Dr. Joseph Mercola, who is cited at length further below, is presenting a classic video that millions will never have seen from a mainstream news interview with bestselling Brave New World author Aldus Huxley. It is useful because techniques of manipulation and propaganda being used today have been used for decades. Adolf Hitler used mass media and repetitive propaganda which are a classic example of how “the Big Lie” could lead an entire nation into problematic thinking that led to World War II. Before Hitler, President Woodrow Wilson (D) lead America into World War I through propaganda and the choreographed manipulation of events. President George W. Bush (R) led America and several “coalition” nations into what is now approaching two decades of Middle Eastern Wars through intelligence agencies propaganda dutifully repeated by major media that spanned the left-right media divide. Communist countries and others keep their populations largely in line through repetitive propaganda, fear tactics, and other methods that include media, online tools, and a surveillance state too.
Propaganda and manipulation are ancient. Deception, paltering, and misdirection are among the tools of deception that can manipulate and mislead millions.
The Western nations have understandably cited National Socialists (NAZI) or other socialist and communist nations propaganda, and the estimated 100 million lives that has cost the world. But the sad truth is that there have been Western forms of propaganda and manipulation which over time have also cost millions of lives. These forms of propaganda and muscle in the West can often be traced to specific special interest groups. It is a matter of American history that “gun boat diplomacy” on the part of various corporate interests played a role in troubling exploitation of other nations weaker than our own.
Those examples each required propaganda at home and abroad to give ‘cover’ to the exploits that occurred. The NAZIs were fascists. Facism is defined in part as government and big business interests colluding in specific ways. Fascists may subvert a ‘democratic’ government. Before fascism, England at the time of the American Revolution had the royal crown working with specific business monopolists. The famous Boston Tea Party was not only a revolt against “taxation without representation,” but it was also a rebellion against a British corporate tea monopoly.
History does not precisely repeat, but it does have echoes and patterns. The reason that is so is simple. Whatever has happened before can happen again. Thus, a basic understanding of history and its lessons is useful.
Warren Buffett has said that he has read history and biographies, no doubt in part to see how it could be used to further his own interests.
Note. When propaganda is being peddled, there is often a good guy or preferred side, and then there is in the narrative a bad guy of group that is cast in a negative light. There are times when an authentic good or bad person, notion, or side exists. Classic examples are Communists or Nazis. But just because a chorus of voices is saying almost the same thing, often word-for-word, that should not mean that they are to be automatically believed. A simple test will be provided following Dr. Mercola’s thoughtful news analysis.
It is in such a context that an awareness of how propaganda works in our profession – as well as in the nation or world – are so important. Once awareness of how manipulation of various types operates or kicks in, the ability to spot possible propaganda or other tools of manipulation or coercion can help you or others you know to not be taken in and exploited expands.
In our profession, the numbers independents are dwindling. They have been since Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway entered our profession. For those independents that remain, more than mere awareness is necessary. But awareness of the problem and how these manipulative efforts operate is the start of the process that moves toward a solution.
It is useful to step back and see how propaganda and manipulation works outside of our own profession. That dispassionate look can then shed light on how manipulation, coercion, or other tactics may be occurring in the ranks of those who seek to serve millions with quality affordable but highly misunderstood manufactured homes.
The headline is useful, but perhaps not quite as insightful as it might have been. Part of the point here is that certain truths that were known decades ago are still true now. The methods of manipulation known decades ago are being applied now. The difference? In part there are more sophisticated technologies involved today. There are also more sources of propaganda that generally repeat the same narrow range of ideas.
The case could be made that what Dr. Mercola has to say – provided with permission by the Defender to MHProNews – is going to have more practical significance than most other ‘news’ item someone is likely to read or view today. Note that Mercola cites his evidence and sources. Meaning, these are not merely interesting claims. They are intelligent claims backed by evidence that is current as well as from the past.
