Mortgage and Rent Reviewed
April 30, 2020
Mortgage: The term comes from Old French, and Latin and literally means 'death pledge’.
Rent: The term comes from Latin ‘I give.. I offer, render.. I yield, surrender, concede.’
The words ‘mortgage’ and ‘rent’ have in their present day usages a common association with money regular payments made by a person dwelling in a building which is owned by another.
At the back of mortgage, and also of rent, of a dwelling, there is generally a person who has loaned out in return for regular interest repayments, the full money sum being the cost of purchase of the dwelling, at the time of the loan being made to the mortgage repayer .
It really doesn’t matter for my purposes whether it's a person or another loaner type, or more than one; the important point is the fact of there being at the back of things a full sum cost stumped up as a loan in return for interest and repayment payments.
In so far as the effort or work or labour asked of the person stumping up the full loan amount is concerned, there is none or extremely little; and the interest and repayments paid and repaid to the person is justified in terms of political economy, as we do it, solely as being due recompense for the risk involved in loaning out such a large sum.
In more real terms, a failure, say a default in interest and repayment payments, the risk for the loaning person is normally very far from being fatal to that loaning person. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were exceptional occurrences; happening at a time when financial systems across the world were in crisis, close to meltdown. Normally a few defaults on interest payments are not greatly grievous to loaning persons.
But to a person dwelling in a rented or in a mortgaged dwelling and paying regular payments for the right to do so; several months of default by him paying quite normally are disastrous for him. Such a default normally leads to his eviction, or else eviction from and repossession of his dwelling. In the case of renting, it would be evicting and reletting to a different person. In the case of default on mortgage payments eviction and repossession, with a reoffering of the dwelling by mortgage to another person to bear the mortgage repayments.
In neither case of a default in rent or in mortgage payments, does any newly-incoming dweller replacing the ones evicted, benefit from the sums paid already by former dwellers in the dwellings. Nor does the person evicted enjoy any recompense of any part of the sums already paid by him. It is in the nature of rent to be as it were perpetual, in that its payment each month buys tenancy for a dweller for that month only; and at the end of that month, another payment of rent is due and required, which pays only for dwelling there for that second month after – and so on.
Rent costs as payments can go up or down, seldom if ever down, and this type of change normally aims at least to keep pace with inflation and with any general rise in costs of living, or even of general prosperity. The person to whom rent is paid has some scope for adjusting rent payments; and this scope is not tightly tied to, say, bank rates, or to changes on the stockmarkets.
On the other hand mortgage repayments are not perpetual in the fact that there is nearly always a term to the period of mortgage; and so one day payments will be all paid up to the loaning person, and the dwelling will be owned by the person who formerly was the mortgage payer.
In our society at present many persons who are rent payers are paying rent to mortgage repayers; and these mortgage repayers are paying repayments to loaning persons on the properties in which their renters are dwelling.
There is a double iniquity herein:
- The persons renting dwellings normally are paying more money in rent than are the persons to whom they pay rent paying out repayments on their mortgages for the very same dwellings.
- The persons renting dwellings will never own a jot of the fabric of the dwellings for which they are paying rent. The persons to whom the renters pay rent will eventually own the dwellings in which the renters dwell.
A small mitigation in this iniquity rests in the fact that the person receiving rent has an obligation to the person paying it to keep in good order the dwelling being rented. Whereas when a person takes on a mortgage that person is normally solely responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the dwelling he is paying mortgage repayments on.
Yet when we look at this fact of mitigation more clearly we see that it is not actually a just mitigation, because the mortgage payer has no title to ownership of the dwelling until he has paid the final sum of the whole cost of the mortgage to the loaner of it. So that even though it is a dwelling not (yet) owned by him, and he has no title to it, the mortgage payer is called to pay to keep the dwelling in good repair - and in fact for the sake of another party
In addition the mortgage payer is called to take out an insurance policy to pay for untoward damage to the fabric of the dwelling, even though in law, and in fact, the home is not truly his own. The loaner of the mortgage sum is a beneficiary of this insurance, at the least indirectly, but also I think directly, yet pays nothing towards the insurance.
