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bob
17th August 09, 04:40 PM
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/dreams-dont-come-in-instalments-20090817-enl4.html


Dreams don't come in instalments


Damon Young
August 18, 2009
The advertisement on the side of the car said: ''Own Your Dream''. In Australia, this ''dream'' can only be one thing: a house. The ad was for a property developer, claiming intimate knowledge of our private unconscious, and hoping to sell it back to us (with a competitive rate of interest).


Perhaps this is partly why the governor of the Reserve Bank, Glenn Stevens, had such difficulty explaining our high house prices last week: they're fuelled by more than rational, calculative marketeering.


The dream of property is pervasive and powerful, and Australians want to own it in monthly instalments. We're willing to risk ridiculous, enormous mortgage debt for the privilege - recently sitting smugly at seven times the average annual wage.


The irony is that this dream often isn't so very dreamy. It's quite ordinary, in fact. For many, the reality of home ownership while earning an average wage means long working hours, anxiety, insecurity and legal enslavement.


Studies report some home owners spend more of their time in the office than in the overpriced houses they work to buy. And the stress of keeping up repayments, monitoring interest rates and budgeting for crises is affecting many - including children. Last year, almost a million Australians were suffering ''mortgage stress''. Research even points to a long-term decrease in mental health for many home buyers, particularly men, and buying a home often keeps many employees in jobs they loathe.


The necessities of work are nothing new - there's no such thing as a free brunch and latte. But in a wealthy, supposedly progressive country, it's concerning to see such quiet indenture. It's all part of the calculation: we might not be happy or gratified, but it's the sacrifice we make to own the suburban dream (in 30 years).




Buying a home isn't necessarily touched by reverie - it's matter-of-fact, dull and sometimes brutal. Is this as good as our dreams get? Is this what we must settle for?


No, not always. Twentieth-century psychologist Sigmund Freud offers a helpful reply to this. The modern master of dreams never owned his home. He was a long-term renter, like many of his generation. He worked very hard, but spent his ''mortgage money'' on antiquities: statuettes, vases, figurines. His ''grubby gods'', he called them.


His office in Berghasse was filled with these expensive, evocative objects - they fired his keen, avid imagination, inspired his dreams and the reflections they afforded.


In this sense, Freud's home was not a dream to own, it was a place to dream. His office, and its menagerie of antiquities, offered him a place to meditate, reflect, analyse; to explore the astonishing vicissitudes of the human condition. The investment was psychological, not monetary: he committed himself to the study, its stuff, and the patients' psyches entangled with each.


This, I believe, is what's missed in the propaganda about ''owning the dream''. It forgets that the dream is something we do, not something we purchase on a 30-year contract. And perhaps more worryingly still, this contract, and the sacrifices it demands, can diminish our real dreams; the ones we glimpse between meetings, petrol stops and late-night television.


I'm not suggesting everyone should ditch their mortgages - it's not like renting can't be oppressive (waiting for the inevitable ''dear tenant'' letter). The vital thing is to question the ties between property and flourishing; to reassess what is genuinely valuable, rather than simply accepting what is ''done''.


The point is this: Freud devoted his home to his work, we often devote our work to owning a home. But the urge to ''own the dream'' can become a distraction from dreaming itself; from spontaneity, innovation, reflection and clarity.


We start to nod our collective, terrified heads at dead phrases like ''downward pressure on interest rates''. We begrudgingly use our property to refuel and sleep, or to lower our taxes, but not to enrich our imagination or sharpen our intellect. Our horizons narrow, even as our floorspace widens.


In a way, the developer was right: we should ''own'' our dreams. But not simply as commodities, or unthought ambitions. We ought not simply to buy them, but to really possess them. The first step is not to consult a mortgage lender, it's to reclaim our fantasies from all the peddlers who purport to sell us our own psyches.


Dr Damon Young is a philosopher and writer. He is the author of Distraction: A Philosopher's Guide to Being Free.


He never writes, he never calls, he only hangs out with us once a week and now he shares his most intimate thoughts with strangers. He doesn't even mention sociocide in his bio. For shame Damon, for shame.

Truculent Sheep
17th August 09, 07:06 PM
Home ownership is much overrated. You are in fact being made to pay an extortionate price for what the property may bring you. (For example, proximity to a good school, a trendy neighbourhood, closeness to London and so on.) The property itself may not in fact be worth the money in and of itself. Indeed, considering you can get much better, cheaper property elsewhere, it begs the question as to whether you're buying somewhere to live or a stake in a particular worldview and economic system.

