The politics of housing

Promises and pie-crust are made to be broken.

Jonathan Swift

Housing attracted feverish investment in Western economies from the mid-1990s. But why? What drove the Americans, British, Irish, Spanish and others to increase their debt to dangerous levels just so that they could own a home of their own? The obsession with housing extended across the media, into television schedules, buying preferences of consumers, and even the sort of higher education courses students chose to follow. In January 2006 there were 47 UK television shows dedicated to property, plus a further 31 shows on gardening that in many cases included some promotion of property. Where did this consensus on home promotion originate? And how did ...

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