Monday, March 9, 2009

Ohio as Ground Zero for Bandos?

Bandos - those who choose to occupy houses vacant due to foreclosure or other financial problems - are sure to become a growing force in urban areas across the U.S. this year.

My vote is for Ohio as Ground Zero for the conflicts that will define how property rights laws change during the Great Collapse we are finding ourselves in.

All Boarded Up
By Alex Kotlowitz, New York Times Magazine
TONY BRANCATELLI, A CLEVELAND CITY COUNCILMAN, yearns for signs that something like normal life still exists in his ward. Early one morning last fall, he called me from his cellphone. He sounded unusually excited. He had just visited two forlorn-looking vacant houses that had been foreclosed more than a year ago. They sat on the same lot, one in front of the other. Both had been frequented by squatters, and Brancatelli had passed by to see if they had been finally boarded up. They hadn’t. But while there he noticed with alarm what looked like a prone body in the yard next door. As he moved closer, he realized he was looking at an elderly woman who had just one leg, lying on the ground. She was leaning on one arm and, with the other, was whacking at weeds with a hatchet and stuffing the clippings into a cardboard box for garbage pickup. “Talk about fortitude,” he told me. In a place like Cleveland, hope comes in small morsels...

Again, I strongly suggest reading Fernando DeSoto's "The Mystery of Capital" as a primer on the value of strong property rights laws - and the value of being flexible enough to adapt those laws to the current financial landscape (as evidenced by how U.S. property laws grew during the 1800's).

h/t John Robb at Globalguerrillas for the link

UPDATE: Or maybe, like most trends, it will be California? The credit crunch tent city which has returned to haunt America

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