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The Limits of Capitalism: the Rent-Seeking Society as a Global Alternative

The Limits of Capitalism: the Rent-Seeking Society as a Global Alternative

Journal of Institutional Studies, , Vol. 12 (no. 4),

The natural limits of capitalism are expressed not only in the global suspension of economic growth, which has been considered endless. It is also a crisis of its non-economic legitimization, of those political forms that have made possible smoothing of inequality generated by capitalism. The nation-state, the model of social state and representative democracy were the mechanisms of access for the most citizens to the fruits of the economic growth generated by capitalism. However, the growth limits of available public resources did not significantly change the strategies of political and economic elites. Attempts to redistribute the non-growing public pie were expressed in neoliberal rhetoric; devaluation of the political nation model as co-citizenship; reduction of forms of social policy; the crisis of democracy, expressed in a return to its narrow interpretation as Schumpeterian competition of the elites. The tendencies related to the fact that the elites would like to keep receiving an additional piece of the public pie at the expense of the majority, reinforce inequality and deprive capitalism of convincing value-institutional regulation that have earlier ensured its stable existence. There is a growing demand in society for return to a more egalitarian model of the distribution of public resources. Its options are less and less associated with capitalism as a society dominated by market metaphor that ideologically represents modernity, but for many reasons has ceased to provide acceptable prospects for the majority. It seems that rental society is becoming an alternative to capitalism without economic growth and with a shrinking labor market. In the rental society, the key mechanisms of stratification and access to resources are again moving from the market to the nation-state, non-market types of public exchanges are strengthening, and social policy is striving for a model of basic unconditional income. The room for social construction is reduced to local utopias and virtues of various minorities, while populism becomes the dominant form of political discourse, which instead of decaying economic classes turns to the majority and is compatible with both the right and the left political value systems.


Keywords: capitalism; post-capitalism; limits of growth; legitimation; democracy; inequality; political form; populism; market society; rent society; utopia

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