House prices and rent controls

There have been two news stories in the past fortnight on the same subject, house prices, but it’s been framed in two different ways, for two different political ends. In this post I want to address the substance of both announcements, consider their utility, and address the white elephant they both show a determined effort to ignore.

Houses in Styal, Cheshire
Victorian worker’s homes in Styal

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Communism and Home Ownership in China

  1. China is a communist country.
    The Communist Manifesto calls for “Abolition of property in land” and the Chinese constitution states that “Socialist public property is sacred and inviolable”.
  2. Home ownership is a core cultural norm.
    Husbands are, by and large, expected to at least have a deposit down on an apartment before asking a girl’s hand in marriage. Preferably the property is already owned outright. I only know one person over the age of 28 who is renting, and that’s because she was recently divorced.

Clearly there is a serious tension between these two principles.

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Obama’s inappropriate remarks on Brexit

Barrack Obama is truly a frustrating character to me. In seemingly equal parts he appears to:

  • Be unwilling to do or say very much on important issues – such as black rights in America;
  • Say some deeply profound things and reveal the extent to which he’s been completely roadblocked in his ambitions – such as his 20,000 word interview in The Atlantic;
  • Rail against corporate interests and structural disadvantage – as in most of his campaign for the White House in 2008;
  • Support the very worst of American foreign policy – big business first asymmetric trade deals like ACTA, TPP, TTIP, and clandestine drone and assassination operations.

And so, just as I was beginning again to warm to this reflective, increasingly outspoken Obama in his last year in power I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to find myself confronted by his other side. His remarks about the British European Union referendum in June are completely inappropriate.

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A Conversation about Japan

I am, for the vast majority of the time, a quiet person. As I’ve written before I’m vexed by internal doubt and so very slow to make up my mind, and slow to judge others. Privately I often rail and seethe, but take small pride in my insistence to let people and ideas have their say.

anti-Japanese sign in a guesthouse
Sign in a guesthouse in Fenghuang, South Central China. A very popular ancient town.

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Let’s Encrypt

I have disabled Cloudflare and enabled Let’s Encrypt on amccoll.com.

It’s free, open source, and backed by every big player on the Internet. Big thanks to my host, SiteGround, for implementing a two-click installer so quickly.

I have also loaded a WordPress plugin to enforce https, so as you browse and use my site, make sure you’ve got a little padlock icon like this in the top left corner of your browser at all times.

Encrypted

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Powerful force is behind Global Times

First read the editorial “Powerful force is behind Panama Papers

In Reply

It must be hard being a journalist in China. And getting harder.

Or all the intellectually robust candidates have long since changed careers.

Regardless, all discourses must be critically interrogated, in the pursuit of something like justice/truth/progress (delete as applicable to leave one you believe in).

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On why I have decided to start a blog

I am a great believer in Voltaire’s proclamation that “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” Most all of my thoughts and beliefs are subject not only to the continual external criticism and scepticism life throws at us all but also internally, from myself. It is, I think, all part of a continual project of self-improvement or perhaps more accurately, self-actualisation.

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