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Duncan Kennedy

excerpted from: Duncan Kennedy, the Limited Equity Coop as a Vehicle for Affordable Housing in a Race and Class Divided Society , 46 Howard Law Journal 85-125, 85, (Fall 2002) (42 Footnotes)

The limited equity cooperative is a form of housing tenure in which shareholder residents manage their buildings, within limits imposed by a charter, and have the right to get back what they have paid for their shares plus an allowance for improvements, if and when they decide to leave. The limited equity cooperative (hereinafter "LEC") is neither a common form, nor one that seems likely to become common in the near future. It is nonetheless a hardy if rare perennial.

. . .

So far, I have outlined a set of complex choices that remain to be made after the developer has opted for the LEC form. In this section, I suggest a larger context of political debate that will condition those choices. The body of literature that seems most relevant is that generated by CLS and CRT. For purposes of bringing this work to bear on the design of a LEC, here is a summary of the most salient choices on the table.

The first issue: The developer could target the subsidy to help the most deserving, competent, and potentially upwardly socially mobile of the poor to move up into the lower middle or middle class. Or the developer could target the subsidy to help the very poor, more likely demoralized and less upwardly mobile (the underclass), to improve or transform their lives at the bottom of the rigid American race/class hierarchy, without imagining that they will assimilate to the mainstream multicultural American middle class model.

The second issue: The developer could choose a model of tenants' rights, professional management, and "juridification" (reliance on courts for resolution of disputes). Or the developer could choose a model of the coop as a collective in which rights and duties are loosely defined (through standards rather than rules) and residents must use the political process of coop governance to accomplish their objectives. Paradoxically, the tenants' rights strategy makes the resident look more like a "normal" property owner than does the "coop as collective" model.

The third issue: The developer could design the coop as part of a community- oriented strategy of mobilization, particularly for defense both against downward spirals and against gentrification. Or the developer could design it merely as a stabilizer, devoted to securing the best interests of the residents, even when those diverge from the interests of the community.

The debates within critical race theory, and between CRT-- and CLS-- identified writers, have a lot of relevance to these issues, and at the same time a certain quality of distance, abstraction, or even denial, at least as it now seems to me.

A. Targeting the LEC Subsidy and the "Talented Tenth" Debate

The highly respectful dialogue between John Calmore and john powell about "ghetto enrichment" vs. "fair housing" is relevant to the first issue, of how to allocate subsidies between different classes of poor people. As part of general advocacy of dispersal of ghetto communities through housing and educational desegregation, powell emphasizes the importance of choice for minorities, including the choice to exit the ghetto, either to a predominantly minority middle class community or to an integrated community. (He is particularly concerned with access to good education.) He is against the notion that the interests of those who would leave if not subjected to racial discrimination in the housing market should be sacrificed to the interests of those who will stay in the ghetto and be worse off as a result of the exit of the better off.

Calmore emphasizes, first, that putting resources into dispersal through fair housing law will mainly benefit the upwardly socially mobile at the expense of the more disadvantaged, and that it will dilute minority political power, dispersing elites and reducing the capacity of ghetto residents to mobilize to protect their interests. This debate gets added urgency from William Julius Wilson's analysis of the "concentration effects" produced by the departure of the black middle class from the ghetto beginning in the 1960's. According to Wilson, the class-segregated communities of the "truly disadvantaged" reproduce a variety of "pathologies," in part, because of the absence of black middle-class role models and black middle-class contacts.

In our context, the issue presents itself somewhat differently. Allocating LEC units to those who need deeper subsidies may reduce the number of subsidized units, for two reasons: by increasing the amount of initial capital subsidy per unit (so that monthly charges are affordable for the target group), given lower income residents, and by increasing the costs or difficulties of LEC resident participation in governance. Moreover, subsidizing the upwardly socially mobile does not remove them from poor neighborhoods, assuming the LECs are sited there (though LEC residency may be the first step on the way out). These factors somewhat reduce the power of the Calmore critique in this context. But here's the rub: the underlying difference of approach is deep enough so that it is unlikely that anyone committed to either position will think that these particularities of the LEC context should tip the balance. The heat of the debate comes from factors that apply fully to LEC's.