Following this historic then-and-now-news analysis item from Dr. Mercola, there will be additional information. That will include industry specific, as well as relevant National or Global insights, plus more MHProNews Analysis and Commentary. Our suggestion is to read the entire article, not just Mercola’s bullets. Watch the video interview, because it is a keen window into the troubling truth of the power of propaganda as a tool of mass manipulation.
In Rare, 63-Year-Old Video, ‘Brave New World’ Author Predicts Big Tech’s Power to Manipulate Behavior
In a 1958 television interview, Aldous Huxley predicted the technological capability to bypass reason and manipulate behavior through subliminal means. Today, social media platforms and search engines use sophisticated artificial-intelligence algorithms to control the information we see.
By Dr. Joseph Mercola 03/08/21
- Aldous Huxley wrote “Brave New World,” a nightmarish vision of a future society known as the “World State,” ruled by science and efficiency, where emotions and individuality have been eradicated and personal relationships are few.
- When Huxley wrote the book, optimism about technological advancements were high and there was widespread belief that technology would solve many of the world’s problems. “Brave New World” demonstrates the naiveté of such hopes by showing what can happen when technology is taken to its extreme.
- Huxley predicted the technological capability to bypass reason and manipulate behavior through subliminal means. Today, social media platforms and search engines use sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms to push certain kinds of information in front of us.
- Huxley’s ideas appear to have influenced the technocracy’s planning. The World Economic Forum’s 2030 agenda includes the strangely ominous dictum that “you will own nothing and be happy.”
- Huxley argues that in order to create the dystopian future presented in his book, you have to centralize wealth, power and control. Hence, the way to protect against it is to insist on decentralization.
The video above features a 1958 interview of Aldous Huxley with Mike Wallace. It really is a great glimpse from the past. Wallace was smoking on the set, but that was natural back then, and Rod Serling, who produced the “Twilight Zone,” did the same. Interestingly, they both developed lung cancer.
You might recall that Huxley wrote the classic novel “Brave New World,” in which he presents a dystopian vision of a future society known as the “World State,” a society ruled by science and efficiency, where emotions and individuality have been eradicated and personal relationships are few.
Children are cloned and bred in “hatcheries,” where they are conditioned for their role in society from an early age. There are no mothers and fathers as natural procreation is outlawed. There are no family units.
Embryos are sorted and given hormonal treatments based on their destined societal classification, which from highest to lowest are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon. The Alphas are bred and conditioned to be leaders while the Epsilons are designed for menial labor, free of higher intellectual capacities.
At the time Huxley wrote the book in 1931 (it was published the year after), optimism about technological advancements were high and there was widespread belief that technology would solve many of the world’s problems. “Brave New World” demonstrates the naiveté of such hopes by showing what can happen when technocracy is taken to its extreme.
Huxley believed his world of horror was right around the corner and, today, just shy of 60 years later, we’re starting to see Huxley’s “World State” closing in around us in the form of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s transhumanist agenda and the Great Reset, designed to trap us inside a net of constant surveillance and external control.
Enemies of freedom
Huxley also penned a series of essays called “Enemies of Freedom,” which he discusses in the featured interview. The series outlines “impersonal forces” that are “pushing in the direction of progressively less freedom,” and “technological devices” that can be used to accelerate the process by imposing ever greater control of the population.
Huxley points out that as technology becomes more complex and complicated, it becomes increasingly necessary to form more elaborate hierarchical organizations to manage it all.
Technology also allows for more effective propaganda machines that can be managed through those same control hierarchies.
Huxley cites the success of Hitler, noting that aside from Hitler’s effective use of terror and brute force, “he also used a very efficient form of propaganda. He had the radio, which he used to the fullest extent, and was able to impose his will on an immense mass of people.”
With the advent of television, Huxley foresaw how an authoritarian leadership could become a source of “a one-pointed drumming” of a single idea, effectively brainwashing the public.
Beyond that, Huxley predicted the technological capability to “bypass the rational side of man” and manipulate behavior by influencing people on a subconscious level. This is precisely what we’re faced with today.
