OT - I don't _hate_ McMansions

Bryan Sant bryan.sant at gmail.com
Mon Jun 23 16:12:56 MDT 2008


On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 7:40 AM, Stuart Jansen <sjansen at buscaluz.org> wrote:
> lot of Americans are making disgusting, self-indulgent decisions.

According to you -- it's a bit of a subjective metric.  You see
disgusting self-indulgence, I see deserved prosperity.

People like to spend their money on big gaudy houses.  Others want to
assemble a home-made beowulf cluster from premium hardware.  Others
may want to travel a lot.  Others may want to donate more to charity.
So what?  People earn their money (except for millions of individuals
and many corporations on welfare), let them spend it however they
wish.

> I think it's disgusting that in so many families in Utah, when Junior
> graduates from high school he gets a Mustang as a gift instead of
> working for it. Apparently no one cared enough to disagree with me. On

I guess I missed that post.  I would have agreed that getting a new
car for graduation is a joke.  Way to warp your child's sense of
value, work ethic, and any kind of postponed-gratification.  Yet our
government leads the charge in giving undeserving persons hand-outs
(aka buying votes (with YOUR money)).  Why should we judge these
parents more harshly?  The parents in your example unwisely gave their
child an expensive car.  The government would gladly give that same
child a lifetime of no work, a full scholarship to graduate school (if
they are a convicted felon in a state prison), etc.  At least these
parents are wasting their own money on their spoiled child instead of
YOUR money.

> the topic of housing, however, there was a strong counter argument: "The
> market has swung too far, even those who don't want them are being
> forced to buy too large homes on too small land."

I differ with your wording.  No one is being *forced* to do anything.
Only the government can *force* you to do something.  They are the
only ones who ultimately have the power to legally stuff a gun in your
face and coerce you to do something.  People can build any kind of
house they want anywhere they want if they are willing to pay the
price the market demands.  You are completely free to build/buy any
home you wish.

> Why? Wouldn't the market correct itself? As someone pointed out,

Who says the market is asking for a correction?  If it is, I would
truly suggest going into business as a developer who creates more
appealing developments for customers to buy...  Are you a little
nervous about going into such a venture?  Why?  Because there is no
market for it (right now).  There is no need to "correct" the market
in the way your wanting it to be "corrected".

P.S. - Maybe there is, I don't know.   If there is a huge unfulfilled
segment of home buyers who are just waiting to pay twice as much for a
smaller home on a huge lot, let me know.  I'm just stating that
markets work.  If there really was a demand for things to be
different, there would be developers/builders out there working day
and night to earn that business.

> developers make more money by building more home on less land. As
> someone who wants less home on more land, I have to admit there is some
> truth to this argument. Maybe down in Spanish Fork decent homes are
> still being built, but I live in Davis county and up here most new homes
> are the type I dislike. I have other options. For now, I'm still
> renting. Eventually, perhaps, I'll move into a home 30 miles from work.
> Neither is a great option. Or maybe I'll get lucky and find a home that
> was built back when people had more sense, but there aren't many
> families in those homes now in hurry to sell.

Sounds like you're in luck.  You have many options.  It all depends on
how much you're willing to sacrifice to get what you want.  You may
decide that renting works perfectly for you for quite some time.  Of
you may consider a longer commute to be okay considering that you
could get what you want home/property-wise for a better price.  Or you
may pay a higher price for an existing home you like that goes up for
sale.  Or you may pay a small fortune for a large lot in Davis county
and build your own dream home on it.  It is all in your hands.  You
can do anything you want.  It just depends on how much you're willing
to pay (in current funds and debt) compared to what you would get in
return.

> There's a limit to how often one can run back to the argument that
> "People do X so they must want X." Sometimes "People do X because they
> didn't have many other options."

I absolutely agree.  But I would say that people do X because YOU
haven't provided Y.  There are literally millions of needs that could
be better fulfilled by your yet-to-be-invented product/idea/whatever.
Stuart, you should seriously consider going into business for yourself
and solve some of these problems you notice in society.  People would
be better off for your goods/services and you would be financially
able to buy-out Davis county completely, demolish it, and erect a
one-room brick outhouse.

> So yes, Americans in general are at fault. But so are developers. And
> city councils. When you get down to it, developers are doing nothing
> wrong. They're maximizing profit. Saying they're greedy isn't an insult,
> it's a statement of fact our economic system is built around. The role
> of the market is to moderate that greed. And when the market fails, the
> role of government is step in for the good of society. Obviously some
> people feel the system is currently malfunctioning and aren't happy
> about waiting for a market correction.

Markets always work except in the case of monopoly, cartel, or
government interventionism (government being the ultimate monopoly --
the largest anti-competitive "corporation" of them all).

-Bryan



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