First, there is the question whether the LEC subsidies are likely to be wasted if not directed to the upwardly socially mobile. There is no consensus among CRT or CLS writers about the nature of class divisions either within minority communities or within the various white communities. In one view, there are diverse cultures of poverty, so that helping the very poor, whatever their race or ethnicity, emphatically requires more than just non- discrimination and job access. There is a real danger that directing LEC subsidies to the very poor is just to waste them, whereas targeting them by "creaming the pool" or "cherry picking" holds out a much greater chance of success.

The upward mobility strategy is based on recognition that the total amount of subsidies will never be enough to transform the lives of the masses of the poor. The only plausible long run strategy for the poor, in this view, is triage, chipping away, hoping to reduce the size of the poor population at the margin. Eventually there will be few enough of the poor left so that it is plausible to make a large societal investment in "upgrading their human capital," so that they too can be integrated, socially and economically, into the mainstream

The response might be twofold. The main thing the very poor need in order to no longer be poor is to be freed of racial oppression and given access to economic opportunity. The anticipation that they will waste the subsidies is largely based on a stereotype. Moreover, non-profit community-based affordable housing initiatives have a moral obligation to the whole community, not just those capable of exiting and likely to do so. In the long run in which triage reduces the mass of the poor to manageable proportions, today's poor will most certainly be long dead.

Suppose we define success of the subsidy as, at a minimum, the creation of a viable affordable unit whose occupant does not deteriorate the quality of life for his or her neighbors, and on the upside as the use of the subsidy to significantly improve the overall quality of life of the resident. Even if the rate of success is lower for very poor than for upwardly mobile poor residents, the allocation is justified by the obligation of the community, represented by the Land Trust, to do what it can for the most needy, as opposed to those more able to help themselves. (Note the analogy to the argument, mentioned above, for making public housing, housing of last resort for the homeless.)

A second, distinct disagreement that is likely to influence one's view of how to target LEC subsidies as between the upwardly mobile and the very poor has to do with the participation ideal that is one of the motives for any LEC scheme. Some of those committed to participation will see the attempt to combine residents from different subcultures of poverty--the upwardly mobile with the very poor--as analogous to denying them exit from the ghetto through fair housing. Given the collective, interdependent character of neighborhood and building life, the only hope for creating decent environments, characterized by the middle class values and behaviors that the upwardly mobile poor want, is to exclude the very poor. Or at least to restrict their numbers far enough, in the name of the mixed income concept, to avoid concentration effects and let the upwardly mobile have secure control, both of formal apparatuses and of the informal life of the project.

In the other view, this position again relies on stereotypes, and is moreover a typically uptight, black or white, bourgeois phobic reaction to the legitimate particularities (as opposed to pathologies) of the cultures of the different poor communities. Participation is a value for its own sake, but it is also a means to empowerment. The LEC should have it as an affirmative goal to create contexts for personal transformation through the admittedly often draining and unpleasant process of group formation and skills building. To the limited extent we decide to subsidize the very poor, we should try to do it in ways that have at least the possibility of this kind of empowerment built into them. The point is not to help them become in their turn upwardly mobile, but to help them develop the capacities for organization and mobilization they need to defend their interests in a system that systematically oppresses them.

Put in stark terms, the tension here is the same as that which motivated the early W.E.B. Du Bois to formulate his "talented tenth" strategy, aimed to provide high quality educational and other resources to the minority of the black population most likely to be able to participate effectively in mainstream American life. Critical race theory doesn't provide answers, but it poses the question with a richness that was largely absent in legal discussions of race before the 1960's.

It is a mistake, it seems to me, to see this debate as internal to the African American intelligentsia. The issue of whether to skim or to mobilize has divided the white left in the United States, and the left in Europe, for a hundred years (since the recognition of the social problem generated by capitalist economic development). It is worth noting that the moderate leftists, center-leftists, or social democrats, who have won elections and developed legislative reform strategies over the last hundred years, have almost always (not absolutely always) chosen the skimming approach. For the more radical advocates of mobilization, it seems obvious that one reason for this has been their fear that mobilization would jeopardize their place in the larger political/economic capitalist system within which they have real, however limited, access to state power.

B. The Definition of Participation and "The Rights Debate"

The "rights debate" between some CLS writers and some CRT writers is clearly relevant to the "tenants' rights" vs. "coop as a collective" debate. In the rights debate, Patricia Williams and Richard Delgado each argued that minorities, in general, are rightly oriented to legal regimes that provide clear, formally realizable, and easily administrable rules, which define legally enforceable rights. They criticized critical legal theorists like Peter Gabel, Frances Olsen, Mark Tushnet, William Simon and myself, who argued that, at least as a matter of utopian aspiration, leftists should favor moving in the direction of regimes of standards (e.g., good faith, reasonableness) combined with small scale collective governance, and oppose reliance on regimes of judicially enforceable individual rights as the answer.

