Ireland, Rent, and the Theologies of Real Estate
AbstractIn this paper, taking the Irish economic crash of 2008 as the starting point, a theological response to real estate speculation is considered. By analysing the ways in which property development was a key factor in the collapse of the Irish economy, the flaws of such markets in crisis are exposed. Yet ethical concerns persist even when real estate markets are stable. Drawing on the Christian tradition around usury, an argument is made that an appropriate ecclesial reaction to the problems created by economies largely driven by real estate speculation involves developing alternative modes of conceiving land and economy. By drawing on the Vineyard song of Isaiah 5, a claim is made that faithful Christian practice demands a response of economic experimentation around property driven by a telos other than profit.
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