The following text has been sourced from the press release for Guy Standing’s latest book The Corruption  of Capitalism Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay:

Mark Twain wrote of the late nineteenth Century as a Gilded Age in America, in which vast inequality and insecurity were masked by a veneer of wealth concentrated in the hands of the few. In his new book Guy Standing suggests that we are now living through a Second Gilded Age. Only this time, it’s global.

Guy Standing, best-selling author of The Precariat, argues that governments and international institutions have combined to build the most unfree market economy ever created. It is a deeply corrupt system in which income and wealth are increasingly channelled to the owners of property – financial, physical and intellectual – at the expense of everyone else.

The book reveals how global capitalism is rigged in favour of this ‘rentier’ class to the detriment of workers – not just those in low-paid jobs, but many professionals and entrepreneurs. While wages stagnate, rental income has soared. A powerful plutocracy and elite has enriched itself, not through production of goods and services, but through ownership of assets, including patents and other forms of intellectual property, and the private exploitation of scarce resources.

It has been aided by government subsidies, tax breaks, corrupt deals and the ongoing privatisation of public services. Debt has become an integral part of the system. Meanwhile, labour markets are being transformed by outsourcing, automation and the rise of the on-demand economy, generating more rental income for the few while creating an ever larger precariat.

The age of rentier capitalism has been entrenched by the corruption of democracy, manipulated by the plutocracy and aided by its concentrated ownership of the media. The Corruption of Capitalism shows why the rise of rentier capitalism must be reversed. If it is not, dire social and political consequences will follow.

Advance praise for The Corruption of Capitalism:

“The Basic Income is an idea whose time has come, and Guy Standing has pioneered our understanding of it … As we move into an age where work and leisure become blurred, and work dissociated from incomes, Standing’s analysis is vital.”

Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism: A Guide To Our Future

“Guy Standing’s incisive critique … should put politicians and ruling elites on the alert.”

John McDonnell, shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

“In this thoughtful book, Guy Standing focuses on the central problem of modern capitalism … and suggests useful and important solutions.”

Robert Reich, Labor Secretary to President Clinton, 1993–97

Guy Standing is a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He was previously Professor of Economic Security at the University of Bath, Professor of Labour Economics at Monash University, and Director of the Socio-Economic Security Programme of the International Labour Organization, in the United Nations. He is a co-founder and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network. His books include A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens (2014); The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (2011), Work after Globalization: Building Occupational Citizenship (2009), and Basic Income – A Transformative Policy for India (2015).

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1 Comment Book of the Day: The Corruption of Capitalism

  1. Ozgur ZerenOzgur Zeren

    “The book reveals how global capitalism is rigged in favour of this ‘rentier’ class to the detriment of workers – not just those in low-paid jobs, but many professionals and entrepreneurs.”

    That would be an incorrect assessment on grounds that Capitalism has its roots in late feudal system of land proprietorship which was present in late 18th century Britain. And as the industrial revolution advanced, the same system which existed for feudalism was applied to newly emerging industrial economy with minor modifications – the relevant one here being removal of serf system so that workers could be disposable in the new fief that was the Factory. As being a noble for owning land was not a requirement since a long time ago and any peasant could rise up to a certain rank of nobility after amassing a certain amount of land (namely and most important, the position of Knight, and the responsibility to provide 1 knight, his armor, ~4 horses and 3-4 apprentices to support him in war, which many up and coming newly made rich tried to avoid due to being expensive), feudal system didnt need to be modified while going into Industrial Revolution.

    Thus, the analysis that says capitalism is rigged in favor of rentier class is incorrect in that capitalism is a system that is built on, and for the rentier class, therefore it is not rigged – it is the nature of the system.

    Old feudal landowners who owned the capital and had the serfs or peasants work on it and collected rent, transformed into new entrepreneurs who owned factories and had workers work in them and got most of the produced value. Autonomy which a serf would have in using his farming land was removed and the entire system was transformed into a private tyranny.

    Ultimate evolution of Feudalism. The factors which were binding feudalism in chains and preventing it from transforming into what we later named Capitalism were that slavery was banned by Catholic church at the advent of Middle Ages, hence bettering position of serfs and common law deriving from those cultural developments which turned the fief into a revenue-share in between the lord and the serf by dividing the produce in between the lord, serf and the church. Even if the lords abused it as much as they can.

    Once these limitations were circumvented with the advent of Industrial Revolution, Feudalism evolved into its final form.

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