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A World of Rents! Interrogating Rentier Capitalism 2: Property & Monopoly Rent

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Economic Geography Specialty Group
Organizers: Kean Birch, Sarah Knuth, Kelly Kay
Chairs: Renee Tapp


Organizers (alphabetical): Kean Birch (York University, Canada); Desiree Fields (University of California, Berkeley, USA); Kelly Kay (UCLA, USA); Sarah Knuth (University of Durham, UK); Jathan Sadowski (University of Sydney, Australia); Renee Tapp (Harvard University, USA); Callum Ward (UCL, UK)

Economic rents are usually characterized as a distortion of markets, a corruption of politics, or unearned (and undeserved) income; similar analytical and normative framings stretch across the political economic spectrum from right to left. Geographers are increasingly (re)engaging with the issue of rents, rent-seeking, and rentiership at different scales, in different places, and to different effects. While some focus on the emergence and development of new modes of rentier capitalism, others are more focused on mapping out the nitty-gritty, everyday practices entailed in the making of rents through the enclosure of assets. Across these different approaches is a common sense that, for those looking to extract value, a wide world of rents is beckoning — with all the problems it entails. These issues raise the following questions:

1. How are rentier relations manifesting within surveillance/digital/platform capitalism?
2. What models of rent-seeking and rentiership do we see emerging from the intersection of technology, real estate, land, and other interests? How are these rents being made?
3. How are (or are not) contemporary rentier relations connected to older forms of rent, rentiership, and rentier capitalism?
4. What political economies support the development of, and emerge from, this world of rents?
5. How are different social actors, regulations, and markets implicated in conflicts and contestations over redistributional rents?
6. How are rents and rent-seeking being positioned as matters of national, urban, and/or regional self-interest and economic strategy? Through what narratives and discursive devices are rent extraction being legitimated
7. In what ways has the increasing prevalence of rentiership been promoted or curbed by political struggle?
8. What difference does ‘nature’ and ‘materiality’ make to rent-seeking activities?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Zachary Arms*, Eastern Washington University, Class Monopoly Rent, Property Relations, and the Rise of the Homeless Epidemic in Seattle, USA 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Rachel Weber*, University of Illinois At Chicago, Anticipatory anxieties: Prediction, property speculation, and rentiership 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Elijah Hansen*, Eastern Washington University, Amageddon: The Unholy Trinity of Class-Monopoly Rent in the Emerald City 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Nicholas Revington*, University of Waterloo, Extracting Rent from the Life Course: The “Generationed” Nature of Class Monopoly Rent in the Student Housing Submarket 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Matthew Anderson*, Eastern Washington University, Class Monopoly Rent, Gentrification, and Portland’s Pearl District 15 12:00 AM

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