Capitalist Parasites

Be sure to read “Private Sector Parasites” by Michael Lind at Salon. He writes that the real “takers” are not the poor receiving benefits, but “the rent-extracting, unproductive rich.”

The term “rent” in this context refers to more than payments to your landlords. As Mike Konczal and many others have argued, profits should be distinguished from rents. “Profits” from the sale of goods or services in a free market are different from “rents” extracted from the public by monopolists in various kinds. Unlike profits, rents tend to be based on recurrent fees rather than sales to ever-changing consumers. While productive capitalists — “industrialists,” to use the old-fashioned term — need to be active and entrepreneurial in order to keep ahead of the competition, “rentiers” (the term for people whose income comes from rents, rather than profits) can enjoy a perpetual stream of income even if they are completely passive.

Do read the whole post.

Update: Kinda related, if you think about it — Charles Pierce, “The Silent Majorities

4 thoughts on “Capitalist Parasites

  1. The worst are, imo, electronic and/or telecommunications companies which make you sign a contract – like cell phone companies.

    You have to pay $X for their service, monthly – AND sign an 2-year contract for it.

    Where is the incentive for quality?
    There is none.
    They can suck 9-ways to Sunday and back, but if you want to leave – BINGO! – they still make a nice sum.
    Because, if you want to cancel their sh*tty service, they charge you $200 dollars – per cell phone/electronic device!

    Yes, I know some of that is because they discount the equipment (which is very cheap to make, since it’s made in 3rd World Countries).
    But why not, if their service is sh*tty, let you keep the equipment, and the company who does get your service, pay some small stipend for you as a new customer.
    THAT would provide in incentive to provide something besides sh*tty service.

    And don’t get me started on the stock and bond markets, which are the ultimate “rentier” markets!

  2. Nothing new here..I came to the knowledge of this situation back in 2008 when the job market/ housing bubble crashed. That’s when Bank of America with their attending insurance companies officially took ownership of my life. So in the spirit of a good galley slave, I say: Just shut up, and row!

    My only consolation is that at some point they’re going to choke the golden goose, because most parasites will destroy or weaken their hosts of any vitality if they are left unchecked. I’m not endorsing the invisible hand, but there is a balance in nature.

  3. Right,Swami.
    Many years ago, I was up at a friend’s home in Rancho Palos Verdes.The home was very nice, but not oppulent.But the view was awsome;perched on the side of the hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a grand view of Santa Catalina Island.
    I asked how he liked owning the property. He responded that the bank owns it, they just let him live there, keep the taxes current, and maintain everything for a couple thousand bucks a month.He said it would be better to rent it,something breaks, you call the owner and tell him to fix it NOW.
    A dance with the devil.
    The “funny” thing is, my house has lost a lot of value over the past 6 years, but I’m still on the hook for the purchase price, not so the bank. And my insurance is based on “reolacement value”, not actual worth. Perhaps this is what allows banks and insurance companies to own all the tall buildings in every city.
    Spreading “freedom” seems to mean getting the whole planet into the system in order to extract tribute(2% of everybody is a bunch of dough). I have read that the only countries without a European style (dominated) central bank are the very countrys in the “axis of evil” (add several others such as Libya and Cuba).
    Perhaps this is the grand conspiracy

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