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How Rentier Capitalism Limits the Rights of Citizenship to the Few
His 30 Years in the UN led him to a perspective in response to the neo-liberalism that started with Thatcher and Reagan in the late 70s. It was a time of real change in the field of economics from Keynesianism to neo-liberalism.
The ideology favored free-markets over institutions, social liberalism, and redistribution.
Neo-Liberalism is not about de-regulation. It is about Rentier – Capitalism.
The word “Deregulation” in reference to modern economics is a fundamental error of imagination. The word “deregulation” gets bandied around, but it is complete nonsense. This was a model that emerged which involved state regulation of a profoundly different type that what had preceded it. There is lots of regulation… but it benefits capital over labor.
In 80s and 90s, Rentier Capitalism emerged and a new globalized class structure began to take shape. That is when Dr. Standing articulated the “Precariat” for the first time. The word turned off the publisher and his Marxist friends did not appreciate the introduction of a new class.
Who knew? Dr. Standing professes utter disbelief that this ideas and books have received the welcome they have in the modern world. They’ve been translate into 24 languages and he has given 700 presentations on Rentier Capitalism and Basic Income.
Rentier Capitalism meant the privatization and the plunder of the commons.
The commons are what belong to all of us. Go back to the Justinian Codex of 529 and he articulated a framework that’s been used to develop common law ever since in which you differentiate different types of property. On type of property is Res Communos – that is “commons” it belongs to all of us.
Systematically the state has carved up bits of the commons and financial institutions have taken it over. For example, UNCLOS allowed governments to privatize the ocean (different parts of the sea).
This is why we need the framework for establishing a new progressive agenda.
Progressive strategy – 3 items:
- revive the commons
- obtain compensation for loss of commons
- dismantle Rentier Capitalism
Pandemic, global response and now war and response to war puts us at a Pivotal crisis point. We will have either a drifting towards authoritarianism OR a new progressive agenda.
Thankfully, there is pent up energy for change. Very much will rely on the youth of the precariat for the direction we fall.
Defining the Precariat:
The emergence of the class structure:
- Plutocracy (.??%) – full time rentiers – all of their income is from property.
- Elite – multi-millionaire’s – earning most of their income from property
- Soleriat – Income from work, but many non-wage benefits (Pensions, vacations, healthcare). Some income also from property. Did very well through the pandemic.
- Proletariat – people who had stable unionized jobs – manufacturing and industrial jobs (shrinking all over the world) – probably 5% of the adult group
- Precariat – NOT a bug… it is a feature of Rentier Capitalism. 1/3 or more of the adult population.
- Habituated to unstable labor (not work). Work has use value, not exchange value. Caring and volunteering is work… but we don’t necessarily get paid for it. A lot of their work is not recognized. No occupational Narrative – not “Going somewhere” or “developing.”
- Have to do labor that is below their education. Money wages that are chewed up through inflation. No non-wage benefits. No paid holidays. No Pensions. Living on the edge of unsustainable debt – one mishap, one accident and they are on the street. – INCREDIBLE STRESS.
- Distinct relation to the state. They are losing the rights of citizenship. They are losing civic rights and social rights and economic rights they are losing cultural rights. They are supplicants. They rely on discretionary actions and decisions of others. – totally insecure and precarious.
- Underclass – destitute, homeless and living in the streets
During the writing of The Corruption of Capitalism, the Precariat was a class in the making – divided into 3 groups:
- People who fell into it from old working class families. Not a lot of education. These people feel that they have lost the past – they listen to odious characters (Trump) who offer to bring back yesterday.
- Nostalgics. Don’t have a sense of now. Don’t have a present. They keep their heads down. They don’t particularly support any of the directions.
- Young educated people, who were promised by their parents and teachers that they would have a future and a career and when they come out… they don’t have one. They won’t support the populists… though they won’t support the social democrats who want them to work either. They want to save the planet, redistribute the wealth more equitably, and tear down the rentier class.
The first part of the Precariat is slowly dying and the third part is brilliant growing and this is why we are on the cusp of massive social change.