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Welcome to the Crazed, Frantic Demise of Finance Capitalism

Welcome to the Crazed, Frantic Demise of Finance Capitalism

The cognitive dissonance required to ignore the widening gap between the real economy and the fraud’s basic machinery–speculation funded by “money” conjured out of thin air–has reached a level of denial that can only be termed psychotic.

When scams start unraveling, the scammers become increasingly frantic to maintain the illusion of legitimacy and the delusion of guaranteed gains that are the lifeblood of every scam. One sure sign that the flim-flam is about to collapse is the manic rise of FOMO, fear of missing out, as the scammers jam the Ponzi scheme’s stellar returns to new extremes.What greedy human can resist guaranteed gains, especially of the enviously grandiose variety?

The greatest scam of the past century is unraveling before our eyes. I’m calling it finance capitalism as a general descriptor of the dominant form of what’s called “capitalism” because calling it what it actually is–a fraud that’s destroyed the foundations of our economy and society–is, well, a much more difficult sell than “capitalism,” which still has some faint echoes of the open markets, etc. that characterized traditional capitalism, which I call naive capitalism because it is incapable of differentiating between the parasitic, predatory finance version cloaking itself as “capitalism” and actual capitalism, in which capital is put at risk, markets are transparent, etc.There are many labels for the distorted, corrupted “capitalism” that dominates our economy and society: I’ve long used state-cartel capitalism, others prefer monopoly capitalism or crony capitalism.

I now favor finance capitalism because the heart of the fraud is finance: printing “money” out of thin air without creating any value or any goods and services. If you can’t print “money,” then borrow it into existence–that’s just as profitable a fraud as printing it.

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“Creating Wealth” Through Debt: the West’s Finance-Capitalist Road 

“Creating Wealth” Through Debt: the West’s Finance-Capitalist Road 

Photo source David Shankbone | CC BY 2.0

Volumes II and III of Marx’s Capital describe how debt grows exponentially, burdening the economy with carrying charges. This overhead is subjecting today’s Western finance-capitalist economies to austerity, shrinking living standards and capital investment while increasing their cost of living and doing business. That is the main reason why they are losing their export markets and becoming de-industrialized.

What policies are best suited for China to avoid this neo-rentier disease while raising living standards in a fair and efficient low-cost economy? The most pressing policy challenge is to keep down the cost of housing. Rising housing prices mean larger and larger debts extracting interest out of the economy. The strongest way to prevent this is to tax away the rise in land prices, collecting the rental value for the government instead of letting it be pledged to the banks as mortgage interest.

The same logic applies to public collection of natural resource and monopoly rents. Failure to tax them away will enable banks to create debt against these rents, building financial and other rentier charges into the pricing of basic needs.

U.S. and European business schools are part of the problem, not part of the solution. They teach the tactics of asset stripping and how to replace industrial engineering with financial engineering, as if financialization creates wealth faster than the debt burden. Having rapidly pulled ahead over the past three decades, China must remain free of rentier ideology that imagines wealth to be created by debt-leveraged inflation of real-estate and financial asset prices.

Western capitalism has not turned out the way that Marx expected. He was optimistic in forecasting that industrial capitalists would gain control of government to free economies from unnecessary costs of production in the form of rent and interest that increase the cost of living (and hence, the break-even wage level).

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When Capitalism Turns to Cannibalism

When Capitalism Turns to Cannibalism

With authentic growth scarce, there’s no other way to reap huge profits but cannibalism.

When people say “capitalism has failed” or “capitalism has succeeded,” we have to ask: what type of capitalism do you mean? Authentic capitalism, in which capital is placed at risk to earn a return in a competitive, transparent marketplace, or do you mean cartel-state capitalism, or crony-capitalism, or monopoly capitalism or finance capitalism, i.e. the types that dominate the global economy?

As long as most startups crash and burn, and anyone with a few bucks and plenty of inner drive can start an enterprise, authentic capitalism still lives. But let’s face it, authentic capitalism occupies a diminishing corner of the U.S. and global economies.

With a work force of 150 million and around 120 million fulltime workers, the U.S. economy has about 6 million small businesses with employees and a few million self-employed (sole proprietors) who earn a middle-class livelihood: Endangered Species: The Self-Employed Middle Class.

The political and financial influence of small business and the self-employed barely registers on K Street, Wall Street and in Washington D.C. Politicos praise small business in the same way they speak of small family farms as the backbone of American agriculture–as a form of pandering for PR purposes while they pocket the big campaign contributions from Monsanto and Big Ag.

Meanwhile, in the real world, small business is in decline while corporate money floods the financial sector and Washington D.C.

The Washington Post published a study that found U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster than they’re being created. While not exactly a surprise, this is sobering evidence that small enterprise is in structural decline:

The 22.4 million with some self-employment income looks like a big number, but most earn a pittance: only a relative few earn what qualifies as a middle-class income, and 3 million of these are professional-sector corporations or partnerships:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

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