Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
x Turn on thread page Beta

Is buying to rent immoral? watch

Announcements
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by frankieboy)
    Many people might argue it is. I mean, I don't know whether I'd take that view myself, but many would. And in a way I can see where they're coming from.
    If they want to argue that, then that's fine. I just find it strange that someone who simply believes that being rich is immoral would want to zoom so far into our economy (which is fundamentally built on the principle that some people are richer than others), pick a tiny detail of it in particular, and argue that this detail is immoral for reasons A, B and C, when they could just say that being rich is immoral, for the same reasons.

    It's like a vegetarian making a big deal of arguing that it's immoral to eat Haribo starmix because it contains gelatine, which requires animals to be killed. It just makes you wonder why they'd want to pick on that one product in particular.

    It's not very common for people to simply believe that "being rich is immoral" or that "the concept of wealth" is immoral. So when the OP picks on buy-to-let housing in particular (as opposed to everything else that involves wealth), it makes me think he may have forgotten that his entire society works this way, not just buy-to-let housing, or that he might not be applying his principles consistently.
    • Political Ambassador
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    The landlord makes money by renting their property out to people, and people who can't afford to buy a property outright can still live in a property by renting it. Call it immoral if you like, but without the ability to rent a house, half the nation would be homeless...
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    As I said, I'm not interested in debating whether the government's measures are "enough" or not. What the appropriate gap between rich people and poor people's standard of living should be is not an absolute matter of fact. It isn't really something that can ever be settled.
    Even if the size of the gap is increasing and shows now sign of stopping? Even if it is the rich directly (collectively) causing the poor's standard of living to drop?



    That's the exact point I was making. If you believe that the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer is immoral, or that it's immoral for some people to be much better off than others, why not just say that our economy is fundamentally immoral? Or that the concept of wealth is fundamentally immoral? I don't particularly see the need to zoom into the economy this far and start picking at tiny details of it, if the point being made is that the whole system is immoral.
    Tiny details? I'd argue that housing, along with food prices, water, gas and electricity, are the most important things. If a group of people take a stranglehold of those things and start driving up prices because people need them, of course the government (and we) should take a greater interest in the issue than if, say, the same was true of the computer game market. You don't have to oppose the whole system to oppose the parts that are damaging.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hopple)
    Even if the size of the gap is increasing and shows now sign of stopping? Even if it is the rich directly (collectively) causing the poor's standard of living to drop?
    Yes, even then. There's no way to turn an argument about what "should" be the case into an objective one.

    Tiny details? I'd argue that housing, along with food prices, water, gas and electricity, are the most important things. If a group of people take a stranglehold of those things and start driving up prices because people need them, of course the government (and we) should take a greater interest in the issue than if, say, the same was true of the computer game market. You don't have to oppose the whole system to oppose the parts that are damaging.
    Yet the only reasons that have been provided to explain why certain parts are "damaging" (which all come under the umbrella of an increase in the gap between rich and poor) apply, in lesser or greater degrees, to the entire system - other than the measures taken specifically to counteract this.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    it does drives aspiration. Nothing is stopping you or anyone from obtaining their own buy to let portfolio you can say the same about business capitalists.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    It's like all things. You want to buy to rent? Not immoral in itself, people investing a bit, making a bit etc.

    It's when people get greedy with it that it starts becoming questionable.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    Yes, even then. There's no way to turn an argument about what "should" be the case into an objective one.
    It's pretty objective that people's living standards shouldn't be decreasing, blips aside. And for people to set out to lower others' living standards is objectively immoral.

    Yet the only reasons that have been provided to explain why certain parts are "damaging" (which all come under the umbrella of an increase in the gap between rich and poor) apply, in lesser or greater degrees, to the entire system - other than the measures taken specifically to counteract this.
    Indeed, hence why someone need not oppose the entire thing. You do see the difference in need between a place to live and computer games, don't you?
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hopple)
    It's pretty objective that people's living standards shouldn't be decreasing, blips aside. And for people to set out to lower others' living standards is objectively immoral.
    I'm not sure you understand the meaning of "objective" then.