Google, but also to a large extent Facebook, has been collecting data on you for nearly two decades. They have created massive server farms that are capable of analyzing this data with deep learning and artificial intelligence software to mine information and generate incredibly precise details on just what type of propaganda and narrative is required to surreptitiously manipulate you into the behavior they are seeking.
Huxley also points out the dangers inherent in advertising, especially as it pertains to marketing of political ideas and ideologies:
“Democracy depends on the individual voter making an intelligent and rational choice for what he regards as his enlightened self-interest in any given circumstance but …
“There are particular purposes for selling goods, and [what] the dictatorial propagandists are doing is to try to bypass the rational side of men and to appeal directly to these unconscious forces below the surface so that you are in a way making nonsense of the whole democratic procedure, which is based on conscious choice or on rational ground …
“Children are quite clearly much more suggestible than the average grownup and, again, suppose that for one reason or another all the propaganda was in the hands of one or very few agencies, you would have an extraordinarily powerful force playing on these children who are going to grow up and be adults …
“You can read in the trade journal the most critical accounts of how necessary it is to get hold of the children, because then they will be loyal brand buyers later on. Translate this into political terms, the dictator says they will be loyal ideology buyers when they’re grown up.”
Decentralization protects freedom. Centralization robs it.
Huxley argues that in order to create the dystopian future presented in his book, you have to centralize wealth, power and control. Hence, the way to protect against it is to insist on decentralization. It’s surprising that even 60 years ago Huxley was wise enough to understand this profoundly important principle.
I believe that it is the decentralization of the internet that is required to prevent censorship and manipulation in the future. This means that websites and platforms are not stored in one central place that can easily be controlled and manipulated but, rather, widely distributed to thousands, if not millions, of computers all over the world. It would work because if there is no central storage it can’t be removed.
Decentralized platforms allow the majority of power to reside with the individual. Technologies that can be easily misused to control the public narrative must also remain largely decentralized, so that no one person or agency ends up with too much power to manipulate and influence the public. Our modern-day social media monopolies are a perfect example of what Huxley warned us about.
The same goes for economic institutions too. Today, we can see how the role of the central bank (in the U.S. known as the Federal Reserve) — a privately-owned entity with the power to break entire countries apart for profit — is forcing us toward a new global economic system that will impoverish and quite literally enslave everyone, with the exception of the technocratic social bankers themselves and their globalist allies.
Our Orwellian present
A contemporary and student of Huxley was George Orwell (real name Eric Blair), who wrote another dystopian classic — “1984” — published in 1949. The two books — “1984” and “Brave New World” — share the commonality that they both depict a future devoid of the very things that we associate with having a healthy, free, creative, purposeful and enjoyable life.
In “1984,” the context is a society where an all-knowing, all-seeing “Big Brother” rules with an iron fist. Citizens are under constant watch. Privacy is nonexistent, and language is twisted to justify and glorify oppression.
Some of the spectacles of 2020 could have easily been ripped straight out of the pages of “1984,” as riots were described by cheery news anchors as “mostly peaceful protests,” even as city blocks were engulfed in flames behind them and people were bleeding to death in the streets. For those familiar with the book, such scenes were difficult to watch without being reminded of 1984s “double-think.”
Orwell versus Huxley
There are differences between the two works, however. While Orwell foresees people being forcefully enslaved by an external agency, and kept in that state by the same, Huxley’s vision is one in which people have been so thoroughly conditioned that they come to love their servitude. At that point, no external authoritarian ruler is actually required.
If you think about it, I’m sure you will agree that this is clearly the most efficient strategy to take control of the population. Moore’s law and the exponential improvement in computer processing capacity has exponentially accelerated the global elites’ ability to precisely identify how to implement peaceful control that will have the majority virtually begging for tyranny.
In Huxley’s “Brave New World,” people have fallen in love with the very technologies that prevent them from thinking and acting of their free will, so the enslaved maintain their own control structure.
As noted by Neil Postman in his book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business,” in which he compares and contrasts the futures presented by Huxley and Orwell:
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.
“Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.
