We live in a society where property is king. Without owning property yourself, you become subject to exploitation by the owners of capital through rent payments, which you can only escape by either living with family, buying property, or becoming a member of the un-housed population. However, once you purchase property (your first home for example), you typically have to take on so much financial debt (i.e., a mortgage), that now you are further bound to the capitalist system because you need to stay employed to earn a wage in order to pay off your new home — a home which you purchased to avoid paying rent to somebody else.
If you don’t own your own home, then you’re subject to exploitation by property owners, yet when you do own your home, you put yourself at the risk of greater exploitation by your employers who know that you cannot afford to walk out on your job (no matter how shitty it might be), because you need their money to pay off your mortgage debt.
The burden of this capitalist trap could be significantly eased through the implementation of policies like a guaranteed universal basic income (UBI), which could alleviate the cost of rent payments to make renting a more viable long-term alternative for people who don’t want to get into owning property themselves (although this would mean that government money would go straight back into the pockets of landlords through rent payments — further accumulating wealth in the hands of the few).
A UBI would also significantly reduce the power that employers have over their employees, because workers would not be as fearful about standing up against poor working conditions or walking away from exploitative jobs if they had a financial safety net to protect them. I assume that many people must feel trapped at their place of work, solely for the reason that they have to make the mortgage payments on their home, therefore they cannot afford the financial burden of switching career paths, so they keep working even though they are unhappy.
I personally have no desire to own property myself. I don’t want to own my own home, because when I’m dead, it won’t matter what material possessions I owned while I was alive. I would love to have a place that I could call home while I exist on this earth, which could provide myself and my family a sense of security and a space to make memories, and I also wish everybody else had this opportunity as well. Having a safe space shouldn’t be a luxury, and I despise the fact that my only realistic option for ever achieving that sense of security and stability is to commit to this frustrating capitalist system where I need to take on debt and then labour for the rest of my life to ensure I have a roof over my head that can’t be taken away from me.
I am frustrated with the lack of available options for how people get to live their lives. It feels like I’m being forced to play some dumb schoolyard game against my will and some people already have a head start. I didn’t choose to be born into this world, but since I exist, I’m now forced to play by rules that I don’t agree with. Capitalism built its reputation as being a beacon of freedom for the world, but it’s really just the freedom to purchase what’s available on the market, I don’t have the freedom to live my life differently.
I feel betrayed because we were lied to in school when they taught us that capitalism and democracy go hand in hand, yet neoliberal capitalism is now the greatest threat to democracy on this planet and seems to be more commonly associated with fascism, not freedom. My voice does not carry the same weight in our political system as business or property owners, and that means that my needs aren’t treated with the same urgency or respect, how is that truly democratic? And what’s really disheartening is that every day working class people don’t have the time to put up a fight about all this nonsense since they are too preoccupied with putting food on the table and paying their damn bills.