    A sentence which says "It's objective that X should be the case" or "It's objective that X is bad", or "It's objective that X is better than Y" doesn't make sense.

    Indeed, hence why someone need not oppose the entire thing. You do see the difference in need between a place to live and computer games, don't you?
    The need to live, and the need to have computer games? Sure. But that's not what's under discussion, is it? All parts of our economy which cause rich people to get richer and poor people to get poorer dampen people's ability to pay for not only luxuries, but essentials as well.

    For example, if a rich person invests in a computer games company and earns lots of profit, while a poor person can't do this because he doesn't have the money, (and so the rich get richer and the poor get poorer), then it doesn't only influence their ability to buy computer games. It influences their ability to pay for anything.
    There's no reason why the rich person can only buy computer games with his profit. He'll be buying food and clothes and houses and all the other essentials, driving their price up, and making it more difficult for the poor person to do buy these things. It doesn't merely deprive the poor person of computer games.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    I'm not sure you understand the meaning of "objective" then.

    A sentence which says "It's objective that X should be the case" or "It's objective that X is bad", or "It's objective that X is better than Y" doesn't make sense.
    If you wish to be pedantic about definitions then pick another word. Otherwise, tell me why higher living standards are not something we should aim for, and why those who aim to do the reverse are opposing progress.



    The need to live, and the need to have computer games? Sure. But that's not what's under discussion, is it? All parts of our economy which cause rich people to get richer and poor people to get poorer dampen people's ability to pay for not only luxuries, but essentials as well.
    It isn't what's under discussion for this thread, but since you've decided to make an issue of people having varying levels of opposition to different things, it very much addresses your issue.

    For example, if a rich person invests in a computer games company and earns lots of profit, while a poor person can't do this because he doesn't have the money, (and so the rich get richer and the poor get poorer), then it doesn't only influence their ability to buy computer games. It influences their ability to pay for anything.
    There's no reason why the rich person can only buy computer games with his profit. He'll be buying food and clothes and houses and all the other essentials, driving their price up, and making it more difficult for the poor person to do buy these things. It doesn't merely deprive the poor person of computer games.
    Perhaps you didn't see the difference between housing and computer games - one is a need and the other a complete luxury. To block people from having their own home and moreover to profit from their need is really the same to you as profiting from someone buying a luxury?
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hopple)
    If you wish to be pedantic about definitions then pick another word.
    What do you mean, "pedantic about definitions"? What did you think "objective" means?

    Either way, picking another word doesn't change matters. The fact of the matter is, a debate based on whether or not something "should" happen, or whether or not something is "good enough" has no end, which is why I'm not interested in engaging in one.

    Otherwise, tell me why higher living standards are not something we should aim for, and why those who aim to do the reverse are opposing progress.
    Why would I do that, when I haven't claimed to support this position?

    Perhaps you didn't see the difference between housing and computer games - one is a need and the other a complete luxury. To block people from having their own home and moreover to profit from their need is really the same to you as profiting from someone buying a luxury?
    You don't seem to be getting the point. Profiting from anything which requires initial capital, whether it's houses or computer games increases the rich/poor divide, because rich people have a greater ability to do this. And that makes it more difficult for poor people to buy food, clothes and houses. Their real wealth decreases.

    It doesn't matter whether you profit from essentials or profit from luxuries - either way, it makes it more difficult for poor people to buy anything, including essentials.

    To say that buy-to-let is immoral because it reduces poor people's ability to buy their own home requires that one, if applying this principle consistently, also holds that almost all types of profit in the economy are immoral, since they also reduce poor people's ability to buy their own home. Investing in a computer games business also ultimately reduces poor people's ability to buy their own home.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    What do you mean, "pedantic about definitions"? What did you think "objective" means?

