The second would be a state-funded programme to build 100,000 houses a year, which would provide homes for those who need them and create 50,000 jobs in the construction industry.

Is John Cruddas seriously trying to say that each house built requires 6 man months of labour?

12 thoughts on “Eh?”

  1. Where does the article say “each house built requires 6 man months of labour”

    Tim adds: If 50,000 people can build 100,000 houses a year…well, you do the maths

  2. This must be the ‘smart public spending’ mentioned earlier. By spending the money very efficiently,we get lots of new houses while creating very few jobs…er…

  3. Having had a house built a few years ago, the figure does not sound unreasonable to me. Do you think it is to much or to little?

  4. Surely it depends on who is comissioning and managing the project doesn’t it?

    If a private contractor is building a house it will take X man months. If the same project is run from the public sector, it takes 5X man months, and the gas comes out of the hot water tap.


  5. To second what Bill W says, my neighbour took about a year to build a decent sized house, I’d guess there were on average three or four blokes on the site. That makes a lot of man months.

  6. The amount of labour required is not even well defined. The materials are made with labour.

    Building a house “requires” all the labour ever conducted on Earth upto the time of the house’s completion.

  7. Hariet Harwoman won’t like all this talk about man months. Wot about the wimmin?

    We already have plenty of homes. There are hundreds of thousands of them stood empty. Some old, some brand spanking new.

    What needs to come to an end is the policies that encourage families to separate asap (eg young women having kids to get council homes, benefits that pay more if a couple with children live apart). That and unchecked immigration were what drove the percieved demand for housing. A demand that, perhaps strangely, has been the need for about 3 million more homes within the next 10 years, from almost the beginning of this Labour Government. The target doesn’t change but the deadline does.

    If the building trade and banks swallowed this hollow demand hook line and sinker it’s no wonder the housing market got so askew from reasonableness.

  8. Six man-months sounds about right to me.

    It took me eighteen months in all, with a few people helping at various times, and some stoppages caused by poor procurement practices (translation – stuff I forgot to order in time).

    But it’s quite a big house. So yeah, that’s a reasonable figure.

    Unless of course these are the well-known “mythical” man-months so beloved of the software business.

  9. Idle Pen Pusher:

    In only one sense is the boom-and-bust cycle “natural” or inevitable: under the prevailing regime of government control over monetary quantity, which, in itself, is a delusional attempt to bring about a lower rate of interest than would otherwise prevail (in the absence of such control), i.e., the “natural” rate.
    Popular opinion associates a regime of currency increases with rises in business activity, wages, and prices and shuns the prospect of their reversal.

    However, the two (inflation and delation) are not merely mirror images; each has its own characteristics. While it is true that inflation encourages business activity and investment and that deflation does the reverse, there is an important economic distinction between the two.

    Inflation encourages investment, including in “fixed” assets, essentially by falsifying the interest costs associated with such investment, thus making such project(s) appear profitable (which they would not under the interest rate prevailing prior to the expansion). But, when the inevitable correction occurs, some (though not all) of the mistaken investments will prove to have been made into assets which have no “convertibility” whatever: no price, no matter how low, at which they may be sold (some not even at scrap). Those items have been subtracted from whatever is the world’s stock of capital: everybody’s gotten poorer by the total of such investments.

    The same cannot be said about deflation. It also rearranges from whatever would have been the “proper” allocation of capital stock to prospective projects. Most obviously, it would have precluded investments which would have been feasible under inflationary conditions (or even those of “normalcy”). But, at conclusion and return to some more normal condition, all of the capital stock previously existing will still be there for appropriate utilization under a more realistic monetary condition.

    But I do not write to point out the advantages of deflation over inflation. Both will occur (quite as “naturally” as you maintain) in any regime in which the quantity of currency is subject to manipulation by authority. Deflation, however, is not inevitable in the artificially-induced cycle. The authority, when inflation seems “out of hand,” always have a second “choice”: that of hyperinflation and total breakdown of the monetary system (and, possibly, of thye civil society). And, though I’ve called this a “choice,” I’d further suggest that, at some indefinable point, authority loses whatever choice it once had. The only proper course (it would seem to me, in a polity committed to “equality before the law”) would have been to refrain from inflation (and the entire regime of fractional-reserve central banking) in the first place.

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