A person ‘selling’ her home – how can one sell a home one does not own, and is only mortgaging? – has bills to pay to solicitors – just as she has to pay also - if as usual she is ‘buying’ another home instead to dwell in – for conveyancing and for surveyors’ reports, etc – all of which the mortgage loaners and their factors are beneficiaries to. For these services and actions they pay nothing towards their purchase.
Of course were a law to be changed so as to expect loaners and factors to contribute towards insurance, and maintenance, of mortgaged dwellings, and towards costs for persons making a change of mortgaged dwelling; the total loaned mortgage amount on a dwelling would no doubt increase and cover these added costs – and maybe some more?
There is a general truth in the so called science of economics which here is being exampled – it is that the end consumer always pays all bills and costs put upon goods and or services; bills and costs which are being loaded upon the consumer during the course of the goods and services passing through their chains of manufacture and supply, whilst, as it were, they are in transit ‘above and beyond’ the consumer.
Not just goods and services only; governments who borrow, whose projects go awry and fail, who are fleeced by unscrupulous smart-arse businesses, and such; the whole barrowload of patent incompetencies of today, plus the scams and cheats – are all finally completed in their journey at, and by being loaded onto as added expense, the consumer; who always foots the bills.
Rent and mortgages are two very good examples of this general rule – which would be called a ‘stitch-up’ by any frank and fair investigative news reporter. The buck did not stop with Harry Truman – it always stops with the person leaving the shop with a packet, or who is in the queue to pay her utilities bills or road tax.
Hence the dubiousness of this phrase I will be examining again later ‘what the market will bear’ being used to be the ‘justification’ for a price tag of something in a shop or such. The market will bear a lot because the consumer is not merely patient, and often undiscerning; but he and she is also of necessity without other options but to buy food clothes soap toiletries, and such – plus I admit many stupid madcap nothings better not made or offered for sale.
All our needs and wants, wants created for us or real wants, are provided to us via our economic system of consumerism – usually as mass produced, low quality, throwaway, consumable, passing fads, or latest-for-six-months’ models, replaceable, wear-once items, - there is ubiquitously no other place for the vast majority of us to go, whereabouts we are able to obtain means by which to live and so fill our bellies, wardrobes and homes. A true captive market.
This state of affairs, there being no alternative, of course means that ‘what the market will bear’ is actually ‘what can be squeezed out of a purchaser, the consumer’ - and of course every link in that manufacturing and supply chain wants to load its costs and a little profit - plus a little more, onto the costs for its part in that chain.
One hears and reads of hierarchies of petty officials, from a police commissioner down to the plod lawmen on the beat, in a poor nation strapped for luxuries and fine living, who when a guy is hauled in and he looks presentable, like he has some readies in the bank, will run him ragged with regulations and ‘can’t do that’s’ until he is happy to pay his way out of the fray. The money sum he pays to get free of the hassle is divied-up amongst the ranks right up to the super; each level having and receiving a pre-set part of ‘takings’ - like a factory system. And this is how income is supplemented and luxuries appear at home now and then in such nations. The police have the power and authority of the state behind them otherwise to make life terrible for the guy – and to whom are they accountable when the guys above them, and above the super also – to a man and woman - are at the same game and in spades?
Take this set scenario as being the analogue of that bill, generated by our business entities in the course of their manufacturing and supply chains of goods and services, which eventually lands in the laps of consumers. To whom are the guys in these supply chain accountable – their ads will say to you - to you, the consumer – we live by our word - sort of thing – but no; there is no accountability – excepting when the guys get too greedy and consumers en mass say – no – that’s too much -and the product and business goes down the chute.
But as I said few people in this nation are discerning and most buy by rote or by whim or on impulse or blindly – one can see items in shops three, four, times the price and selling, whereas down the road the exact same products are not known by many consumers to be there and are selling dirt cheap. A nation with too many of us with too much money. Now back to rents and mortgages.
