The Third Place: Construction of Residential Areas

The preceding Entry, “State Investments in Construction and Land Development,” delved into the Council State’s role in financing the land development and construction projects. I discussed about how they fit into the context of Production for Dasein and the dynamics of Productive/Personal Properties-as-Power. I also described how those economic activities relate to WTM (Work Theory of Money) and RTV (Reciprocal Theory of Value by extension) as part of the creation of Arbeit and Geld. In particular, I mentioned that such activities had an unusual set of parameters under the Work-Standard. I will reiterate them here as well because it will become relevant over the course of this Entry.

The Quality of Arbeit from, for instance, building a single-family home will initially come from the actual construction itself. Everything associated with the intended purposes and functions of that structure counts toward contributions of Actual Arbeit to the Life-Energy Reserve. But unlike most sources of Actual Arbeit, the Value of the Actual Arbeit will diminish once construction has been completed. The Actual Arbeit from the subsequent maintenance is nowhere as valuable as the Actual Arbeit that came from the original construction efforts.

This trend will persist no matter how many buildings are being constructed. RTV would tell us that the only Actual Arbeit coming from redeveloped land and constructed buildings will be from the subsequent efforts by the Council State to look after them. Following this premise to its logical conclusion, WTM would then proceed to argue that this Actual Arbeit is the only instance where the LER (Life-Energization Reciprocity) Process can be deemed applicable. This is because the redeveloped land constructed buildings are technically the Personal Properties of the Totality, who have entrusted the State to provide general maintenance and repairs as needed. Such endeavors would be akin to the temporary spikes in Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld from the Tourist Industry across the four seasons within a year.

As Personal Properties, vacant land and unoccupied buildings do not create Arbeit and Geld under the LER Process. They can only provide Actual Geld to the Council State when somebody decides to purchase them instead of receiving them as part of their Vocation or being awarded them as Prizes. It could be argued that this transfer of Actual Geld differs from the Actual Geld being generated among the various Professions, Enterprises, and Industries of the Tournament within the overall VCS Economy. The transactional sale itself resembles more akin to an indirect taxation reminiscent of those found in lotteries and casino gambling. When those activities are allowed to occur in Production for Dasein, the Council State is the one that stands to gain the most from those activities, adding tax revenue to its State Budget. But in the context of vacant land and unoccupied buildings, the Totality is the one that gains the most since they will be the ones relying on them.

That being said, if the Council State finds that it is necessary to create Arbeit and Geld from land development and construction projects, it can reap the same benefits from the further creating more vacant lands and unoccupied buildings. But because of the trend mentioned earlier, the long-term gains in its investments will be coming from people who decide to turn them into future Enterprises for the VCS Economy. For residential areas, the main topic to be addressed by the rest of the Entry, how the Council State constructed them will go on to impact the performance of MTEP (Mission-Type Economic Planning). The effects are more likely to become apparent within areas that are becoming urbanized and integrated into the jurisdictions of Municipal governments overseeing nearby cities and metropolitan areas.

General Outline of Residential Areas

Ideally, the Council State should consider construction of a variety of types of housing. Among them will include “Apartments,” “Townhouses,” “Single-Family Houses,” “Multigenerational Houses,” “Multifamily Houses,” and “Mansions.” While these are not the only types that the Council State could be expected to build, they are nonetheless the most common and the ones which will be the focus of the Entry. Depending on where the Council State is building residential areas, it is realistic to expect major cities and metropolitan areas to have tall buildings containing Apartments and Townhouses, whereas the outskirts are more likely to contain Single-Family Houses and Mansions. The proximity to the center of a major city or metropolitan area has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages for creating the three different types Arbeit and Geld.

To begin, our conventional understanding of Apartments will change under the Work-Standard and in Production for Dasein. In the other two Modes of Production, an Apartment is generally understood as a type of residency that is not owned by its occupants. Instead, the Apartment is owned by a “Landlord” (in this context a privatized commercial bank or real estate firm) who charge the tenants monthly payments of Kapital as Rent. The tenants are only allowed to live in the Apartment by continuing to pay Rent, otherwise they will be evicted from the premises.

But because Rents and Mortgages are prohibited in Production for Dasein and under the Work-Standard, the tenants technically own their Apartments. The result is a living arrangement that combines the “Condominium” and the “Housing Cooperative.” In essence, either the Self owns their Apartment or else the Self is a member of a Housing Cooperative that acts as their Landlord. After all, the concept of a Condominium implies an Apartment that the Self in fact owns for themselves. It is more likely to expect Apartments to fall under one of those two categories.  

For Housing Cooperatives, the Landlord is the Cooperative itself because it is responsible for entire building and its tenants. The tenants, as the members of their Housing Cooperative, agree to pay for the maintenance and upkeep costs of their residential building. Unlike the Rent described earlier, the concept of “rent” here is misleading and not just because the Profit Motive characteristic of Production for Profit is missing. Since Rents and Mortgages are prohibited, Housing Cooperatives will only be charging residents Actual Geld for the overall costs in upkeep and the usual basic essentials (like electricity, water, heating and air conditioning, television and Intranet access, and so forth). Any Actual Geld that a Housing Cooperative receives from its residents will be going toward paying for those costs. We can expect a similar arrangement to also occur among Condominiums and other types of residential housing. Rather than continuous payments of Rents and Mortgages, the residents will primarily be paying for the maintenance and costs of receiving basic essentials.

