Stagnation and searching new fields for accumulation in the global rentier regime

Authors: Christian Zeller*, University of Salzburg, Dep. of Geography and Geology
Topics: Economic Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: rent, rentiership, capital, surplus value, rentier regime, accumulation, stagnation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Studio 8, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The current phase of capitalism is shaped by repeated crisis and stagnation. It is not likely that new phases of prosperity emerge. The globalized, finance-dominated configuration of capitalism can only survive by intensifying the appropriation of surplus values, societal wealth, increasing social and spatial inequality and exhausting natural resources and human creativity.
A fundamental tendency in this contemporary configuration of capitalism is the ambition of capital to extract rent income based on property monopolies. We can observe a conflation of profits and rents. Thus, the power of financial capital has taken the form of a global rentier regime. Such rent extracting strategies exist in many sectors of global capitalism. Transnational corporations appropriate rents based on their property monopolies and power in global production and innovation networks. This is particularly important in resource-based and knowledge-based industries. Financial companies use corporate, private and public debts to enforce permanent interest payments. The real estate sector is fundamentally based on rent income. The commodification of nature consists basically consists of rent extraction.
I argue that this generalized attempt of capital to extract rents is an answer to over-accumulation and challenges of profitability and realization of surplus. Rent extraction is also a process of centralization of capital. The paper aims at contributing to a concept of rent extraction that helps to identify key tendencies of current finance-dominated and stagnating capitalism.

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