In this landmark book, the author of The New Enclosure provides a forensic examination and sweeping critique of early-twenty-first-century capitalism. Brett Christophers styles this as ‘rentier capitalism’, in which ownership of key types of scarce assets – such as land, intellectual property, natural resources, or digital platforms – is all-important and dominated by a few unfathomably wealthy companies and individuals: rentiers. If a small elite owns today’s economy, everybody else foots the bill.
Nowhere is this divergence starker, Christophers shows, than in the United Kingdom, where the prototypical ills of rentier capitalism – vast inequalities combined with entrenched economic stagnation – are on full display and have led the country inexorably to the precipice of Brexit. With profound lessons for other countries subject to rentier dominance, Christophers’ examination of the UK case is indispensable to those wanting not just to understand this insidious economic phenomenon but to overcome it. Frequently invoked but never previously analysed and illuminated in all its depth and variety, rentier capitalism is here laid bare for the first time.