As I have noted the loaner of the sum total of the mortgage has rights, upon default, to repossess and remortgage a dwelling. I suspect many other rights also in law? Certainly the mortgage sum loaner retains considerable power to determine the fate of the dwelling and the fate of the mortgage payer. Maybe – I don’t know? – in law, does the loaner still remain the titular owner of a dwelling? Or perhaps it is being held in some kind of escrow, held by what is termed a neutral party, but perhaps more on this neutrality later.
Yet the dweller who pays the mortgage repayments is obliged absolutely to upkeep and maintain the dwelling, even though as yet, and normally for several decades, he has no title to it. Why should this be in law?
Does it not appear that the mortgage payer is upkeeping and maintaining a dwelling in part on behalf of another person, who owns or has powers over ownership on that dwelling; and who has no obligations in law to maintain it.
Further, I believe that were the dweller not to maintain his dwelling to the satisfaction of the mortgage loaning person or his factors, the dweller can be made to do so in law, on pain of repossession of his dwelling being made by the mortgage loaning person etc.
Now there are rules in place which likewise press upon recipients of rent payments from dwellings; which require them to pay for upkeep of the fabric of these dwellings on behalf of their renting tenants.
De facto however it is a commonplace that loaners of mortgage sums do use their powers and do press hard upon dwellers who are paying mortgage repayments, that these payers do maintain and upkeep their dwellings, on pain of forfeits and actions against them
Whereas it is also a commonplace that dwellers who pay rent are very frequently baulked or stonewalled in any efforts to have the recipients of their rent payments repair, maintain, and generally look after the fabric of these rented dwellings. Even though the law de jure might support the case for this payment for repairs etc.
Now not only is it the case that rent payers are persons in general unfamiliar with law, and rarely if ever do they resort to law; whereas the loaners of mortgage sums and their factors are familiar with and do use the law.
Nor is it a simple case that a mortgage loaner has a large sum at risk; and a rent payer or mortgage repayer has not. Both payers have their dwelling places at risk - de facto in many cases.
A rent payer, were he to ‘cause a fuss’ about overdue repairs etc, to the recipient of rent, he de facto again too often becomes a marked man, and so put, as it were, ‘on unofficial notice’ of eviction, as a mental note in the mind of the recipient of rent.
I am talking about how it is, and not about how it should be - nor about what the law can say and do in these cases.
De facto again a person renting, when a problem with the dwelling becomes too inconvenient, might well resort to making repairs himself, at his own charge, and which the recipient of rent ought to have provided for.
The mortgage loan provider I would firmly believe never would do this, nor even considers it, at least not whilst a mortgage repayer is in the dwelling still.
The loaner of the mortgage sum normally means at his disposal - and as I have said earlier a few defaults on income coming to him monthly from mortgage payments is not normally catastrophic for him. He has means to use civil law, which asks for considerable means for it to be used by any person.
The loaner of the mortgage sum also knows routinely that the law will find on his side and that the judgement will include sufficient money reparations that he will not be out of pocket on the action. This routine knowledge of course helps mitigate considerably that level of risk that the loaner of the mortgage sum accepts when he lays down that mortgage sum loan in return for regular interest and repayments.
(I must say here that the grand sum of the loan loaned is not normally ever lost, nor seriously depleted. On the contrary when the loan - which is a solid and fixed sum - is added back-into the decades of interest and repayments paid regularly to the mortgage sum loaner; the total amount ‘earned’ by the loan, given even inflationary trends, and changes in money values, is frequently very substantial. So as to get a quick insight into loans and their returns go look at merchant banking businesses, where their quarterly profits run to $ billions - although being a separate area of finance to dwellings mortgaging to be sure, but one which receives returns arriving faster and which are even more staggering. The principle of usury remains the very same)
There is very great iniquity in our democratic way of life to be found in this availability of resort to law only to persons of means. In regard to the areas I have touched on about default and of disrepair in mortgaged dwellings, the loaners starting actions in law against dwellers, since the loaners know to a certainty their actions are cases which will be always judged in their favour, in truth they are bearing zero de facto risk in their buying these judgements from the courts.
