In the United States, delinquent credit lines as a share of both total consumer, auto loan, and credit card debt steadily grew over the last two and half years. Over the same period, residential-mortgage delinquencies rapidly declined, essentially returning to their pre-2007 levels. These divergent trends point to the relative financial security of upper-income and the increasing fragility of lower-income households prior to the pandemic. How are working families in America getting by in the midst of a capitalist crisis unlike any other?
It is of course true that monopoly power is not unique to rentierism. It frequently characterizes other forms of capitalist enterprise as well. But rentierism is distinctive insofar as it is the form of capitalism to which monopoly power is inherent. Monopoly infuses the way in which rentier assets are owned and controlled. And it infuses the manner in which such assets are commercialized to generate rental income. In short, the rentier sweats monopoly from every pore. And that is the problem.