In my doubtless biased view, Williams and Delgado each ignored the basic CLS claim that rules and standards, juridified individualist and informal collective regimes, respond to Americans' typically contradictory preferences with respect to making ourselves vulnerable to other people. All one can do in situations of internal contradiction of this kind is choose ad hoc compromises, while hoping for transcendence in the long run. In the LEC context, for example, it doesn't make sense to argue that minorities or people of color are intrinsically more favorable to and better served by regimes of judicially enforceable rules defining individual rights along with professional management and juridification. It would make no more sense to argue, as Delgado's position suggested, that as between people of color formality is dispensable because of the vibrant community that characterizes their interactions.

Whatever may be the case when we are discussing relations between powerless minorities and powerful majorities (e.g., police/suspect, case worker/welfare recipient, or landlord/tenant interactions), as soon as we take up the design of a LEC in which the residents are all poor and the majority of them are likely to be people of color, it is plausible that if we polled them they would split. Some would strongly favor the rules/individualism model, and others the opposite.

As a preliminary matter, but only as that, as we will see shortly, it seems that the "tenants' rights" approach resonates with the upward social mobility strategy. It makes the residents look more like owners than the "coop as collective" model, and it promises them protection for their individual interests against the possible arbitrariness of the LEC's governance structure, including both the Coop Board and the Land Trust. Well-defined rules, professional management, and juridification protect the resident's investment of hard earned savings in the unit, and provide independence vis vis the life style choices and other preferences of fellow residents, while minimizing the amount of time and effort that have to be devoted to running things. Time and effort better devoted to getting ahead as best one can in the larger economic and social system.

On the other side, the "coop as collective" model resonates with the idea that the coop is, first, part of a community whose members recognize their inter-dependence and a shared culture forged in adversity, not just a collection of atomized individuals. Second, it resonates with a strategy of mobilization in which new forms of group living promise to raise consciousness and provide a base for action in and of the community.

Since the conflicts provoked by the Community Action Programs of the Johnson Administration, with their requirement of maximum feasible participation of the poor, there has been, as far as I can tell, a deep split among activists and intellectuals interested in these matters over how to tilt, and how far, toward one approach or the other. To one side, it looks as though the participation ideal is utopian, often destructive of the very values it espouses, and vulnerable to the evils of elitist manipulation by professionals skilled at bureaucratizing, of chaos when the limited organizational and managerial abilities of the poor are over-strained, and of demagoguery and internal abuse when bad actors manage to seize the vulnerable procedures that supposedly guarantee participation.

To the other side, professional management companies and courts seem likely to be hostile to the participatory aspirations of the LEC, and to collaborate with those residents who want to turn it into nothing more than another form of low-income housing. To my mind, the most interesting, and the richest in description, of the work on this topic is Lucie White's.

Speaking, again, realistically, the people who will decide this will be those with the power to condition the subsidies that make the LEC attractive, and those who develop the LEC. I don't think they can plausibly rely on any supposed generic preference of people of color for one kind of solution or the other. Moreover, I do not think it is plausible to take either solution to its logical extreme. In short, I think the decision makers, whether they are white or black or Latino, whether they have authentic ghetto roots or hereditary elite status in their respective communities, will have to make up their own minds based on their values and their politics, without being able to appeal to notions either of community or of identity to solve the problem for them.

C. The LEC as Strategic Actor vs. Resident Interest Protector

The strategic actor idea has all the ambiguity of other strategies based on the idea of mobilization. It is risky, it presupposes a common interest beyond the building and also presupposes that the Land Trust will decide when to pursue that interest, and it smacks of elitism or paternalism. The Land Trust, however formally representative of the community, is almost certain to be dominated by well-educated professionals rather than by the disadvantaged residents and community members in whose interests it will claim to be choosing and executing a strategy.

On the other hand, defining itself as the representative of the residents, and disregarding the interests of the community as a whole, risks playing into a downward spiral, hurting the residents themselves over the long run. In an upward spiral situation, maximizing the residents' interests means collaborating in gentrification, with possibly disastrous displacement effects for the larger constituency that is supposed to benefit from affordable housing initiatives.