Whereas the renter person has not normally the initial means of recourse for him to be able to start an action in law; he has no surety that the recipient of rent will not at a first opportunity seek to – let’s be plain – revenge upon him, were he to scramble and raise such means. Moreover, the recipient of rent is better placed to seek and obtain the better advice on a course of defence in any such action raised, than is the renter for his prosecution of it. For the renter the risk/cost balance of going to law is far too heavily against him or her; too heavily in favour of the recipient of rent
(We are heartily advised in love and goodwill by our Lord to ‘search the scriptures’. The worldly wealthy too often prefer to ‘search the statutes’)
So the renter ends up at the end of his tenancy with nothing to show for having paid his rent religiously; whereas the mortgage payer eventually gets ownership of the title deeds to his home.
That money paid down as rent and as mortgage repayments over a course of decades is a great drain on the take home income of its payers – usually not less than one third of their incomes and often rather more goes out the door each month to recipients of rent and to loaners of mortgage sums.
In return for this income, loaners and rent recipients do not do anything as such; except to exercise, or to have their factors exercise due diligence on their risks of, and interest in, the monies invested in the dwellings. Factors are used normally and act for a fee to bear all the administrative affairs on behalf of a recipient of rent or of a loaning party.
The fee that a factor might charge represents loss to the rent recipients and loaners; but since factors take on multiple dwellings to be their administrators of affairs, their fees may be large in the aggregate, but not severely expensive to hire for each client of theirs.
Most of the rent paid and mortgage repayments paid are money paid to persons who do nothing except bear a risk. The level of risk is counterbalanced heavily by the risk of destitution by eviction to dwellers were these sums of monthly outgoings not to be paid regularly by them. Thus loss of payment is weighted against loss of abode fairly nicely and securely.
The amounts to be repaid monthly of mortgage loans and also payments of rents, are always set at ‘what the market can bear’. Just as is the price on the market of any dwelling or item for sale. This phrase ‘what the market can bear’ sounds as if it were the case that the whole issue of set amounts for payment is out of the hands of those who receive the payments; that some unseen hand is at work adjusting these sums to be paid according to an unknown set of principles, which to all human apprehension work willy-nilly.
One has economists of course who say words like ‘base interest rates’ and ‘the greater cost of borrowing’ and ‘unexpected high demand’ etc etc – but each faction of political economy gives its own sets of ‘reasons’’ for the rates and repayments, and gives them according to the colour of its political sympathies and antipathies.
Nonetheless it is in the interest of the recipients of payments to have payments stay high and perhaps grade upwards as far as they can influence them to do so - “as far as the market will bear”. It is in the interest of the factors – who go by a percentage – for payments to increase. The converse is true for payers. The payers are paying at least one third of their incomes on this sole object – a dwelling place. For this one third to increase even in a small way has enormous consequences on the spending of their remaining income; in comparison to the impact that that same small increase has on the loaner’s repayments or the rent recipient's purse.
Again it is the case that loaners and recipients often have numbers of sources from which come rent income or loan repayments; and so for these, as the Scots say “Many a mickle makes a muckle”
Their business, in so far as they can make it so, is to hold as many as they can of dwellings as rented properties or as mortgaged, so that a small increase in payment on all of them aggregate to a tidy sum, the more dwellings the tidier.
The level of threat of destitution increases for the dwellers as paying out higher sums increases; and there is a tipping point at which such a threat becomes critical, when the payments become unmanageable for payers and they can no longer pay them. En bloc this is what occurred with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in the 2008 crash debacle.
It is by this obtaining of so much money in rent and mortgage repayments in return for supplying more or less no work or productivity, that I want to look now. It involves what even traditional economics terms ‘dead money’.
The traditionalists mean by ‘dead money’ money which is levied, demanded, has to be paid out, but which offers no equivalent value in manufactured or produced goods and services in the market. Thus this ‘dead money’ tends to be almost purely inflationary in its effects of being paid out.
I want to bring in here the view of an eminent Roman Catholic scholar whom I recently heard argue that our great levels of debt across Europe and the USA are in fact vast sums of money robbed from the labour value of workers who produce and supply our goods and services.
