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Volume 31 • Number 1

January 2017



 

 

Gentrification as Injustice: A Relational Egalitarian Approach to Urban Housing


by Tyler Zimmer


This paper focuses on the nature of the landlord/tenant relationship in uncontrolled rental housing markets. I argue that relational egalitarianism—the view that our social and political relations to one another ought not involve arbitrary power asymmetries—gives us moral reasons to criticize this relationship. In particular, I try to show that landlord/tenant relationships involve objectionable forms of economic subordination—more specifically, relations that involve exploitation and marginalization—as well as political inequality. I conclude the paper with some reflections on policy solutions to the problems I identify. Contrary to the consensus among most economists and government officials, not to mention landlords, I maintain that rent control should be seen as a legitimate and effective tool—among others—for curbing the power of landlords and protecting tenants.


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ISSN: 2152-0542