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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dog Poop Controversy

This story was widely cited. A homeowners' association had a problem with dog poop. Some dog owners weren't cleaning up after their dog.

The homeowners' association changed the rules. Now, they are requiring dog owners to get a DNA test for their dog. The uncleaned dog poop will be tested and matched to a dog.

Some dog owners objected to the new rule. However, the homeowners' association contract allows the rules to be changed by a majority vote.

Some pro-State trolls say "HAHAHA!! This proves that libertarianism doesn't work! The homeowners' association contract was freely signed. Those dog owners deserve what they got!"

Actually, this proves that democracy doesn't work. A non-dog-owning majority was able to impose restrictions/taxes on a dog-owning minority.

If your homeowners' association contract specifies "Rules are determined by a majority vote.", then you really don't own your home. What prevents the majority from imposing rules that restrict your freedom?

Consider an extreme example. The real estate developer sells 49% of the units, and keeps the remaining 51%. Now, the real estate developer can impose whatever rules he wants. The real estate developer can hire his idiot relatives at high salaries, and pass the cost on to the other homeowners via a "majority vote".

Actually, you don't even need 51% of the votes to control the homeowners' association. You might be able to get control with 20%-30%, because most residents don't care or won't vote intelligently.

That's almost exactly how the elections work in the USA. There's a mainstream media monopoly. There are laws restricting what names are listed on the ballot. In effect, a handful of insiders control the government. The USA election system is the functional equivalent of the homeowners' association where one person owns 51% of the votes.

How can the problem be fixed? One possibility is to give people the "right of secession", where they can withdraw from the homeowners' association.

Another possibility is "The rules may only be changed via a unanimous vote." That would prevent the majority from stealing from the minority. In that case, the rules would have to be carefully written ahead of time.

For example, one rule could be "The monthly maintenance fee is capped at one ounce of gold per month." If the fee were capped at $1200/month, that would be a problem when inflation erodes the value of the fee. With a gold-denominated maintenance fee, then the homeowner is protected against the possibility of the maintenance fee getting jacked up, but the inflation adjustment should provide for future expenses.

My conclusion is "You'd have to be stupid to sign a homeowners' association contract where the rules can be changed via a majority vote. There would be no way to prevent the majority from stealing from the minority."

In a really free market, more reasonable homeowner contracts would be normal. If I were the judge in a free market court, it would be a tough problem, how to handle existing stupid homeowners' association contracts.

This example does not prove "Libertarianism and really free markets don't work!" It's actually an example of "Democracy doesn't work!" The "social contract" is flawed the same way most homeowners' association contracts are flawed. By voting, the majority may steal from the minority.

I have some limited choice about where I live. I can avoid stupid homeowners' associations. However, all governments impose property taxes and other laws restricting what you can do on your property.

I don't have the freedom to object to the "social contract". It's like the world is controlled by a handful of abusive homeowners' associations. Via international treaties, they all agreed to offer lousy conditions to residents, because that maximizes the profits of insiders.

The fact that there's *LOTS* of real estate, prevents any homeowners' association from being too abusive. There are many more real estate choices than there are government choices, which prevents landlords from being too abusive. However, you need to read the fine print before buying! I wouldn't buy from a homeowners' association, condo, or co-op. There's the risk that the monthly maintenance fee could be jacked up. There's the risk of stupid new rules being passed at any time.

All taxation is theft. A majority vote doesn't legitimize taxation/theft/government. Whether it's on a small scale or large scale, all monopolistic majority-vote governments lead to evil. If voting legitimizes laws, then there always will be situations where the majority steals from the minority.


Scott said...

HOAs are stupid and anyone who buys property in one is an idiot who chooses to live in a police state when better options are available.

Once someone says they are going to demand a DNA test of your dog's shit, you should realize you are dealing with a crazy homeless person.

if that person instead has some power over you that you have given them, you are really dumb and have failed at life.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that if it isn't housing associations, it will just be another sort of clown that will shake you down.

You can't avoid everything.

It is difficult to get affordable housing in a decent time frame near transport links and where you work.

I've heard of worst things. Like a soldier's wife who owed a few hundred dollars to, I think, a housing association. The wife didn't open the debt letters because she was afraid it would be a letter about her husband dying in battle. So the debt letters lay unopened and the nasty, heartless, sick clowns took their housing away just for a lousy few hundred dollar debt.

Anonymous said...

This is evil "laws restricting what names are listed on the ballot". Why there should be any restrictions at all? Why should not the public be allowed to decide whom to elect? Isn't under truly democratic regime people can elect anybody, even Saddam Hussein, if they desire to do so?

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