    Either way, picking another word doesn't change matters. The fact of the matter is, a debate based on whether or not something "should" happen, or whether or not something is "good enough" has no end, which is why I'm not interested in engaging in one.



    Why would I do that, when I haven't claimed to support this position?
    Then why are you posting in this thread about the morality of buying to let?



    You don't seem to be getting the point. Profiting from anything which requires initial capital, whether it's houses or computer games increases the rich/poor divide, because rich people have a greater ability to do this. And that makes it more difficult for poor people to buy food, clothes and houses. Their real wealth decreases.

    It doesn't matter whether you profit from essentials or profit from luxuries - either way, it makes it more difficult for poor people to buy anything, including essentials.
    "Everything gets more expensive, so it's alright to intentionally exacerbate the problem for the poorest", is that what you're arguing?

    What is your position?
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hopple)
    What is your position?
    My position is that, unless the OP (and those who share his view) disapprove of almost everything in this economy, they are not applying their principle consistently.

    "Everything gets more expensive, so it's alright to intentionally exacerbate the problem for the poorest", is that what you're arguing?
    No. I make no argument about whether buy-to-let is moral or not. I'm merely discussing the validity/consistency of other people's arguments on the subject.

    Then why are you posting in this thread about the morality of buying to let?
    As above.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    My position is that, unless the OP (and those who share his view) disapprove of almost everything in this economy, they are not applying their principle consistently.



    No. I make no argument about whether buy-to-let is moral or not. I'm merely discussing the validity/consistency of other people's arguments on the subject.



    As above.
    Then I have made the distinctions more than clear, and you are surprisingly reluctant to see them for someone who claims to have no stance. Did you not agree with me earlier that your flat decreasing in price would not actually hurt you financially, because equivalent flats that you might wish to move to would also fall in price?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Its hardly immoral its just good business, if you have a house you're not using its economic and sensible to rent it out to those who do have a use for it but dont want to/cant buy a house of their own.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hopple)
    Then I have made the distinctions more than clear, and you are surprisingly reluctant to see them for someone who claims to have no stance.
    I see the distinctions you're making - I just think you're making distinctions that aren't relevant (e.g. computer games vs. houses).

    Did you not agree with me earlier that your flat decreasing in price would not actually hurt you financially, because equivalent flats that you might wish to move to would also fall in price?
    No, I don't agree with that.
    What if I don't want to buy an equivalent flat with the money I get from it? For example:

    What if I want to buy a flat somewhere else in the country, where the proportion of tenants vs. homeowners is vastly different, so the effect of abolishing buy-to-let upon property prices is different?
    What if I want to buy a large house, partially using the money I get from selling the flat - where again, there is a different proportion of tenants to homeowners, and so they won't reduce in price quite so much?
    What if I want to move to another country and buy a property there - a country whose property prices are unrelated to our prices?
    What if I want to buy a cheaper/lower quality flat, and use the remainder of the money I get for something else?
    What if I want to do something completely different, e.g. move back in with parents and use my money to start up a business?

    The assumption that anyone selling a property wants to buy an equivalent property is a bit unrealistic.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    I see the distinctions you're making - I just think you're making distinctions that aren't relevant (e.g. computer games vs. houses).
    Then explain why. It's all very well for you to say "I disagree" without saying what your actual position is, but it's rather silly to expect me to come round to agree with your way of thinking if you won't stand by it.


    No, I don't agree with that.
    What if I don't want to buy an equivalent flat with the money I get from it? For example:

    What if I want to buy a flat somewhere else in the country, where the proportion of tenants vs. homeowners is vastly different, so the effect of abolishing buy-to-let upon property prices is different?
    What if I want to buy a large house, partially using the money I get from selling the flat - where again, there is a different proportion of tenants to homeowners, and so they won't reduce in price quite so much?
    What if I want to move to another country and buy a property there - a country whose property prices are unrelated to our prices?
    What if I want to buy a cheaper/lower quality flat, and use the remainder of the money I get for something else?
    What if I want to do something completely different, e.g. move back in with parents and use my money to start up a business?

