Okay, so I make no bones about my disdain for the festival of rent-seeking and lobbying that is the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos. The top of the worlds hierarchies, governments, their corporate whores and bastard children the lobbyists meet, and, as Adam Smith wrote nearly 250 years ago now:
“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public”
But every so often, somebody pops up to speak truth to power, to tell these emperors their clothes are threadbare at best. Prize for this year goes to a session with economists Ricardo Hausmann and Guy Standing about the current age of “Rentier Capitalism”. Rent goes much, much further than just land. It is extracted through all natural resource use, for sure, but also from the ability to manipulate government and through intellectual property – one of the four great monopolies the original “Mutualists” (and Henry George) railed against.
Enjoy. Hat tip to Frank de Jong for spotting it.