Why are four walls and a roof so expensive?

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I was playing with MidJourney while making a video and made this. It has no scientific addendum. Home prices were ridiculous before the recent downturn and people who bought for above asking price in 2022 must be feeling pretty silly right now. Not that I would know (ahem).

Cory Doctorow wrote a blog post over at Pluralistic about congressional budget office economic models. The idea was that the economic model starts with assumptions that are designed to produce neoliberal answers. Those assumptions may not be true, but we make huge policy decisions based on them. We seem to be more committed to those models than we are to helping people.

I got interested in economics for a while. I read books and articles. The more I read, the less it felt like science. Some models should be discredited by now. Economists should stop using them. Maybe that happens in academia, but it does not seem to happen in the public discourse. I started to feel like economics is more like astrology than astronomy. The same bad ideas get regurgitated endlessly because people buy them. It comforts them.

The great thing about writing a book or article about astrology (or astral projection, or crystal healing, or the power of prayer) is that there’s no accountability to experiment. If someone does an experiment and it disproves the whole field, it is irrelevant. The readers don’t care. I’m starting to feel like that’s economics.

For instance, COVID relief funds obviously didn’t cause all of the inflation we have been seeing. For one thing, that money is gone, but the inflation is still here. For another thing, energy prices are a big part of inflation and those had nothing to do with stimulus money and everything to do with a war in Ukraine. Finally, the biggest cause of price increases has been (drumroll) increased corporate profits. But I still see the economic argument that we need austerity because government spending is causing inflation in 2023.

Why not claim that COVID was caused by 5G phone service, or that the war in Ukraine was REALLY caused by Mars in retrograde.

Hey, anyway, here’s Some More News about why housing is so expensive.

The comic was made by Peter Allen with MidJourney and shared under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/