- File Size: 673 KB
- Print Length: 287 pages
- Publisher: Biteback Publishing (July 14, 2016)
- Publication Date: July 14, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01I4ALTCK
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,816 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$8.99|
|Print List Price:||$16.95|
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The Corruption of Capitalism: Why rentiers thrive and work does not pay Kindle Edition
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Is it possible to make capitalism work for the many rather than the few? In this thoughtful book, Guy Standing focuses on the central problem of modern capitalism the tendency of great wealth to transform itself into political power that corrupts the political process and generates laws and regulations favouring the wealthy and suggests useful and important solutions.”
Robert B. Reich? ?
The Basic Income is an idea whose time has come, and Guy Standing has pioneered our understanding of it not just of the concept but of the challenges it is designed to meet: rapid automation and the emergence of a precarious workforce for whom wages derived from work will never be enough. As we move into an age where work and leisure become blurred, and work dissociated from incomes, Standing’s analysis is vital.”
From the Inside Flap
There is a lie at the heart of global capitalism. Politicians, financiers and global bureaucrats claim to believe in free competitive markets, but have constructed the most unfree market system ever. It is corrupt because income
is channelled to the owners of property – financial, physical and intellectual – at the expense of society.
This book reveals how global capitalism is rigged in favour of rentiers to the detriment of all of us, especially the precariat. A plutocracy and elite enriches itself, not through production of goods and services, but through ownership of assets, including intellectual property, aided by subsidies,
tax breaks, debt mechanisms, revolving doors between politics and business,
and the privatisation of public services. Rentier capitalism is entrenched by the corruption of democracy, manipulated by the plutocracy and an elite-dominated media.
Meanwhile, wages stagnate as labour markets are transformed by outsourcing, automation and the on-demand economy, generating more rental income while expanding the precariat.
The Corruption of Capitalism argues that rentier capitalism is fostering revolt, and concludes by outlining a new income distribution system that would achieve the extinction of the rentier while promoting sustainable growth.
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He is able to see economies as Systems and describes current capitalism as “Rentier capitalism” a system creating the rising Inequality and Insecurity producing the discontent seen in many counties around the world today; ‘Rentier’ and ‘Neoliberalism’ not frequently used terms but well explained.
How to read this work:
This reviewer’s suggestion would be to start on Chapter 7: The Corruption of Democracy.
“Rentier capitalism is fundamentally fraudulent. The neo-liberal rhetoric has extolled the virtues of free markets. Yet neo-liberals have constructed the most unfree market system imaginable. How did they get away with it?”
The primary results, a skewed income distribution rewarding the rentiers and a declining middle class, a breakdown in employer-employee relations with failing benefits and job security, the rise of the gig economy extending now into technical fields of science and medicine, and the spillover effects of plutocracy defining democracy and an elite-dominated media.
He introduces you to a very elite group that planned to transform economies and have: The Mont Pelerin Society. You will find names that have dominated any number of western countries in political, academic, policy and financial sectors and their efforts to mold public perception and governmental direction; not conspiracy theory but the reality of related changes as they occurred.
For details on how rentier capitalism is structured Chapter 1 and forward; for Standing‘s understanding of what might occur in the way of reaction and revolt, Chapter 8 Rent Asunder: The Precariat’s Revolt.
Standing is willing to project into future possibilities of change based primarily on the role of the Precariat as a unifying and progressive force and to detail options open to society based on existing income sharing practices; their benefits and draw backs. When and if that process begins this work will be a bible, a solid insightful academic study.
Gus Standing is currently professor of development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
How have the great capitalist societies come to create the most ‘unfree market system ever’? Standing points out that monopoly, patents, and copyright rules provide guaranteed incomes to the minority few for decades.
The rentier society is borne of neo-liberalism, and the obsession to be competitive. Nations now seek to be competitive when the old political economy ran on ‘comparative advantages’. Nations now seek to be the best at the same things. Something has to give. That something began with the loss of the commons. A rentier is the one in society who has the assets. The rest are the labour.
The prevailing view – who came up with this idea in the first place – is that economic growth is in the hands of rentiers. Hence governments keep handing out subsidies to them and not the rest. That, in the author’s view, results in the growing inequality. Students who need a university degree are part of the growing number of debtors because tertiary education has become very expensive. Yet 59% of graduates in 2014 held jobs that do not require a degree. That means that most of them would be paid lower than their qualifications deserve.