Townhouses and Multifamily Houses are residential buildings where residents have their Households sharing the same building. Unlike Apartments, residents are less likely to encounter each other inside because their Households are separated from each other. Thus, the residents will be able to have more privacy. They are also more spacious than Apartments and provide greater convenience in terms of accessibility to the surrounding area. Where they differ from Apartments is that their ground floor cannot be easily converted into Enterprises like Cooperatives or Small Businesses. The ground floor will contain the usual amenities like the living room and kitchen. And unlike Single-Family Houses, Multigenerational Houses, and Mansions, the backyards are not large or even a garage large enough to be turned into a Workshop.

Single-Family Houses are the type of residential building that frequently comes to mind whenever I am discussing about American Suburbia. A single building that constitutes as the Household of one family and separated from the occupants of other residential buildings. Compared to the other types of residencies discussed so far, it provides a decent balance of living space to facilitate a Workshop inside its garage as well as a garden in the backyard. Aside from the Workshop, there is not much flexibility in accommodating Cooperatives and Small Businesses. The same can be said about Multigenerational Houses, which are a larger variant of a Single-Family House that includes extended family members inside the Household. Its size makes it relatively more expensive to maintain compared to regular Single-Family Houses.

Finally, Mansions are the largest of residential buildings and they are usually owned by the wealthy. Those with higher Social Ranks could also be expected to be living there. Mansions boast the potential for accommodating larger Workshops and could host an Enterprise or two. The biggest downsides include their size being inefficient in housing a community of multiple families and greater expenses from its concurrent upkeep and maintenance costs. Moreover, they are also the furthest from the center of a major city or metropolitan area, making social interactions with others extremely limited compared to the other types of residencies.

Cottage Industry Conversions

In general, the kind of residency that the Council State should build is one that provides a decent balance in terms of living spaces and its potentiality for accommodating Enterprises like Cooperatives and Small Businesses. An Apartment could fulfill the role of accommodating different Enterprises within its building at the cost of less living space for its residents. Aside from a Housing Cooperative, it could have another a Small Business or two occupying the first and second floors. A Workshop could be installed, but its capabilities will be limited to the economic activities of its affiliated Small Business or Cooperative. If possible, the Housing Cooperative could consider building a garden on the roof of the residential building and a storage area in its basement. Given its architectural designs, Apartments are best-suited for creating Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld within the Services Sector and a limited one for the Manufacturing Sector.

Townhouses and Multifamily Houses fall under similar conditions. Most do not have a basement, nor can their ground floors be converted into an Enterprise. Their backyards, while still limited in terms of living space, is somewhat larger than those of Apartments, and they can have garages for a single mid-sized sedan. There are fewer opportunities for the residents to create an Enterprise insofar as the residents are more likely to be working for other Enterprises or for the Council State. If they do create Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld as part of the Cottage Industry, it will probably require the involvement of the SSE. Alternatively, it is possible that they could provide insignificant sources of Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld on the National Intranet, but on a limited scale due to their aforementioned constraints on living space.

Similar to the preceding types, Single-Family Houses and Multigenerational Houses are more likely to be creating Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld through involvement with the SSE. There is greater potential for them to create Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld on the National Intranet due to lower population density (fewer people accessing the National Intranet within the general area at the same time) and limited opportunities for Cooperatives and Small Businesses. Its significance should be reserved when the time comes for Section Five.

Lastly, Mansions are far away enough from the outskirts of major cities and metropolitan areas to create Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld in the Natural and Manufacturing Sectors of the VCS Economy. They could also create Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld if the digital infrastructure in their area is up to par with people living in the cities. And given their seclusion and larger living spaces, they could provide some limited opportunities for creating Military Arbeit and Military Geld with the Military-Industrial Complex. This will of course depend on whether the garages are large enough and whether there are suitable basements below the Mansion. It too deserves to be discussed in greater detail elsewhere in Section Five.

Role of Heimarbeit

Everything discussed here and in the preceding Entry was intended to provide the foundational groundwork for Heimarbeit (Homework or “Work-from-Home”). Each of the mentioned types of residencies provide opportunities where Heimarbeit could become relevant to the Totality under the Work-Standard. Certain residencies can accommodate a greater diversity of different Enterprises from various Industries while others can create more than just Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld for the Life-Energy Reserve. Whether these opportunities will be properly tapped into by the Totality is a different matter altogether. It is possible that some of these endeavors will be pursued, and others ignored because there are other, more important ones outside the Household. Whichever the case may be, the conduct of MTEP can be impacted by the presence of Heimarbeit affecting the TPP (Total Productive Potential) of the Life-Energy Reserve.

If there is any real benefit to incorporating Heimarbeit into the theoretical concepts of RTV and WTM, it is that Heimarbeit holds the key to eliminating Rents and Mortgages as well as present a different conception of American Suburbia. With Heimarbeit, the Cottage Industry could find renewed purpose in the State of Total Mobilization, coexisting alongside the Manufacturing Sector Industries that had once replaced it during the Industrial Revolution. It provides the necessary justifications for the peculiar circumstances associated with the creation of Arbeit and Geld during the Council State’s land development and construction projects. It also explains why residential buildings could simultaneously incorporate the characteristics of Productive and Personal Properties. Such a trend does not occur often and even the case of Intellectual Property occupied a space squarely between Productive and Personal Properties.   

Our discussion about housing cannot be complete without an historical discussion about the development of American Suburbia. There are important aspects of American Suburbia which not only tie in with what has been discussed in all Entries so far, but also pave the way for further Entries in Sections Four and Five. In the next Entry, I will discuss about the development of American Suburbia from the official end of World War II to the Subprime Mortgage Crisis that led to the Great Recession.  



Categories: Third Place

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