Interesting piece by Julian Dobson on why the quality of investment in assets matters:
Go to Greece and see what happens when the investors and lenders have no interest in the welfare of those they have lent to or the quality of their lives. Or, if Greece seems like a distant world, go down to your local town centre and ask how the owners of all the properties that stand empty are caring for the people who live there and the quality of the place.That’s why we can’t create better places without getting to grips with asset ownership, and not just ownership but care. And it’s why, for all its problems and pitfalls, community ownership of local assets should be encouraged and supported.
Additionally, it put me in mind of Gerard O’Neill’s report for Daft.ie a few years ago, on how renting is the new buying:
The appetite for ownership is a function of scarcity: when ownership is effectively the only guarantee of access to the benefits of a particular good or service then other arrangements are grossly inferior. But when the supply of something becomes abundant – even excessive relative to underlying demand – then ownership becomes unnecessary.
We don’t own the roads we drive on nor the world wide web that we surf yet we have more or less unlimited access to all we want when we want it. An ironic consequence of the recent failures of finance-fuelled capitalism may well be to undermine forever the foundational faith in private property ownership as a source of wealth and freedom.
In O’Neill’s case he was suggesting the cliff fall of house prices (aka, the housing glut) could open new ways of doing things from those habitually adopted in Ireland and Britain.