Twas the night before Christmas, and inside his house
The homedebtor was sitting clicking his mouse
He’d been using the house as his own ATM
But the bank had just told him that this had to end
Asking for reasons on the internet boards
He got only insults from the bearish hordes
Then a knock on the door got his attention
“Let me in” a voice said, “I can answer your question”
He opened the door and was suprised to find
A man from the past, of most renowned mind
“Your house is only a place to live
Why do you think it has more to give?
A sheep bears wool, a cow bears milk
The lowly worm gives forth silk
But your house produces nothing to sell
It can’t make you rich, hear me well”
The homedebtor pondered this simple lesson
From the father of the dismal profession
And the man spoke out as he walked from sight
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night”
“The stock that is laid out in a house, if it is to be the dwelling-house of the proprietor, ceases from that moment to serve in the function of a capital, or to afford any revenue to its owner. A dwelling-house, as such, contributes nothing to the revenue of its inhabitant; and though it is, no doubt, extremely useful to him, it is as his clothes and household furniture are useful to him, which, however, makes a part of his expence, and not of his revenue.
If it is to be let to a tenant for rent, as the house itself can produce nothing, the tenant must always pay the rent out of some other revenue which he derives either from labour, or stock, or land. Though a house, therefore, may yield a revenue to its proprietor, and thereby serve in the function of a capital to him, it cannot yield any to the public, nor serve in the function of a capital to it, and the revenue of the whole body of the people can never be in the smallest degree increased by it.”
- Adam Smith, “The Wealth of Nations”, 1776
Merry Christmas everyone.