His view also entailed – and this belief backs up his view on debt – the belief that value as such is created by work alone – and in my own extrapolation of this assertion of this I would say that, given that this is the case, then it means that all costs which are added on solely as being charges ‘that the market will bear’ are extraneous and bogus – and that it is these kinds of superfluous charges which are accrued as being debts due to persons such as rent recipients and mortgage loaners - and owed to them, and paid by renters and mortgage repayers.
Now these arguments about the nature of debt are vitally important; since indeed their truth if valid accuses nefariously and culpably those who benefit from debt, and in our instance in particular, accuses those recipients of rent and of mortgage repayments, as being thieves and robbers. Moreover these recipients of regular payments and repayments are at present thieves and robbers apparently sanctioned in law, and thus by the state. So we would have institutionalised legally an exploitation and crime against common laws of equity.
This is no small thing. Even the least perspicacious of persons might see this. That a group of persons is able, as it were, to sequester, without hindrance, and with some collusion and encouragement from government and law, funds in such huge amounts, being regular heavy burdens – one third of income plus – placed on so many others to pay out, and levied upon them for the sake of their basic human needs - and possibly human rights? - to have a place of abode in which to dwell and to shelter their families. This is a great enormity.
So how might it be convincingly argued that this huge level of debt upon which the economies of The Western World run and prosper – but patently this prosperity is in the hands of powerful and closed, limited minorities – how might this burden on plain persons be shown to be a direct result of theft and robbery?
Let’s begin with the proposition that value in economic terms arises solely out of work and labour. Now there are books and books, thick and turgid, on various theories of value. Some of the most Byzantine writings are on this topic – so Byzantine in their labyrinthine arguments that one would be astonished were one to read them, bearing in mind a belief that truth is plain and straightforward!
I suspect – but I am no mathematician – Theories of Value represent an area wherein complexity hides behind it a series of prejudices and predilections, the wish being the father of their many subtle thoughts. The discipline of such economic writing is so clouded with political antagonisms, which bring in to bear upon their authors’ outlooks, ideas dragooned as being hallowed relics, and in use for the sake of expediency and utility, ideas about ‘human freedom’ ‘democratic rights’ and about ‘the British (or US) tradition and way’ and conversely about ‘the threat of totalitarianism’ and ‘ brute oppressions’ and so forth – and being so clouded with such rallying calls that one cannot help but sense instinctively that these books are not about economics, but are about using dogmatic policy arguments under a guise of economics, so as to promote their authors’ cherished political desires.
So let’s start from here – with, as me being author, my own standpoints. For you to grasp these in their full majesty of modest beauty in truth there cannot be better recommended to you than for you to read John Ruskin’s book ‘Unto this Last’
The title ‘Unto this Last’ - some of you might know this – is a citation taken from The New Testament gospels; words spoken by Jesus Christ himself in fact. The Lord Jesus tells a story of The Labourers in the Vineyard – a story extremely apposite for our topic of work and value – or rather should I say, my topic owes utterly everything I am attempting to say here to the revealed Grace and Truth of Jesus the Christ.
The Parable of The Labourers in The Vineyard can be said to be about, amongst many other things, the value, not merely spiritual, of labour, presenting thus as it were a Labour Theory of Value for Christians to live by.
A Lord owns a vineyard and goes one morning early to the marketplace to buy-in labourers who will tend and dress his vines for him. He promises the labourers the normal rate of pay for their work. At several successive hours of the day he returns to the marketplace each time hiring more men he finds standing around there lacking and awaiting employment. ‘At the eleventh hour’, which in the Jewish hours of the day which Christ was using, was the very late afternoon towards the close of the labouring day, he finds several men hanging around looking for work still. He hires them and they do just one hour’s work in his vineyard.
The labourers at the close of day line up to receive their wages; and the Lord has them line up so that the longest serving workers are to be paid last in line. The first paid workers being those who worked just one hour, and they receive a penny, being the standard rate for a full day’s work. The labourers who worked the whole day see this and begin to relish the thought of what larger amounts they will get as pay. But the Lord gives them, as being the final labourers to be paid, the same day rate, one penny, as all the other workers received.