Personally, I'd rather spend 90,000 on a nice 3-bedroom house in Lancashire than a poky one bedroom flat in a really run-down part of East London. But hey! I'm obviously far too provincial and unmetropolitan for some.

Harpy
17th August 09, 07:08 PM
*slow clap* Nice work Dr. Young.

bornsceptic - you seem agitated ever since you left NSW.

bob
17th August 09, 07:20 PM
I miss our long walks together.

Harpy
17th August 09, 07:24 PM
Oh please, you were cheating on me with Arhetton and Danno.

SFGOON
17th August 09, 07:36 PM
He's right - FUCK having a mortgage.

The only reason I even want to own a home is so I don't piss off the landlord when I set up a lab in it. But I married - so, you know...

Harpy
17th August 09, 07:53 PM
Your wife is your landlord?

FickleFingerOfFate
17th August 09, 08:05 PM
Aren't they all?

Harpy
17th August 09, 08:11 PM
Oh Cuddlebunny, don't be funny :)

In fact, I own both properties, my husband's name isn't on either. He's a trusting soul.

Dagon Akujin
17th August 09, 08:16 PM
I just had an offer on a house accepted today. $160,000. Well, minus the $8000 I'll get reimbursed from Obama. ZING!

Place is swag as fuck though. Granite countertops. Stone bathrooms. Bamboo laminate wood floors. And it's in a sweet neighborhood. I can't believe how nice everything I will now own is. Fucking P.I.M.P.

FickleFingerOfFate
17th August 09, 08:19 PM
Oh Cuddlebunny, don't be funny :)

In fact, I own both properties, my husband's name isn't on either. He's a trusting soul.



Lamb to the slaughter.

Harpy
17th August 09, 08:40 PM
I just had an offer on a house accepted today. $160,000. Well, minus the $8000 I'll get reimbursed from Obama. ZING!

Place is swag as fuck though. Granite countertops. Stone bathrooms. Bamboo laminate wood floors. And it's in a sweet neighborhood. I can't believe how nice everything I will now own is. Fucking P.I.M.P.

Congrats Dagon! :) Hope it all works out.

$160k for a nice neighbourhood sounds like a dream.

Dagon Akujin
17th August 09, 08:52 PM
I mean... check out this fucking kitchen:

http://c3.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/74/l_ff15d7a73fbc4ae3abfa178388575b6a.jpg
KITCHEN: Granite countertops. Stone backspash.
http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/78/l_2c46af49f4ff4258899cddbbbe5277d8.jpg
http://c3.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/73/l_abf1df179cdd486f8cc188f5b2a436c6.jpg
http://c3.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/81/l_d874fedc080647fca1797c02822c79c6.jpg
http://c3.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/82/l_612ab75bd47b47278bcf0bb0047c76fa.jpg
Back deck.
http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/75/l_e6148fe9cbc143bb98ce74f79e4bdb10.jpg
Front porch, simulated wood.
http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/100/l_051e9870c51e44a3a8756e57e6316a84.jpg
Bamboo laminate wood floors in living room.
http://c4.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/98/l_8d9d3a3e69cb4da98840a0ba06d424f7.jpg
Downstairs bath. Stone, sit-in shower. Nice sink?
http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/100/l_c097e7bb00b14781a57e8f9d45d165b5.jpg
Master bedroom.
http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/109/l_6a13322d564c48718d5634430869491d.jpg
http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/70/l_4ef892362c814759b32a377ece308db4.jpg
Upstairs bath.
http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/74/l_1288ec53af6f493a86ca71fe2c428ca9.jpg

4 bed 2 bath. 1600+ sq ft. :)

Dagon Akujin
17th August 09, 08:53 PM
The seller of this house sent our agent an angry letter one day. We were looking at two different houses and this guy could guess the other one. He was like "How can they like that other place just as much! The backspash I put in cost more than the entire kitchen on that other house!"

FickleFingerOfFate
17th August 09, 08:55 PM
We now have pictures to compare to the impending crime photos.

Harpy
17th August 09, 08:56 PM
Dagon - a backsplash in the kitchen is a must-have. Has the deal been done?

Cuddlebunny, behave!

Dagon Akujin
17th August 09, 08:58 PM
Deal was agreed to and papers all signed today. We are getting the appraisal done this week and the inspection afterwards (a little backwards). Current move in date is listed as Oct. 9.

Harpy
17th August 09, 09:00 PM
Nice :) House warming party here I come!

Oh and if any joker asks you if there's a school nearby, kick their ass.