    The assumption that anyone selling a property wants to buy an equivalent property is a bit unrealistic.
    True, you might not always be able to get an equivalent property, but in most cases you will get close enough, and in most (all?) of the remaining cases you're as likely to benefit as you are to lose out - just look at a person making the opposite move to you.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hopple)
    Then explain why. It's all very well for you to say "I disagree" without saying what your actual position is, but it's rather silly to expect me to come round to agree with your way of thinking if you won't stand by it
    I already explained why the distinction you made between computer games and houses isn't relevant. See post No. 130 on this thread.


    True, you might not always be able to get an equivalent property, but in most cases you will get close enough, and in most (all?) of the remaining cases you're as likely to benefit as you are to lose out - just look at a person making the opposite move to you.
    So? What's your point?

    I made the point that, not only are there people who benefit from an abolishment of buy-to-let, but there are people worse off as a result as well. So whether or not it's a "good" thing depends on whose point of view you're seeing it from.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    I already explained why the distinction you made between computer games and houses isn't relevant. See post No. 130 on this thread.
    You said why computer games and houses are similar, not why their differences are irrelevant.
    So? What's your point?

    I made the point that, not only are there people who benefit from an abolishment of buy-to-let, but there are people worse off as a result as well. So whether or not it's a "good" thing depends on whose point of view you're seeing it from.
    Not much worse off, if at all. And if they are worse off it isn't going to stop them from having a place to live.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hopple)
    You said why computer games and houses are similar, not why their differences are irrelevant.
    I highlighted the relevant part of the comparison between them (i.e. the effect that using them to make money has upon poor people) and showed that it is a similarity rather than a difference - namely that they both make poor people poorer, making it more difficult for them to afford necessities (such as houses).

    The reason why this is the relevant part of the comparison is because the argument provided to explain why buy-to-let is immoral is because it makes poor people poorer, making it more difficult for them to afford necessities (such as houses). In short, exactly the same argument used to support the idea that buy-to-let is immoral can be used for almost any profit seeking venture, including those involving computer games.

    Not much worse off, if at all. And if they are worse off it isn't going to stop them from having a place to live.
    Yes, but it does make them worse off, regardless of whether it's by "much". It reduces the gap between rich and poor. This is "good" for poor people and "bad" for rich people.

    To say that this is a "good" thing without any bias towards either of the two groups, one must assume that the current gap between the rich and poor is larger than the "correct" size of the gap, or growing faster than the "correct" rate of change of the gap. In which case one has to have a rigorous standard by which they determine what the "correct" size/rate of change of the gap is. No such thing has been provided on this thread as far as I can see (and in fact I don't even think such a thing exists).
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    To say that buy-to-let is immoral because it reduces poor people's ability to buy their own home requires that one, if applying this principle consistently, also holds that almost all types of profit in the economy are immoral, since they also reduce poor people's ability to buy their own home. Investing in a computer games business also ultimately reduces poor people's ability to buy their own home.
    I don’t think this tallies too neatly.


    Human beings need access to housing, whereas they do not need access to computer games. If computer game manufacturers operated as an effective cartel, and set prices well above a reasonable level and into the realms of extravagant profit, people would have the option to stop buying games. They don’t have the option to stop buying somewhere to live.

    Personally, I actually do think the poor are systematically disadvantaged by the profit-making imperative, though generally reckon that this is tolerable provided the rising-tide lifts all boats. (And at this stage in my life, I class myself amongst the nation’s poor). But to exploit people for things they need, such as accommodation, food, water, by maintaining artificially high prices, is on the borderline of immoral.
 
 
 
Poll
Do I go to The Streets tomorrow night?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.