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How to rugpull America for $500
My brother works for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), the city’s official homelessness task force.
We built some hexayurts together, so he knows homeless shelters can cost about $500 and be assembled in an hour. Yet he regularly witnesses LA’s government negotiating with contractors to build shelters for between $30,000 and $800,000 per occupant.
Learning about the hexayurt revealed an unsettling truth: housing is incredibly overpriced.
Not just “real estate” — the entire concept of housing. We can now build houses for a few thousand dollars, and homeless shelters for a few hundred.
But we don’t.
Why? Because if word got out, all the real estate and mortgage markets would crash. We could instantly house all the homeless in the United States — but we’d have to rugpull Western Civilization to do it.
It would probably kill more people than it would house:
Google says about 500,000 Americans are homeless.
Consider Brad Pitt’s line from The Big Short — “for every 1% that unemployment increases, 40,000 people die.” Assume true.
The 2008 financial crisis increased unemployment from 5% to 10%. So let’s that’s 5*40,000 = 200,000 people — equal to almost half of today’s American homeless population — who died as a result of that shock to the mortgage markets.
Now consider a mortgage crisis based not on bad loans, but on a drastic and permanent shift in how we value housing. It could easily be twice as bad, and result in at least as many deaths as there are homeless Americans alive today.
Now, I’m as cynical as the next bloke — I don’t suspect America perpetuates homelessness out of a sense of mercy. Quite the opposite.
But there is a real dilemma here: the evil aspects of our economy still bear such an incredible load, that even to exorcise them would cause great harm.
The spiritual metaphor
I could easily be wrong, but this illustrates a view on “Why does God allow evil?” that’s new to me.
Is there sometimes mercy in the withholding of blessings?
If there are certain blessings God doesn’t give us immediately, perhaps it’s because we still depend so much on certain evils, that to remove them would be to leave us without any idea how to hold ourselves together. The blessing would be a curse.
Perhaps God is giving us time to get our act together, so that when good inevitably conquers evil, fewer people will be destroyed by its ascendancy.
More on Hexayurts:
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