We say, here are human beings, united in a society. All feel the need of living in healthy houses. The savage’s hut no longer satisfies them; they require a more or less comfortable solid shelter. The question is, then: whether, man’s capacity for production being given, every man can have a house of his own? and what is hindering him from having it?
And we are soon convinced that every family in Europe could perfectly well have a comfortable house, such as are built in England, in Belgium, or in Pullman City, or else an equivalent set of rooms. A certain number of days’ work would suffice to build a pretty little airy house, well fitted up and lighted by gas.
But nine-tenths of Europeans have never possessed a healthy house, because at all times common people have had to work day after day to satisfy the needs of their rulers, and have never had the necessary leisure or money to build, or to have built, the home of their dreams. And they can have no houses, and will inhabit hovels as long as present conditions remain unchanged.
As you see, we proceed contrary to economists, who immortalize the so-called laws of production, and reckoning up the number of houses built every year, demonstrate by statistics, that the new built houses not sufficing to meet all demands, nine-tenths of Europeans must live in hovels.
— The Conquest of Bread, Pëtr Kropotkin