate. To create all-sided human-centred public enterprises across the country to build and maintain housing, and produce and supply the main elements necessary such as wood and steel without the involvement of the aim of certain individuals becoming rich in the process would run the risk for cartel parties of all hell raining down from the ruling elite.
Removing the prospect of becoming rich from building housing and selling land would go a long way in defeating corruption in real estate, in solving the housing crisis and affirming the right to housing as necessary to uphold the right to be.
Corruption must have some material basis to exist. If the material basis allowing corruption is removed, and the imperialist aim constantly denounced as anti-social, immoral and unjust, then corruption will gradually disappear. If the aim to become rich is under pressure and more closely scrutinized as harmful and contrary to what should be the aim of a modern economy — which is to serve the people and meet their needs — and a material basis to become rich through manipulating real estate is removed, then corruption becomes more difficult to express in actual behaviour.
The housing crisis can be solved if Canadians take bold action on the front of removing land as a commodity and establishing human-centred public housing enterprises.