Change in the Age of Parasitic Capitalism

Michael Stephens | March 29, 2012

In his latest policy note, C. J. Polychroniou argues that the political and economic dominance of finance is pushing advanced liberal societies to a breaking point:

The main problem is the power that finance capitalism exerts over domestic society and the abuses that it inflicts. Finance capitalism is economically unproductive (it does not create true wealth), socially parasitic (it lives off the revenues produced by other sectors of the economy), and politically antidemocratic (it restricts the distribution of wealth, creates unparalleled inequality, and fights for exclusive privileges). At the turn of the 20th century, finance capitalism … was still seeking to bring industry under its control and exercised its brutal power largely on undemocratic societies overseas. By the late 1970s, it can safely be said that finance capitalism had subjugated industry at home and took control of government power in the same manner that the great industrialists of the 19th and 20th centuries were able to influence public policy. The difference is that finance capitalism has no vested interest in seeing the living standards of ordinary people improve, and regards any public intervention as an attack on its freedom to exploit society‚Äôs economic and financial resources as it sees fit. Industrial capitalism was a progressive stage of economic development relative to agrarian capitalism and feudalism. …. But the dominance of finance capitalism represents a setback for society as a whole.

Read the rest here.


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