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Constraining factors may change over time, but an elephant in the discussion room may remain unnoticed. Henry George was quite right that labour and capital are not foes but rather on the same side against the rentier elephant. It is only the rentier whose gain is not bounded by objective need, and has the power to take basically all surplus. The rentier institutions, however abstract, are gaining particularly much power and privileges lately. They quietly might reach soon a neo-feudal breakthrough of historical proportions.
by das monde on Tue Dec 14th, 2010 at 03:36:10 AM EST
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The rentier must always endeavour to place himself in command of the constraining factor of production - that's the only place where rent can be extracted. You have to have a choke point before you can put up a toll booth. Henry George wrote at a time and place where land speculation was rampant. This tends to be associated with financial instruments being the rent-enabling factor of production. His proposed fix addresses the symptoms by attempting to remove the incentive to speculate in land.

I'm not sure that it's possible to remove rentiers from the political economy altogether - and even if it is, I'm not convinced that it's worth the trouble. In my considered opinion, it's more important to make sure that the rent-seekers aren't banksters - because they are quite uniquely good at finding new and creative ways to blow up economies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 14th, 2010 at 04:16:15 AM EST
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