The strategic actor conception will make it hard for residents to know where they stand, because it relies on situational good judgment rather than on rules, and it provides no final arbiter to which residents can appeal against what they think is a misguided strategic decision. It conceives the Land Trust as part of a community-oriented strategy rather than part of an individual rights-creation strategy, and assumes that proactive intervention, as opposed to passive minimizing of resident losses, is desirable in itself. It takes the goal of community responsibility or stewardship much more seriously than does the opposite conception.

D. The Deeper Political Conflict Underlying the Three Debates

As I have presented them so far, it seems obvious that the upward mobility approach aligns loosely with the "tenants' rights" and "residents' interests" approaches to internal governance and neighborhood role. The notions of mobilizing the very poor, of the "coop as a collective," and of the neighborhood strategic actor also seem mutually supportive. In this section, I speculate that this alignment derives from the existence of a deeper level of division within CRT and CLS writings, between conflicting or contradictory ideas about what a progressive social policy looks like in a situation of race and class stratification in a modern post-industrial economy.

The underlying, not very much theorized conflict would be, to my mind, between:

Attitude I: The goal of racial liberation is to eliminate discrimination, both its present diffuse, pervasive reality, and its historical effects. The problem is that a racist system treats similar individuals differently, and oppresses people as group members. The solution is to put minorities in the position they would have been in if they had operated under the same legal regime as the majority operated under, both the formal law in the books and the informal law in action. Beside anti-discrimination, the two clear implications are affirmative action in employment and education, and reparations. Reparations, in turn, mean both reparations for slavery, and reparations for the large economic benefit that whites as a group have derived at the expense of blacks from the operation of the system according to racist rules of the economic game. This might be described as the left liberal strand in critical race theory.

It is not at all classically liberal, because it is based on the ideas that race is a group phenomenon, and that there is group responsibility of whites to blacks based on the historical and present collective implication of whites in the oppression of blacks. It is also race conscious rather than color blind, and it is neither intrinsically assimilatonist (in Cornel West's sense) nor "integrationist." Demanding non-discrimination, affirmative action, and reparations is in fact consistent with highly valuing black culture, and with resisting the dispersal of black residential communities, the dissolution of black enterprises, and a widespread practice of racial intermarriage. (It is also consistent with the opposite, assimilationist and integrationist approaches.)

But it is liberal in that it is based on applying to the white community the standards of justice and injustice, legality and illegality, that have characterized the white community's own dominant internal ideology. It treats the rules of the game in the white community, which combine a property and contract regime with limited government intervention through tax and transfer to redistribute in favor of the poor, as just. Or at least as sufficiently just so that we can use the failure to live up to the standards of modern liberalism as a way to measure wrongs to blacks, both the wrong of slavery and the wrong of discrimination within the post-slavery economy and society. And it treats the rules of the game as sufficiently just so that the white losers in the game played according to these rules have no claim of injustice that they can set off against or oppose to the minority claim that whites are collectively responsible to blacks. There is no suggestion that poor whites have claims that are close enough to those of blacks as a group to form the basis of an alliance.

Moreover, this first approach is liberal in that it embraces dominant liberal ideals with respect to upward social mobility, meritocracy, ostensible preference for rules over standards, devotion to legally enforceable, justiciable rights, professionalism, and, finally, intense distrust of collectivism and mobilization.

Attitude II: A quite different approach would say that the rules that apply within the white community have the problem that they generate radical injustice within the white community. If we imagine that the same rules had applied to blacks, there might very well have emerged an even more radically unjust, hierarchical class division within the black community than actually exists. That is, differences among blacks in education, income, wealth, and employment might well be even more stark than they now are. Moreover, leveling the playing field through a combination of anti-discrimination, affirmative action, and reparations today might well have the effect of accentuating the current divisions within the black community. Unless, that is, the reparations were used self-consciously to develop programs that would help minority communities in ways that undermine rather than accentuating their internal cultural differences and economic inequalities. This might be described as the radical strand in critical race theory.

For the radical strand, the ideal is to forge minority communities that resist collectively, rather than by acquiring individual entitlements defined in the terms of the mainstream. The ideal is to base resistance on a revaluation of the cultures that developed in oppressed communities in response to oppression, and to link resistance to a wider program of transformation of the whole political/economic modern capitalist system within which the different resisting communities are embedded.