The ‘plague of subsidies’, the ‘scourge of debts’, and the ‘plunder of the commons’, lead to the ‘corruption of democracy’ (titles of the chapters in this book). The corruption of democracy is marked by a change in politics and that, in turn, is marked by the transformation of political parties. That is exemplified when Labour Business Secretary Peter Mendelson exclaims, ‘We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich’.
And so, as a result, people revolt. How? Standing discusses the mass demonstrations – the largest and the most in any era – and conclude that nothing much has changed so far. More has to be done. There is a lot of energy out there he says, and people have nothing but derision for the plutocracy. Standing makes a few positive observations. First we must try and make work pay; we have to reverse the trend of expanding protection for intellectual property; build democratic sovereign funds; and to give more money to the people, that, is, a sort of ‘QE for the people’.
It is not likely that anyone has answers but the importance of this book is that it is raising some serious questions, and even those it criticises (the rentiers) cannot brush all the questions aside. ‘They cannot call it a class war until we fight back’. Rentiers cannot afford a fight-back from labour.
Top international reviews
All this is the result of deliberate policy choices under neoliberal ideology, choices which exacerbate rather than mitigate the effects of globalisation and automation. They include the rescue of reckless bankers after the financial crash of 2008/9 and subsequent austerity with no economic justification but ‘deficit fetishism’ to erode welfare for the poorest, while ‘quantitative easing’ (QE) boosted asset prices to benefit wealthy rentiers with little effect on unemployment. This has been emphasised by prominent economists such as Joseph Stiglitz (and others who are surprisingly never cited here). Complicit media owned by the plutocracy disseminate fact-free political propaganda, including covert racism and xenophobia to deflect revolt by the growing ‘precariat’, blaming the poor for their plight and boosting right -wing populism instead in many countries.
Guy Standing is a pioneering proponent of a universal basic income to counter economic insecurity and disruption, and concludes a short final discussion of potential for political resistance to neoliberal rentier states with a compelling summary case for UBI. He commends the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund as an example that should have been followed by Britain, but fails to recognise the need for green fiscal policy to achieve full employment and a zero carbon economy. He follows the old left in ignoring climate change and the failure of GDP growth to raise average happiness in advanced economies, and also dismisses social democracy and the traditional left in general as no longer relevant for reform.
While this may apply in varying measure to the UK, France and Germany, it is astonishing that Standing makes no mention of the success of Nordic Social Democracy in capitalist Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, combining the highest levels of life satisfaction, taxation and equality among advanced economies, with the lowest poverty, long term unemployment, and working time while maintaining world-leading entrepreneurship, renewable energy development and innovation. And all this in spite of persistent macroeconomic crises due to association with the EU in Denmark and Finland (which is piloting UBI). As Maxton and Randers show in their Reinventing Prosperity (2016), these countries offer a well-tried alternative to the Anglo-American neoliberal corruption and growing inequality which Standing has exposed so comprehensively (hence the 5 stars!), so this omission is all the more surprising and disappointing.
So much despair and control in our lives comes from this fact and many populist politicians are feeding off this ignorance for their own divisive and greedy ends.
Guy Standing’s well researched book unpicks this complexity so well. His exposure of the neo-capitalist griftocracy possesses like many dark truths, a wonderment over its clarity and yet a horror at to future implications for us all should nothing change.
However, and this is most important, not only does Standing describe the scale of the problem facing our increasingly helpless democracies from the rentier culture but many plausible solutions that flabby “third way” socialists across the free world would do well to heed.
This book deserves all the praise I can muster. It deserves to be serialised on every possible media platform.
It is a book for all who care about civic justice, collective fairness and a future worth living. Buy it; you WILL NOT be disappointed!!
…and don't let the rather dreadful cover put you off; pure GOLD waits within!
A distopian life ahead is on the cards for all of the working class and many of the middle class which will impact the indebted the most severely.
The majority of the book analyses society and the corruption of capitalism, with the remaining 10% providing solutions in the form of basic income and state monopoly capitalism that encourages businesses but allows proceeds to flow to the public as well as to private interests. An incedible book which I couldn't put down!! Whether you have a little or a lot of knowledge of British politics, Standing breaks it down into an easy to understand book. I'd also recommend Owen Jones to find out more of the problems that face our society, which I believe the majority are unaware of (ask anyone who leeches more from the system- the super-wealthy or benefit fraudsters and most ignorant people would point to the latter rather than the former, who leech far more from our country; in the words of Boris Johnson, the amount stolen by benefit fraudsters is "chicken feed" compared to how much the plutocrats rob us for).
A wonderful book which also refers to other societies, giving a clear picture of global rentier capitalism, I definitely feel more knowledgeable than before!