Housing: The Rent is Too Damn High!


  1. Robbie Nelson – Capitalism Can’t Give Us Affordable Housing
  2. Terry Gross – A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America
  3. Jacob Passy – The rent is too damn high — even for middle-income Americans


  1. Why do capitalists produce housing? 
  2. What might be the reason gentrification and displacement occur in the capitalist system?
  3. What other parts of people’s lives does housing impact?
    1. How did it impact your k-12 education? 
  4. What interests does the capitalist class have in controlling housing of working-class people?
  5. Think about your school, what does the housing look like? Does it exist in the private market, is it owned by the school? Is it mixed? Why might it be this way?
  6. Talk about how the FHA went about making housing racialized? What did the government do? What did it rely on the private market for?
    1. Relate, give what was discussed in question 1, how does the use of racialized housing fit in with the goals of capitalist housing production
  7. Housing is still often de-facto segregated because of historical discrimination, how does this excacerbate racial disparity in capitalism? 
  8. Think about your local community, what impacts of racialized housing is there?
    1. What are the most visible disparities? Are there “white” neighbourhoods? “Black” neighbourhoods?
    2. (Before the event, the leader should google the housing history of your city and get a general idea of how racialized it is) How much racialization of housing was there?
  9. Why don’t construction companies build more affordable housing?
    1. How does struggling to afford rent impact people in their workplaces?
  10. The marketplace article says that rent burdens have increased for people among many different income levels. What factors have led to such widespread increases of burdens?