petej + rentism   17

Airbnb and Uber’s sharing economy is one route to dotcommunism | Comment is free | The Guardian
"The sharing model is in its infancy, and there are plenty of me-too businesses trying to make it work in other sectors (cars, bikes, high-end cameras, etc). And, beyond the issues of consent – as in Barcelona – it poses two challenges. First, however brilliant these new models are, they cannot produce exponential growth. It is technology in the service of squeezing out the final drops of value from something, rather than infinite expansion.

Second, who owns the upside? Once the platforms to rent out things, services or time are stable, textbook economics states that the cost of using them should fall. So, what if you applied the sharing principle without seeking a profit at all? What if these very platforms could be taken over by society and repurposed so that all the benefit went to the consumer or to society itself? The socialists of the early 20th century eyed monopolies like Vail’s with optimism: take them over and their highly organised and unitary status means you can use them to run the economy. Today, if you wanted to re-order the economy to deliver participation and choice alongside social justice, it’s the sharing models you would start from."
economics  sharing  economy  rents  rentiership  Airbnb  Uber  networks  networking  businessModels  communism  ownership  dctagged  dc:creator=MasonPaul  sharingEconomy  rentism 
june 2015 by petej
Thomas Piketty's real challenge was to the FT's Rolex types | Comment is free | The Guardian
"n the end, Piketty did not claim there had been a vast increase in wealth disparities since the 1970s. Piketty's prediction is that the moderate rise in inequality under neoliberalism is set to gather pace in the 21st century, taking us back to Victorian levels by 2050. His prediction is based on simple maths: if growth is low, and the bargaining power of labour low, and the returns on capital high, then it is more logical to sit on assets and speculate rather than accumulate wealth by work, invention or entrepreneurial risk. Piketty asks the question that mainstream economics doesn't want to answer: do we want a society based on work and ingenuity or on rent? It's not an academic question. Figures from Lloyds Private Bank show UK asset wealth grew from £4.7tn to £7.8tn in the decade to 2013, with most of that generated by the rising value of financial portfolios, and all wealth growing faster than incomes and inflation. If Piketty's figures are wrong, the probable cause – beyond the odd transcription error – is a mild overestimation of a clear trend, generated in an attempt to uncover modern capitalism's guilty secret. If the FT's figures are wrong, it is because they rely on those of governments that have become – as Peter Mandelson once put it – "intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich". But the most important question is the future: if Piketty is right then we have to "euthanase" the rentier class all over again. Only taxes on current wealth – and an end to opaque "wealth management" trails that end up in Switzerland or Cyprus – will prevent capitalism generating levels of social inequality that destroy it."
PikettyThomas  FinancialTimes  economics  inequality  capitalism  data  wealth  poverty  rentiers  tax  taxAvoidance  taxation  dctagged  dc:creator=MasonPaul  rent  rentism 
may 2014 by petej

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