“As Huxley remarked in ‘Brave New World Revisited,’ the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny ‘failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.’
“In ‘1984,’ Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In ‘Brave New World,’ they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”
The promise of the Great Reset
One can argue about who predicted the future best, Orwell or Huxley, but in the final analysis, I think we’re looking at a mixture of both, although it seems obvious to me that Huxley was more prescient and he was actually Orwell’s mentor. Huxley’s concerns are far more serious as the programming is essentially silent, and it is patently evident that the technocrats have been highly successful in implementing this strategy in the past year.
That said, we’re facing both the threat of externally imposed authoritarianism and control predicted by Orwell, and the subversive, subliminal programming through mindless entertainment and the lure of convenience proposed by Huxley.
Undoubtedly, the combination is a powerful one, and likely far more effective than either control strategy by itself. I’ve already touched on how Orwell’s work is playing out in the real world through the “double-think” mental gymnastics we get from the controlled, tightly centralized mainstream media these days.
For an example of how Huxley’s ideas have influenced the technocracy’s planning, look no further than the globalists’ call to “build back better” and the World Economic Forum’s 2030 agenda (below), which includes the strangely ominous dictum that you will own nothing and be happy.
The unstated implication is that the world’s resources will be owned and controlled by the technocratic elite, and you’ll have to pay for the temporary use of absolutely everything. Nothing will actually belong to you. All items and resources are to be used by the collective, while actual ownership is restricted to an upper stratum of social class.
Just how will this imposed serfdom make you happy? Again, the unstated implication is that lack of ownership is a marvelous convenience. Rent a pot and then return it. You don’t need storage space! Imagine the freedom! They even promise the convenience of automatic drone delivery straight to your door.
Artificial intelligence — which is siphoning your data about every aspect of your existence through nearly every piece of technology and appliance you own — will run your life, predicting your every mood and desire, catering to your every whim. Ah, the luxury of not having to make any decisions!
This is the mindset they’re trying to program into you, and for most, it appears to be working. For others who can see the propaganda for what it is, these promises look and feel like proverbial mouse traps. Once you bite the cheese, you’ll be stuck, robbed of your freedom forevermore. And, as Huxley told Wallace, individual freedom is really a prerequisite for a genuinely productive society:
“Life of man is ultimately impossible without a considerable measure of individual freedom. Initiative and creativity — all these things that we value, and I think value properly, are impossible without a large measure of freedom.”
When Wallace challenges Huxley on this by pointing out that the Soviet Union was successfully developing both militarily and artistically, despite being a tightly controlled regime, Huxley counters by saying that those doing that creative work, especially scientists, were also granted far greater personal freedom and prosperity than everyone else.
As long as they kept their noses out of politics, they were brought into the upper echelon and given a great deal of freedom, and without this freedom, they would not have been able to be as creative and inventive, Huxley says.
The threat of the new normal
This anti-human “new normal” that world leaders are now urging us to accept and embrace is the trap of all traps. Unless your most cherished dream is to lie in bed for the rest of your life, your body atrophying away, with a pair of VR goggles permanently strapped to your face, you must resist and oppose the “new normal” every day going forward.
As noted by Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill in his Feb. 5, 2021, article, while the first lockdown was marked by a sense of camaraderie and the promise of it being a temporary measure that we can get through if we just address the problem together, by the third round, all forms of social connection have vanished, as has the anticipation of a return to normality.
“In the first lockdown, the dream of normality was what kept people going; it was actively encouraged by some politicians and even some in the doom-laden media. This time, dreams of normality are treated as ‘dysfunction’, as a species of ‘denial,’” O’Neill writes.
Make no mistake. The media’s rebuke of a return to normalcy as a nonsensical pipedream is dangerous propaganda territory. The reality is we could easily open everything back up and go back to business as usual, and nothing out of the ordinary, in terms of sickness and death, would occur.
People die every year. It’s an inevitable reality of life and, up until the last two weeks of 2020, there actually were no greater number of deaths recorded than the year prior, and the year prior to that, and the one before that.