Those who worked the whole day protest to him; and he replies. It is my money I am paying you with, and you have received the proper rate as I pledged to you that you would get when I hired you early this morning. What is it to you that I should choose to give these men the same full day rate, and who worked just an hour, which is the sum you yourselves received?
One aspect we can note from this Parable is that the day-rate of one penny was pay sufficient to maintain life for a labourer and his family - food - shelter etc; so this means that the last to come into the Vineyard, just like the first to come and work there, get sufficient payment to be able to live.
Secondly, the last labourers to have come in have been lingering in the marketplace all day awaiting being hired, and so they are not charlatans or slackers, but are only persons who had been seeking unsuccessfully a full day’s employment.
Thus the Lord hands out payment not as a ‘savvy’ businessman might be expected to do so; but instead on a basis of need, and in the understanding that those whom he called into his vineyard last had been seeking work all the day.
The parable is on one important level about how God rewards with entry into bliss even those who come to him very late, and he rewards them with just the same as he rewards those who have been with him all their lives.
As for the study of economics and of the theory of value, this parable has some things to say to us notwithstanding. Now if labour is the source of all value in regard to the value of products and services being made and provided for sale, it follows that where no product or service is provided or made, in return for a payment of a due sum of ‘wages’, or for a series of continuous payments, as with rents and mortgages, that that money paid out has not returned value to those who paid it out. Because there is nothing to be shown for its having been paid out
Now a rent recipient and a mortgage loaner might argue that the services they provide consist in providing dwellings, and in making affordable the costs for people living in those dwellings. The recipient of rent might say that his rent payers otherwise could not afford for themselves the terms of a mortgage; even though the same rent recipient is often paying mortgage repayments on his rented-out dwellings, and is affording these payments from the takings of his rent income. And with some to spare.
The loaner of mortgage sums might say that she is providing a lump sum stumped-up out-front which allows the mortgage holder to dwell in the dwelling he mortgages, whilst he is paying back in installments the mortgage sum to the loaner.
In the first case regarding the recipient of rents, can we really say that a service is being provided by him when he is charging and receiving as income more money in rents than adds up to the sum of mortgage repayments on the dwellings rented which are mortgaged to him? In our society we have a situation where a person is able to rent a dwelling in return for paying a regular payment sum which is higher than were the same person able to have mortgaged the same property and started repayments to a loaner of a mortgaged sum? This happens because the financial security bar set by loaning parties of mortgage sums is higher than the financial security bar set by renters of dwellings to persons wanting to dwell in those dwellings.
How and why this is so is a nonsense, and is not ever clearly explained satisfactorily. That a person should be able to afford more money to paid out in exchange for no eventual possession of anything; and yet if he paid out less money for the same item for the same period he might eventually own that item outright as a substantial possession.
No-one in their right mind would make or take such a deal. But since it goes on commonly and widespread every day before us, one has a right to ask, what is going on and why is this injustice not even attempted to be righted in our society?
Without connivance and bufferings of prefabricated economic structures in place, this kind of clearly topsy turvy situation could not, would not, exist. Clearly the value had by rent recipients as rents for their properties is not at a level of value being returned which is commensurate only with the fruits of their labours. Taken, and looked at, from this point of view, this rent income represents well over and above any reflection of the value of the labour involved in being a renter out of dwellings. The mitigating factor of risk bearing for recipients of rents, as we have seen, is not anywhere near sufficient or without counterbalances for it to warrant being considered as being a real mitigation. Especially in a society where, like ours right now, a shortage of dwellings allows rent payments to remain at a premium value to recipients of them.
Clearly here is an instance of that inoffensive euphemism ‘what the market will bear’ being the justificatory factor.
For the loaner of mortgage sums and her regular mortgage repayments incoming, from the people in mortgaged dwellings making repayments, things are more straightforwardly unbalanced. The risk argument that she bears is even less a mitigating justification for the mortgaging situation than it is for rents to their recipients. A person defaulting on mortgage repayments loses not just his dwelling place, but all, or maybe much of, the money paid up by him previously. Whereas the loaner, she is able to stump-up up-front the big loan because she has that sort of cash readily available, or else she is at least trusted by the arrangers of the mortgaging details to have it readily available if need be.
