Capitalism has proven itself unable to provide us all with homes — the most basic human need after food and water. In ancient Rome, Marcus Licinius Crassus augmented his fortune by flipping fire-damaged properties. Crassus formed one of the first private fire brigades, and took advantage of his market domination by rushing to the scene of every blaze. Before fighting the fires, though, he would offer to buy the buildings from panicking owners, who often…
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