While new numbers released by the CDC indicate that 2020’s final two weeks may have pushed the total deaths beyond 2019’s (final data won’t be available for months), COVID-19 simply isn’t as lethal as initially suspected. It primarily kills the elderly and the chronically ill — what’s most interesting is that suicide deaths among teens went up dramatically as lockdowns and school closings dragged on.
What’s more, we now have effective prophylactics and treatments that ensure the loss of life due to COVID-19 can be radically minimized. Yet, our leaders don’t want you to think in those terms. They want you to remain fearful because they have a deep appreciation of the value of fear in catalyzing the precise type of capitulation and surrender they need in order to implement the Great Reset.
Tragically, many citizens have so embraced the fear culture, they don’t even need an authoritarian figure to tell them to comply with rules that have no medical benefit anymore. They’ll happily act as the designated COVID police, making sure everyone around them complies.
Hell hath no fury like one caught in the unsound belief that they will die if you don’t wear a mask. This is no way to live. It’s not sane and it’s not healthy, and the prophetic works of Huxley and Orwell illustrate where it will all end if we don’t push back.
Never surrender to the new normal
In closing, I’d like you to ponder some portions from O’Neill’s article, in which he warns us about the threat posed by the culture of fear itself, which is just as dangerous and damaging as any virus:
“[Spiked] argued that COVID-19 … would be refracted through the culture of fear, potentially harming our ability to understand and deal with this novel danger. This has come to pass. The shift from paying lip service to social solidarity to encouraging the populace to think of itself as diseased represents a victory for the degraded view of humanity gifted to us by the culture of fear.
“The government’s early move from encouraging people to take responsibility for limiting their social interactions to using older methods of terror to ensure compliance with lockdown measures confirmed the culture of fear’s reduction of people from citizens to be engaged with problems to be managed.
“The failure to sustain the education of the next generation spoke to the exhaustion of bourgeois confidence, of the state itself, that underpins the culture of fear.
“And the current threat of a New Normal — of a forever post-pandemic dystopia of distanced, masked pseudo-interaction — demonstrates that our future will be shaped at least in part by the ideologies and forces of the culture of fear …
“Yes, the New Normal being talked up by the political and cultural elites will partially be informed by the experience of Covid-19 and the necessity of being prepared for a future virus. But it will also be shaped by … the culture of fear and its attendant anti-human, anti-progress ideologies …
“Soon the practical task of minimizing and managing the impact of Covid-19 will have been largely completed, leaving us with the far larger humanist task of combating this culture and making the case for a freer, more dynamic, dazzling future of growth, knowledge and engagement.
“Those who underestimate the culture of fear will be ill-prepared for these future battles. They will have a tendency to surrender to the New Normal. The rest of us should stand firm, even in the face of smears and willful misrepresentations, and continue to recognize and confront the real and debilitating consequences that fear has on everyday life and on humanity’s future.” ##
Originally published by Mercola.
*) The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense. Rare Video of ‘Brave New World’ Author From 63 Years Ago was published on February 20, 2021. It is copyrighted by the author and the Children’s Health Defense, Inc The Defender. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.
Propaganda and Manipulation Always Has a Goal
Additional Information, MHProNews Analysis and Commentary
The opposite of the deceptive is what is honest, honorable, and true.
The opposite of the devilish is the Godly.
Every con job, manipulation, or propaganda effort has a goal. Knowing about propaganda or various forms of manipulation – past or present – are thus a useful step in keeping or awakening us and others in our respective circles from being deluded by such dark methods.
Those who peddle propaganda or use the Big Lie often have had – or in our time, do have – at hand experts keenly aware of how human nature works.
There has, for instance, been known for decades that at there are certain similar personality types. While each person is unique, certain traits in people form patterns that can be identified and manipulated. That is part of what Dr. Mercola is aptly pointing toward in his thoughtful analysis above.
Additionally, for centuries, it has been known that humanity has specific virtues and their opposite vices. Some forms of propaganda appeal to dark forces but may mask or cloud it in what appears to be some virtue, such as love of country, ethnic or other group. An example of the echo chamber at work in our manufactured home profession is linked below.
Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain was in part an author of books, but he was also a newspaper man. He knew from firsthand experience that the Big Lie worked on many for a time.
What modern media has arguably done is create a rolling set of Big Lies. As one item touted for a while is revealed to be false it has often already been supplanted by one or more other deceptions. The barrage of ongoing big lies – plus social distractions – gives manipulative leaders the edge over a population that may or may not spot the falsehood.
A recent example of mass distractions is instructive. This example will be followed by more industry specific insights.
Some may find the Meghan Markle and Prince Harry interview with Oprah Winfrey interesting, but it is also a major distraction for millions. Far more important things are occurring in our nation and for the world. Nevertheless, Forbes reported on March 7, 2021 that “At last count, broadcasters in 68 nations had lined up for the rights [to see the interview], not least among them, Britain’s Independent Television (ITV).” In the days of the Roman Empire, it was bread and circuses that kept the masses fed and distracted from their crumbling society. In our era, it is social media, television, all sorts of gaming, plus an array of drugs, alcohol, sex, business, or other distractions that keep much of society subdued and thus to some degree manipulated or controlled.
MarketWatch reported on March 8 that some 17.1 watched the Oprah interview with Megan Markle and Harry. There is tremendous buzz about it in the mainstream media across the left-center-right. Why? By contrast, The Gateway Pundit (TGP) tallied the various streaming views of President Donald J. Trump’s address to CPAC 2021 in Orlando. An estimated 31 million total watched that address by President Trump via streaming, plus those who watched it live on some cable channel. Even though CNN, Fox, ABC News, the UK Sun, and UK Independent – all ‘mainstream’ media outlets – had streamed the address, TGP reported that YouTube has deleted all of the full-length versions of the address. MHProNews double checked this morning, only shorter clips are available. So, all of the full length versions do seem to be deleted from Google sister company YouTube.
That is corporate censorship that happens to serve the interests of the Biden-Harris regime, which in turn serves the interests of the big corporations and the billionaires who placed them there.
In manufactured housing, parts of the methods of control and influence were industry meetings and events. If there is a dark grace to how COVID19 has been handled, it is in part that many meetings and industry trade shows have largely been cancelled. By cutting off that ‘habit’ – there is an opportunity to step back and look anew at the downward trends of our industry.
Because the main thing ‘trending up’ are in manufactured housing are the increased holdings of the consolidators. For that trend to be to some extent quietly operating, they consolidators need an echo chamber of voices that seem to repeat ‘the party line.’
Thankfully, a useful and possibly simple method is available for those who have a solid grounding in the truths of faith. When an eternal principal of faith is being violated, that can signal to an individual or group that a propaganda method is at work.
Summing Up General and Industry Related Facts
What is fascinating about What Dr. Joseph Mercola, Edward Curtin, or Robert F. Kennedy Jr are writing and speaking about is this. From an entirely different set of starting points than MHProNews, these sober voices are coming to much the same conclusions that MHProNews arrived at after years of reports involving evidence-based research into manufactured housing.
They are often pointing to some of the same dark forces that MHProNews has reported on and pointed toward.
Is that a coincidence? Hardly. Because the case can be made – is being made – that these evidence based concerns span the left-center-right divide.
In an array of professions, concentration of wealth and power has been occurring for years. It can often reduced to what Danny Glover called a monopoly of information and money. Capital access yields control. Information access can to a significant degree yield control. Glover, from the entertainment world, is a well to do man. He has served on the board of one of Warren Buffett’s nonprofits. He has seen from the inside how this game is played.
That noted, just because someone makes a useful and true statement, that does not automatically imply that all that they say or do is also true. The principle of separating the wheat from the chaff must be applied.
At the end of the day – in our profession, or the nation at large – is steadily being consolidated. Some examples are useful.