Dagon Akujin
17th August 09, 09:05 PM
??? Wait, huh? There is. Is that joker some pedo or something? I don't have kids yet, but he better stay the fuck away from my doggie:

http://c3.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/49/l_6a1c424ea10c48eca39d2487f1f96f86.jpg

Dark Helmet
17th August 09, 09:23 PM
How is the housing market in Australia? Is it as bad as in the US? Arheton, where are thou?

f4n4n
18th August 09, 06:27 AM
You bought a house that is made of wood? And then people wonder if the hurricanes and shit come rolling in. But then again for 160k you can't expect more.

Cullion
18th August 09, 06:42 AM
Owning a home rather than renting was mostly just a question of numbers for me.

I saw that I could get a place with a lower mortgage payment than the same kind of place would cost to rent, and that the rental payments would go up over the years, and never end, whereas the mortgage payments wouldn't and would one day be paid off.

I very much liked the idea of one day not having to worry about where to find the monthly payment. I totally agree with his point about the multiple of people's salaries getting absurd and creating a kind of prison for them. I borrowed 3 times mine rather than stretch to some absurd multiple so I could live in a 'professional middle class' neighbourhood.

Robot Jesus
20th August 09, 02:19 AM
I was thinking of buying some property, but my finances are all caught up in stock right now and I want the market to recover before I do something rash. I don`t think the local housing market will recover as fast as the market on the whole. also buying a place outright is within my ability, but only just barely.

billy sol hurok
20th August 09, 07:12 AM
You bought a house that is made of wood? And then people wonder if the hurricanes and shit come rolling in. But then again for 160k you can't expect more.
Not a lot of hurricanes in suburban Detroit. Insulation would be much more important. That looks like a fairly recent build, so it's probably got a decent amount.

But the real estate market there was in the shitter long before the rest of the country got its reality check. You can pick up amazing properties there for a pittance -- if you can come up with a reason for being there (i.e., a way to make the payments).

Beautiful place Dagon; good luck. First thing I thought was "Wow, NICE backsplash!" Nice hood too; plenty of counter space, storage and outlets.

Bathroom sink is cool too. So's the vanity in the other bath . . . and I'm not much of one for vanities. Yard looks plenty big enough for a couple pups (two's better, ahem) once you finish up the fencing.

Best of all, if it doesn't work out due to some awful revelation at the inspection -- it happens, believe me -- there are plenty of other plums in your neck of the woods.

EDIT: As to Cullion's point about simple economics, we in the US get even more leverage due to the deductibility of mortgage interest against income taxes. Dunno how it works elsewhere. But here, the renting taxpayers are helping to underwrite R DREEMZ. We do not yet have a program to subsidize personal ownership of thought-provoking tchochkes. Not counting the exemption for kids, of course.

socratic
20th August 09, 08:16 AM
To whoever asked how much houses were in Australia, "Fucking expensive" is how much. Our bubble hasn't popped yet.

Dagon Akujin
21st August 09, 06:56 PM
What really got me in this was that my credit score is 794.


I rarely pay my bills on time.
I don't even owe a credit card.
Somehow, 3 credit cards were taken out in my name but never used. Lucky me.
I lease my cars and do not own them.

I mean... that's fucking good. Isn't that how the market got so fucked in the first place? They let complete idiots get really nice houses?

The house is in what is considered to be one of the most up and coming towns in Michigan. That's right. I'm buying a house in our Gay Mecca (Ferndale).

FickleFingerOfFate
21st August 09, 07:53 PM
They don't call it


Fabulous Ferndale

for nothing.

TheLordHumungus
28th August 09, 12:37 PM
The only reason I even want to own a home is so I don't piss off the landlord when I set up a lab in it.

Yeah, they get pised when they catch you cooking up a little meth in your apartment.

Cullion
28th August 09, 01:08 PM
What really got me in this was that my credit score is 794.


I rarely pay my bills on time.
I don't even owe a credit card.
Somehow, 3 credit cards were taken out in my name but never used. Lucky me.
I lease my cars and do not own them.

I mean... that's fucking good. Isn't that how the market got so fucked in the first place? They let complete idiots get really nice houses?

The house is in what is considered to be one of the most up and coming towns in Michigan. That's right. I'm buying a house in our Gay Mecca (Ferndale).

It's probably because you're a school teacher. Nobody becomes a teacher to get rich, but it is a very secure job.

DAYoung
29th August 09, 04:13 PM
Little Red Books for everyone.

Get them now.

bob
29th August 09, 04:38 PM
Way ahead of you comrade.

http://www.econsultant.com/images/little-red-book-of-selling.jpg

DAYoung
29th August 09, 04:45 PM
Awesome. I'll have 7 billion, thanks.

ONE FOR EVERYBODY!

(and some spares)