On Friday night, December 13, Native American activists marched towards the former South Minneapolis homeless encampment known as the “Wall of the Forgotten Natives” to bring attention to the need for more emergency shelter beds and fewer barriers to housing.
America could easily solve its housing crisis, but that would go against capitalism. Capitalism purposely does not provide enough housing to keep prices going up, and then higher rents create some construction of new units—but not enough. Since renters have nowhere to go, they are at the mercy of this wicked process.
Using capitalism, and with our escalating construction costs for building units, the only way the job is going to get done is if rents keep rising. Who is going to build if they can’t profit off renters? Landlords are more than happy to play their part—draining renters’ bank accounts with higher rents.
How can China provide housing for 1.25 billion people, but the U.S. with only 330 million citizens cannot provide enough? In China you have so many high rise apartment buildings the landscape looks like a barcode. Where are the high rise apartment buildings in America outside of New York City?
How quickly the U.S. government could save this housing crisis by building high rise apartment buildings the way China does? But the U.S. would rather spend billions on military weapons and make sure they protect capitalism. We certainly don’t want anyone coming home and doing something humane, like building enough housing.
Frank Erickson lives in South Minneapolis.