Each attitude has serious internal problems. For the left liberal attitude, there is the problem that the ideal of joining the system by embracing mainstream ideals (not including color blindness or integrationism, as explained above) points in two directions. It favors an "upward mobility" + "tenants' rights" + "residents' interests" model in many situations, for relatively obvious reasons. But there are other situations in which upward social mobility, security of person and property, and neighborhood quality seem to depend on abandoning that perspective for the opposite one.

As we have seen, individual tenants' rights may empower the bad actors in the building, permitting them to jeopardize everyone's interest in the payment of the group mortgage and shielding anti-social behavior. In this situation, LEC shareholders firmly in the upwardly socially mobile camp may find themselves switching to an informalist collective attitude. Likewise, when it seems that the neighborhood prisoner's dilemma will create incentives for everyone to bail out to avoid being the last person, caught with the bag of declining property values in a downward spiraling neighborhood, the neighborhood strategic actor concept may seem the only hope.

That this is the case is interestingly illustrated by the emergence of tough love anti-due process thinking, first in Boston in the debates about the legitimacy of expedited eviction procedures, and about the eviction of residents held responsible for acts of family members, in the context of tenant management initiatives in public housing. More recently it has resurfaced in the writings of Tracey Meares and Dan Kahan on Chicago public housing initiatives that restrict due process rights in order to fight criminal and specifically gang dominance in public housing. In these cases, there is intense debate about what residents really want, and neither side can plausibly claim to speak for the community.

For the more radical attitude, the problem is the vague and utopian character of the aspiration to find ways out of what seems the overwhelming stability and power of the dominant system. First, there is the raw power of force that supports the system. Second, there is the more subtle, but perhaps more important ideological hegemony that it has achieved for the upwardly mobile members of oppressed communities, that is, for the very elites that seem indispensable for successful mobilization of oppressed groups seen as collectivities. But even if there were more of a will, the way is not clear. In short, what exactly does it mean to ask that resources made available either as reparations or as part of the general tax and transfer systems of the welfare state should alleviate rather than exacerbate internal class differences and promote the possibility of mass mobilization?

The two attitudes outlined are not mutually exclusive. It is not necessary to choose between them. Most people seem to participate to some extent in both. It is possible to compromise between their seemingly inexorable demands. More, it seems to me that it is not only possible, but necessary and desirable to compromise them as soon as one is speaking of a concrete policy initiative like the LEC, given the internal problems of each. The more radical attitude is my own, but I definitely do not hold it definitely. I see it as transcending the left liberal attitude, but as requiring constant revision, limitation and modification in the left liberal direction in the face of the actual circumstances.

So for any particular LEC proposal, I would want to go as far as possible in the more radical direction, but be willing to draw back in the direction of upward mobility, "tenants' rights," and "residents' interests" to the extent the situation demanded it. In other words, teasing out the deeper conflicts that play out in designing any particular LEC doesn't solve those conflicts, or indicate unequivocally what LEC design is best. What it does is provide orientations, arguments, and larger understandings within which to choose more intelligently.


By way of a conclusion, it may be useful to return to the question: Why LECs, rather than subsidized non-profit rental or home ownership opportunities? I answered above that the shareholders likely choose the LEC because the developer offers it at a subsidized price. The donors and the non-profit developer choose it for its mix of long term affordability, participation, and community responsibility features. In the design of the details, these values have to be traded off over and over again, and each value turns out to be open to a variety of interpretations, or to comprise sub-goals that must be traded off as well.

I approached this process of tradeoff in a pragmatic way, treating the LEC in general, and the specific form chosen by the designer, as solutions to the practical problem of what to do with available subsidies for low-income housing. The choices made are inevitably influenced by a context that includes our current lopsided maldistribution of income, our class and race system, our social problems, and the dim prospects for their substantial amelioration in the near future. In this specific context, the objections to the LEC form that I canvassed in Part I above seem weak, and the case for a much-expanded LEC sector quite strong.

It is worth asking, and trying very briefly to answer, a somewhat different question: Does the LEC form represent an ideal? Is it the housing tenure form that we would prefer in an imagined utopian future society? The conventional mainstream utopia is one in which people who work hard can, if they want to, attain single-family home ownership. How does the development of a LEC sector relate to that project?

