In 20th century America, four major trends drove real estate development. To simplify, they are:
- Fiat mortgage credit
- Interstate highways and other government infrastructure like electricity
- Civil Rights-related ethnic migration
- The occult reaction against Civil Rights (‘Drug War’ / ‘Giuliani Time’) that re-settled formerly chaotic cities.
All of these trends are unraveling, and even reversing, as I write this. You can read more about the infrastructure issue in the review of a book on that topic that I wrote earlier last year.
As the reaction against Civil Rights crumbles due to financial, moral, and political issues, there must be someone to rush in to the vacuum.
It is not so much that society will collapse because of a lack of means to hold itself together, but rather that it will crumble owing to a lack of courage (both physical and intellectual) to prevent that from happening.
The country at large will continue to lose its economic vitality and social stability in an inexorable fashion. Economics involves free exchange, rather than exchange under compulsion, and as exchange under compulsion crowds out free exchange, the economy must shrink, and property must become less secure overall.
It would not surprise me if we were to see a return to the security norm, which is islands of order surrounded by vast areas in which bandits can attack travelers with impunity. While it will take some time for this reversion to happen, it seems to me to be a likely speculation, an easy bet to make and to win on.
Providing security will require some mixture of obligatory militia and private (as opposed to nation-state) professional security. The value of the real estate under protection will grow to the extent that it is better-protected at a lower price than the alternatives.
We have already seen, overseas, that the Federal government is more than willing to cede its monopoly on logistics and high-value security operations to mercenaries and other firms that can do the job better at a lower price. There is more pragmatism at the Pentagon than most are willing to give it credit for.
The reason is less intellectual and more, perhaps, based on some mixture of cowardice and bean-counting. Elites know that the public security forces are unreliable. When they have a choice, they hire mercenaries. Given that this is the case, it will be harder to prevent the lower social orders (the remnants of the middle class, non-elite corporations) from doing the same to protect themselves and their holdings.
The enormous prison systems created in a vain hope to ‘reform’ the bastards of the world will crumble and fade, because they have grown far past the ability of the host society to maintain. On a global scale, the West can’t afford to bear the burdens of the Rest while reproducing itself.
Something must give, and it will.