Thinking it through until it hurts is not always the bearing of small fry neurotic. Here is an excerpt from a disturbing and rather lengthy essay on racism, the blogosphere, and the financial crisis from a blogger known as Anglachel G.
HOME OWNERSHIP IS A MAJOR (and in an era of stagnant and declining wages, often the only) way for a household to accumulate significant wealth for a reasonable investment. Inheriting my father-in-law’s house after he passed away almost 3 years ago allowed us to liquidate 20 years of wealth and put it in our pocket. That wealth gave us economic leverage we didn’t have before, which (given a normal economic situation) could be used to garner us a greater economic leg up than having to rely on just our own earnings. My parents were able to give a house (albeit an old and slightly dilapidated one) to one of my siblings, an immense transfer of wealth his public servant income could not have obtained. It is these generational wealth transfers that can make home ownership wealth engines. (Tangential commentIn the bubble market, people did not have to wait for inheritance. They could put little or nothing down, sit on the property for a relatively short period of time, and reap the kind of payback that ordinarily took one or two generations of property holding to get. Why the hell wouldn’t people want to risk getting in over their heads with a potential reward like that?)
In a normal, non-bubble, market, to build up generational wealth is no small feat, even for those inside the magic circle of social respectability. Wealth of one generation is closely tied to that of the preceding one, and if you have been systematically, legally and extra-legally barred from ordinary wealth accumulation through the way socio-economic resources are structured, then with each cycle of wealth generation, you fall that much further behind. The further behind you fall, the greater a “risk” you are to the institutions and individuals who have moved risk from their arenas of operation to yours.