Listening to Picturing a Meltdown, an interview with two of the authors of a comic-style book explaining what led to our economic crisis, I realized that in addition to marriage as the foundation of society, there is another myth that claims to be oh, so important to our freedom: Home ownership. It has a lot of similarities and it is tied very strongly to marriage and the nuclear family. Just like marriage, home ownership is seen as a status symbol: I own a home, therefore I am an adult. It is the next step in our becoming adults, right after marriage (or maybe slightly before). Home ownership is supported by the government through large tax-breaks that those of us who rent don’t get. Yet, just like marriage, it has devastating consequences to our society and looking at those, it is mind-boggling why any society would support it. And I am not even talking about Marxian arguments against ownership. Home ownership is behind urban sprawl. It is behind long commutes and too little time in the home or with that spouse and those children that are supposedly signs of our adulthood. It is behind isolation. In short, it is behind the destruction of our environment and the decrease of social capital (no, not as the only thing but certainly an important factor). And home ownership is at the center of the economic collapse (together with greed). Just like in the case of marriage, though, those negative consequences are swept under the rug. Instead we portray people who don’t buy homes as immature, not really part of society, economically disadvantaged, and/or afraid of commitment (notice the similarities to singlism!). We are stigmatized instead of those who want their own large home (with a large garage for the large car). Instead of encouraging such short-sightedness, a government that is interested in the long-term well-being of its citizens would support different ways of living – living with a smaller foot-print. It would encourage employers to offer jobs closer to home so that people could walk or bike to work instead of wasting hours during commutes. Of course, that presumes that we start thinking about the long-term consequences of our actions and not (only) about our short-term gain.