How the Rentier Class Cannibalizes the Economy – Book Excerpt – Truthdig

Bankers know that whatever the tax collector does not take will be left available to pay interest to lenders. Developers bid against each other with regard to the size of the mortgage they will pay the lender, and hence the volume of mortgage debt service they will pay their banker out of rent. This bidding normally continues up to the point where all the available net rental income over costs is paid in the form of interest.

Mortgage lending commonly provides from 80 to 100 percent of the property’s purchase price (or even more as seen in the bubble Economy’s years leading up to the September 2008 crash). This is a highly leveraged rate—it has a high debt/equity ratio. This kind of mortgage debt pyramiding provided the model for junk-bond financing used by corporate raiders in the 1980s, and for the flood of public assets being privatized in Britain, continental Europe and Third World countries. The distinguishing feature of such purchases of real estate, corporations or public entities already in place is that new loans are attached without creating new tangible investment. Instead of new tangible-capital formation there is more typically a downsizing and carve-up as revenue is used to pay interest and amortization up to the maximum extent available over and above operating costs.

The fact is “post-industrial” practice made this dynamic quite different from that which optimists envisioned at the outset of the Industrial Revolution. Instead of mobilizing savings to fund new means of production, today’s banking system merely is loading the economy’s assets down with debt. What seem to be occurring is functionally akin to the pre-industrial mode of lending. The difference is that pre-industrial usury was dominated by individual family lenders, but the new post-industrial debt system is occurring on a large, corporate scale. It has merged with industry primarily to the extent that the financial sector has gained control of the economy’s manufacturing companies, treating them like real estate to squeeze out as large a rentier income as possible and then sell the companies off for a capital gain.

via How the Rentier Class Cannibalizes the Economy – Book Excerpt – Truthdig.

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