- Circa 2000, some estimate that there were 20,000 independent manufactured home retailers. Some of those retailers had been successful for years or even decades. Because no hard numbers are being produced by Berkshire Hathaway and their consolidating allies dominated Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), exact numbers are not available for how many independent retailers still exist. Ken Corbin said in 2017 at an industry event that the drop or loss of independent retailers was some 10,000 locations, but others think the numbers of lost retailers are far higher. Certain industry sources say that the true range of independent street retailers – vs. selling communities – today is in the range of 500 to 1000 nationally.
- That fall from 20,000 to 1,000 or less means this. If you are an independent retailer, you are marked for extinction, unless you do something.
- Per MHI data, there were over 120 independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes circa 2000. Today, while they at times contradict themselves, that number stands at about 34-35 companies that produce HUD Code manufactured homes.
- If you are an independent producer, you are marked for extinction, unless you do something.
- So about 95% of all independent retailers are gone. About 75% of all HUD Code manufactured home companies are gone. The trend lines are unmistakable.
- Manufactured home land-lease communities are steadily being consolidated too. Perhaps part of the reason that MHI has stopped reporting certain facts that they once made some attempt at providing is because the facts are not pretty. The estimated 50,000 manufactured home communities circa 2000 is down by several thousand, due to many being purchased for redevelopment into something else. By contrast, only a few hundred have been developed during that time. Additionally, for some years, manufactured home communities were being consolidated – often by MHI member firms, and/or by firms allied at some level with MHI member firms.
It is not a matter of speculation that the industry is being steadily consolidated. Publicly traded firms have made that plain in their investor relations or other public pronouncements. By federal law, publicly traded firms are not supposed to make inaccurate statements. Just a few examples is sufficient to make the point.
It should be clear. The consolidators are not the friends of the independents. They may smile to your face in meetings. The consolidators field reps or agents, who may or may not grasp what is going on – they are just doing a job – when they smile, they are as the factoids above illustrate, not your friends if you are an independent.
When the industry is arguably deliberately underperforming, that means that properties or businesses are being sold for less than their true potential value. One example of a case study by a publicly traded firm that is an MHI member will serve to illustrate.
Perhaps, in fairness, some of these MHI members began without realizing what has steadily been occurring since Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway essentially invaded manufactured housing.
Eric Belsky, then with Harvard Joint Center for Housing studies, said in the early 2000s that based on the improved quality of HUD Code manufactured homes, and the need for affordable housing, he projected that the industry would overtake site builders by 2010. Belsky was wrong. He has since moved onto working in the Federal Reserve system. Belsky is an intelligent man.
How is it possible that the industry has so underperformed? Simple. Propaganda, manipulation, and the weaponization of various aspects of the industry. MHI and MHARR cooperated circa 1998-2000 to get the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000 passed (sometimes called the 2000 Reform law). But that widely bipartisan 2000 Reform law which was supposed to create more affordable housing has been thwarted.
If the industry’s remaining independents do not organize and act, they are de facto feeding the hand that bites their own interests. Those paying dues to MHI or MHI ‘big boy’ dominated state affiliates are arguably feeding the hand that bites their own interests.
Andy Gedo, in trying to defend MHI, very usefully made key points that all tend to point the finger against MHI and their big boy moat builders.
Kevin Clayton – as well as this Berkshire Hathaway and key MHI colleagues – has not opted to deny the allegations made by this range of professionals, some of whom were previously member of MHI or were members of a Berkshire brand, or did contract work for one or more of these organizations. Indeed, how does Kevin dispute what he himself said in a video interview?
These consolidators – no matter how nice they appear to be, are demonstrably and arguably not nice people. Trusting them is akin to trusting a known mugger. That is perhaps why they are silent about the case made against them by Samuel Strommen in his legal research report for Knudson Law.
The time to organize and fight back at the industry level and beyond is now.
Otherwise, these oligarchs will continue to make inroads that consolidate assets, money, and power. They will rule our society as well as our industry.
The good news? The laws needed to fight these powers consolidating our industry already exist. By properly organizing, the possibility for successful and profitable pushback exists.
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By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
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