The idea is that a dwelling is built and the costs of it having been built need to be recouped, plus an amount for the builder, as his just reward for his work. The builder does not want to sell it in return for installment repayments like mortgage repayments; he wants to clear his profit and go to the next building project. Here comes in a middle-man who also expects to clear a profit by taking off the builder’s hands for a tidy sum a dwelling or several. This middle-man may not be the actual mortgage loaner, who may yet be still further down the line of supply to the marketplace.
Thus there are several changes of hands of the dwellings, and at each change of hands there is someone expecting a return on the deal of their exchange. Until there comes a time when the mortgage sum provider gets a ‘buyer’ - a person willing to pay out one third or more of his income monthly in mortgage repayments, and for decades, for the sake of an eventual right to own the dwelling he has resided in for all that time.
Clearly, had the mortgage repayer dwelling in the mortgaged house or home, enough money to buy the dwelling outright in the first place he would do so, and thereby cut out altogether any need for him to repay mortgage installments. And here is the difficulty. In general most working people don’t have, never get, so much money together at a single time for them to be able to stump-up the full sum so as to be able to buy a dwelling outright, and thereby avoid paying mortgage repayments.
And so it follows that other than a de facto much more onerous option of renting, most working people have no choice but to take upon themselves what is to all intents and purposes a huge debt of mortgage repayment, so as to eventually own a home.
The disqualifying factor being always the fact of their not ever having together at one time enough money to buy a dwelling outright. This means that only persons who have large amounts of available money at their disposal are able de facto to hold power of ownership over dwellings and so become able to trade in supplying dwellings upon mortgages.
In short their money allows them, buys them, rights over the dwellings in which people have little choice but to dwell; and rights over the persons dwelling in them. The labour was all provided by the labourers and tradesmen who physically built the dwellings. The upkeep of the dwellings is done by, paid for by, the persons repaying the mortgage installments. Where is the labour done by the loaner party, excepting for a brief and cursory administrative kerfuffle of arranging a mortgage into place? For decades on end the mortgage arrangement is a siphon of money soaking off a large portion monthly of earned income, income which had been earned and paid in return for labour, drawn off into the accounts of the loaners of mortgage sums. Received by these loaners in return for zero labour, and bearing down upon them pretty much zero liability.
In fact only if, or when, the whole economic or financial system begins ailing or struggling to maintain itself as a means of exchange, does any real risk or threat come at the mortgage sum loaners (or at the recipients of rent). Otherwise, when an economy is running within pretty broad limits of stability, little if any threat or risk is palpable.
Rent recipients are also secure so long as the loaners of mortgage sums are also.
Neither rent recipients nor loaners of mortgage sums really supply any labour, and in this sense they can be said to supply nothing of value; indeed the opposite can be said that they siphon value off and take it out of the hands of persons who do labour and who create value by their labour. This action of siphoning off also, by way of inflationary pressures it induces, dilutes severely the sum total of value in a community or a society. The same value of goods and services are made and available for sale; but the range of goods and services available alters, its actual material composition is reconfigured to suit the results of changed demand, now that so much value, and for no returns of new goods and services, has changed hands - this value being the large sums of ‘dead money paid out monthly in rent payments and mortgage repayments.
The guy or gal paying out mortgage repayments for decades might be paralleled by those guys who at the eleventh hour are hired by the Lord to work in his vineyard. Throughout the day they are seeking work, just as mortgage repayers throughout their adult lives are seeking eventually to pay off the loan and own the dwelling at last. The dwelling eventually owned here being in the parable a place in God’s Kingdom.
The guys and gals who are the mortgage sum loaners are perhaps like those who are hired at the earliest hour of the day and who work the whole day in the vineyard. Excepting that instead of them expecting greater payment, and being disappointed, in our topsy turvy profane world these loaners of mortgage sums obtain much, much, more than do the last-comers, and on top of this they also take a large portion of income away from the last-comers, which they see as being their due. The income thus drawn off, which originally had been income as value generated by labour, and paid as money to the mortgage repayer as his wages for his labour, is now value which as income to the mortgage sum loaners thrust them outside of the Kingdom, because it eventually aggregates sufficiently to allow ownership of entry to the Kingdom, of the dwelling, to pass to the mortgage repayers, who go in therefore before those who had been, but are no longer, the first possessors.
