Berkshire County is not alone in the struggle for affordable housing

Towns, municipalities, and cities across the United States are all diligently trying to solve the same critical problem: a lack of affordable housing.

To the editor:

“Home Ownership: A Thing Of The Past” was a prediction offered in 1969 in regard to privately owned housing. Ordinarily, we are tempted to dismiss predictions as mere fantasy, but when there is an eerie ring of truth to the events that have unfolded over the past 50 years, it might be worthy of our further consideration. The quote below is from Dr. Lawrence Dunegan, from a recording of a four-hour-long interview in 1988. The information quoted was from his hand written notes and recollections of a lecture he attended for pediatric physicians in 1969. The lecture was given by Dr. Richard Day, a professor, physician, and medical director of Planned Parenthood at that time.

“Privately owned housing would become a thing of the past. The cost of housing and financing housing would gradually be made so high that most people couldn’t afford it. People who already owned their houses would be allowed to keep them but as years go by it would be more and more difficult for young people to buy a house. Young people would more and more become renters, particularly in apartments or condominiums. More and more unsold houses would stand vacant. People just couldn’t buy them. But the cost of housing would not come down. You’d right away think, well the vacant house, the price would come down, the people would buy it. But there was some statement to the effect that the price would be held high even though there were many available so that free market places would not operate. People would not be able to buy these and gradually more and more of the population would be forced into small apartments.”

Towns, municipalities, and cities across the United States are all diligently trying to solve the same critical problem: a lack of affordable housing. There is little comfort in knowing Berkshire County towns are not alone in facing this longstanding problem. If you acknowledge this is a national problem, however, it might be instructive to review federal policies that have contributed to this dire national outcome, as well as the impact that fiscal and monetary policies play in exacerbating the problem today. We currently have the largest disparity between median income and the median cost of a house, which will not be solved by merely extracting a fee from local homeowners when they sell their house. In fact, that solution runs contrary to the protections afforded to individuals living in our state as established under our Massachusetts Constitution.

If we examine the Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) movement, which is on track to exceed $50 trillion in assets under management by the year 2025, we will find that Blackrock, State Street, and Vanguard lobbyists are leading the parade to extract wealth by commoditizing natural resources under the guise of saving the environment. The following is just one such example. “A stealth effort to bury wood for carbon removal has just raised millions,” as reported in the December 2022 issue of MIT Technology Review.

Kodama Systems is a forest management company in Sonora, Nev., which has just raised $6.6 million from Bill Gate’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund. Their mission is “to clear timber and bury it underground in a vault in Sierra Nevada.” The explanation is: “trees are naturally efficient at sucking down vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the air, but they release the carbon again when they die and rot on the ground. Sequestering trees underground in a vault could prevent this.”

A rational person might think the disadvantages clearly outweigh the advantages—such as, trees give off oxygen and we need oxygen to breathe and to sustain life. Timber is an important resource to build houses, and we need more affordable housing. Burying timber, therefore, might not serve humanity; in fact, it might become a detriment to society. Unfortunately, when $50 trillion is at stake in the ESG movement, we have to consider the possibility that rational thinking is not driving the decision making process; therefore, house prices may go up further due to scarce timber resources.

Many people are led to believe that this ESG movement is a whole new concept allocating carbon credits to individuals and businesses, when actually it had its origin during the Great Depression. Technocracy Inc. began in the 1930s with their steel-grey suits and cars, but today it offers a futuristic look at how they intend to solve the housing crisis, from “flat-pack modular neighborhoods” to “3-D printed houses.” In reviewing their website, a person gets a glimpse into the ultimate solution: 15-minute futuristic cities.

The prediction in 1969, “privately owned housing would become a thing of the past,” is best described today by Ida Auken, a young global leader from the World Economic Forum, in her essay from 2016: “Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better.”

Lucinda Shmulsky
New Marlborough