The Corruption of Capitalism by Guy Standing
Why rentiers thrive and work does not pay
6 May 2021
When it was originally published in 2016 The Corruption of Capitalism introduced the concept of Rentier Capitalism, whereby a small, rich cadre controls access to property and profit without actually contributing to society. In this third edition of his best-selling polemic celebrated labour economist Guy Standing brings his tale of corruption up to date to encompass debates around the pandemic slump and Brexit.
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.
The classic book reveals how global capitalism is rigged in favour of rentiers to the detriment of the precariat and others, an inequity that has been made starker by the advent of coronavirus. A plutocracy and elite enriches itself, not through production of goods and services, but through ownership of assets and the privatisation of public services. Meanwhile, wages stagnate as labour markets are transformed by outsourcing, automation and the on-demand economy, generating more rental income while expanding the precariat.