In the discussion thus far, it was easy for me to ignore my own housing preferences and choices. The role I adopted was that of the policy analyst hoping to clarify the choices facing the designer of LECs for today's world. Home ownership is expensive, and would allocate the whole subsidy to the first occupant; subsidized rental comes with minimal incentives to improve, and no participation rights; the LEC seems a good compromise. It is irrelevant that I am the co-owner occupant (with my wife) of a single-family house in an urban neighborhood, have the great bulk of my savings tied up in equity in that house, that it has increased greatly in value since we bought it, and that we would probably choose condo over either rental or coop tenure, if they were comparably priced and home ownership not an option.

When we shift the discussion, from choosing the beneficiaries and the form of subsidies for the poor in our existing society, to utopia, these personal choices become relevant. My ideas about utopian housing arrangements are influenced by my personal situation, although my actual choices have been no less contextually determined than the policies for the poor we have been discussing thus far. In designing a utopia, one is much freer than one is in the real world, to try to implement a particular value orientation. For me, this would be an orientation to spiritual and cultural development, and to communal self-realization, over economic betterment, once a culturally relative minimum level is achieved. It is a bias against materialism, and also against the values of competitive capitalist acquisition as a way of life.

I am speaking of a general tilt rather than anything as coherent, demanding, or specifiable in detail as a philosophy. But the bias suggests an attitude toward one's housing, and toward the design of utopian housing schemes for society as a whole. It suggests that it is important to secure housing minima, and then to encourage the pleasures people can derive from improving the use value of their housing, and from participating in collective decision making about the building or the neighborhood where they live. It suggests less concern (than a person with a different bias would feel--not no concern) for making sure that residential housing is available as a vehicle for conspicuous consumption and speculative investment, and less concern for making sure that people leave one other alone within their respective spheres of right.

Of course these are by no means universally accepted values, but we are talking about utopia, not revolution. They are not, contrary to what is often said, particularly elite or elitist goals, since they are common, to a greater or lesser degree, to the world's mass religions, as well as to a part of the secular intelligentsia worldwide. LECs might be a useful element, though only an element, of a utopian scheme that attempted to realize these values more fully than they would be realized in the more mainstream utopia of universal single-family home ownership, graduated in quality, and spatially segregated according to income and class.

The creation of a right to housing, and decommodification, are the two most familiar alternative ideas in this area. The right to housing usually means an entitlement, vis vis the state or federal government, to a minimum of shelter, regardless of ability to pay and behavioral suitability. It is not a utopian idea, except in the sense that we are a long way from realizing it, since it proposes a minimum, rather than a housing ideal. Decommodification, on the other hand, is utopian: it proposes that, in a good society, the group (not necessarily a large group or a central government, but necessarily some local or more remote collectivity) would plan the community, design, construct, and maintain its housing stock, and allocate it on the basis of need. You could have a right to shelter in a decommodified system, or not.

In such a scheme, it would make sense that participants were shareholders in LECs. The form we have been discussing, particularized through all those detailed choices in design, would allow different groups and sub- groups to work out their own versions of use value, participation, and community responsibility (and of conspicuous consumption, through the definition of goldplating restrictions). We could define the right to housing as a universal right to participate as a shareholder, with the collective financing the whole initial payment, if necessary. The LEC form would give the members possessory and participation rights in whatever housing the collective allocated to them according to need. I can easily imagine voting that LECs be the main form of tenure in the decommodified sector (though, of course, there would be all kinds of special needs requiring other forms as well).

In my utopian version, however, the decommodified LEC sector would co-exist with a commodified housing sector, to which people could resort if they wanted to spend surplus income on housing (in accord, of course, with the egalitarian, communitarian, and environmental requirements of the utopia in question). They might want to consume more than what was allocated to them on the basis of need, or to live in communities designed and governed according to principles different from those animating the collectively built community. They might also want to use their private residences to gamble, speculate, or empire-build in the real estate market. They might even create a fully private LEC sector. The commodified sector would serve not just freedom of choice, but also the orientation to play, creativity, and rebellion that complements the more sober orientation served by the LEC sector.

Revisiting my own preferences, and trying to get a sense of what I would prefer in my own utopia, I think it would depend on the historically contingent evolution of its different parts, and that my preferences might very well vary from time to time. But I would want to spend at least some substantial time on the LEC side, and maybe all my time. So there is a utopian as well as a pragmatic, utilitarian argument for LECs, at least to my mind, and it doubtless influences those of us who favor this form as a vehicle for affordable housing under our present far-from-utopian circumstances.

[a1]. Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School. In memory of Gary Bellow with many thanks to Jeanne Charn.

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