Again from another approach the mortgaging of a dwelling under mortgage might be represented in the value of the labour put-in by the hands of the builders of the dwelling. These builders being a parallel to the labourers in the vineyard who worked therein a full day. The last-comers, who had worked just one hour, being in parallel to the dwellers in a mortgage-bearing home, but who instead of them getting sufficient income to be able to buy their dwelling place outright, which sufficient income would be a parallel to that penny day-rate which was reckoned enough to sustain a Judean workman and his family; instead of this they are receiving, as it were, just one hour’s pay, a tenth of a penny, and so as a result are, as would have been the last-come labourers in the vineyard if similarly paid, de facto in deep debit on the bills for their daily needs.
The mortgage repayers then are in deep debt upon the bills of their daily needs, and simply because their ‘day-rates’ comprise a fraction of that needed for them to be able to cover their needs, unlike those actual full day-rates given by the Lord to his last-comers who worked in his vineyard. So it is that the mortgage repayers’ ‘day-rates’ are in real terms woefully insufficient to keep them, from day to day, debt free.
Nearly all the value of their labour, once it has been translated into their money income, is – is it fair to say - sequestered? - by the mortgage sum loaner – or in the case of rent - by the recipients of rent, and for the rent recipients to pay a good amount of their received rent straight to their mortgage sum loaners.
One can begin now to get the picture of how debt might be considered reasonably to be in fact the purloined value, as money wages, generated by and taken directly from labour and labourers of all types, and so rightfully belonging to the persons who made and served, and who supplied the goods and services by means of expending that labour.
The great rallying call placed by Marx and Engels in their The Communist Manifesto is no more itself than a purloining of the drift of The Parable of the Workers in The Vineyard as told by Our Lord Jesus. That fine-sounding Manifesto phrase “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs” is nothing more or less than a reflection of Jesus having said: “From whom much is given much is expected”. And add to this The Lord Jesus having approved the fact of ‘unto this last’, the Lord giving the last-comers a full day rate, just as he gives the same to the labourers who worked the whole day through – and you have not only a blessed, and an extremely practical, practicable, labour theory of value, but you have as well a Christian endorsement that indeed ‘the labourer is worthy of his hire’.
There is a sense in which money is a magnet or a vacuum which is drawing – exemplified in the proverbial phrase “Money comes to money”. Without doubt money is able to be used to draw in more money, and especially this phenomenon occurs when there is available to a person being a drawer-in, a large amount of freely available funds. Use of money is able to draw away from – let us go back to our original contention for the sake of tidiness – the consumer who foots every bill – is able to draw away from the consumer, from the average guy paying rent, and from the ordinary gal paying mortgage repayments, large sums, being a huge portion of individuals’ monthly, weekly, incomes, and into the hands, and for the use of the persons, holding sufficient money sums for them to create a field or vortex of attraction of funds.
Just as the setup for mortgage loaning-out, vis a vis renting-out dwellings, is such that mortgaging terms are skewed and propped-up artificially, so that it happens topsy turvy that a person renting generally pays out more monthly as a bill for his dwelling place, than were he to have means to be able to have mortgaged and be making repayments for the very same dwelling - so too the economic and financial systems as a whole are likewise skewed and propped up artificially so as for them to favour persons who have large freely available assets, and to penalise those who have few. It is this skewed and artificially propped setup which allows this vacuuming to function so effortlessly; whereby it is drawing-in, in a vortex, by a magnetism, and continuously, many more assets, aggregating to large amounts, and these enrich further and out of all proportion, the wealthy, allowing them to possess even more assets
In these ways then, there appears to me to be a good case for saying that debt is created and increased and sustained, and very much so ‘upon the backs of’ and ‘from the fruits of the labours’ of persons who do work, and who labour thus in our vineyards, day by day, creating and supplying goods and services - and thereby creating value via their efforts.