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Universal Housing


"There are more than 300,000 housing units lying empty [in Ireland,] and there are now more than 620 ghost estates — developments [...] where over 50 per cent are empty or unfinished." — Irish Times, July 30, 2010


There seems to be no country** that is having a serious discussion about the promise to its citizens of the universal right* to housing.

When the economy in Ireland was flowing with excess money in the early 2000's, the construction industry operated at an exhuberant pace, driven by rising prices that made prices rise more — a cyclical firestorm driven by greed and corruption more than by rational economics.

There is, at the end of the decade, a massive abundance of unoccupied housing — built with money from banks that the taxpayers are now bailing out of crisis.

For those who begrudge anybody getting anything for free, the possibility of the allotment of housing based upon the concept of a universal guarantee is not going to be acceptable.

But the houses are there....

Finland recently declared that its citizens have the universal right to broadband internet access. The idea is propagating, with similar initiatives under debate in various countries.

That's good for people who have a place to live.

  ** On the 31st of December 2012, Scotland enacted a law declaring that the "unintentionally homeless" are entitled to settled accommodation.
      — BBC



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* The word "right," of course, in this case means "statutory guarantee" based upon principle.

The United Nations' "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," article 25 part 1, says that "everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care...."

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