In the early-1870s, an ideological debate began to unfold in the German press on the shortage of affordable housing available to workers in major industrial areas. The rapid increase in industrial production necessitating an increase in industrial workers created a housing crisis.
From June 1872 to February 1873, Frederick Engels contributed a series of articles to the publication The Volksstaat (People’s State) titled “The Housing Question.” Originally published as a booklet by the Co-Operative Publishing Society of Foreign Workers in the USSR and out of print for many years, International Publishers is proud to make this text available – as workers yet again face almost insurmountable obstacles to finding affordable housing.
As Engels wrote in 1872, “What is meant today by housing shortage is the peculiar intensification of the bad housing conditions of the workers as the result of the sudden rush of population to the big towns; a colossal increase in rents, a still further aggravation of overcrowding in the individual houses, and, for some, the impossibility of finding a place to live in at all.”
Frederick Engels’ essays collected here as “The Housing Question” are just as relevant today, roughly 150 years after first written.