Wednesday, August 07, 2013

proud of being a squatter

“What we all want is to live with dignity. This means for me to able to be proud of who I am – a slum dweller.”

Those are the words of Bright Dzila, a resident of Old Fadama, the largest shantytown in Accra.
Think Africa Press offers a sympathetic account of the decade-long fight this neighborhood of 80,000 people alongside the Odaw River and the Korle Lagoon has been waging to stave off eviction and be allowed to live in freedom and dignity.


David Stocker said...


"These slum dwellers now live in a state of permanent insecurity, which hampers meaningful attempts to improve their living conditions"

That's why they need property rights. I secure property right helps keep the property from being taken by an individual or a group of individuals (a government). It is government that "Carried to its logical conclusion, ... means that some have the right to prevent others from living."

rn said...

Property rights are not necessary, David. A guarantee people in Old Fadama won't be summarily evicted would work just fine.

David Stocker said...

Imjust wondered if you have looked at this study by Janice Pearlman on buying and selling real,estate in the favelas ( )

The simplest definition of property rights is the following:

the right to use the good
the right to earn income from the good
the right to transfer the good to others
the right to enforcement of property rights.

I see all of these present in her study. The only thing lacking is government sanction. I am an anarchist so I see no need for government sanction. The are self organizing to create a private by community recognized deed. There biggest problem is the threat of eviction and therefore discounted value for their property.

What makes this different from your guarantee system? My system is enforced by the community itself while yours depends on those not connected with the favela


melalessa, più o meno said...

Property right means that if you are poor and your only good is your house, in case you need to pay a rent for your children school or a medical operation for your relative, probably you will choose to sell your only good ("earn income from the good") and be squatter again, maybe somewhere else, losing your fundamental right to have a proper house. Property is not the answer for people living in poverty, as squatters very often - even if not always - are.

David Stocker said...

How would they be better off without owning a asset? If they had an asset they could also start a business with it. In effect you are saying that it is better to not have an asset because you may need to sell that asset and then be without an asset.

A just as likely scenario would be that the government would take their property and make them a squatter again.