Say I was a freelance salesman. I buy and sell expensive things that I can't afford. I line up the deal and make it happen. This month it's a cruise ship. It costs $500 million from the manufacturer in Amsterdam, but I can get a client in Dubai to pay $504 million delivered. I get a short term-loan which costs me $200k, plus short-term insurance for $400k. I buy the boat where it is for asking price, and pay $2.7mil to deliver it to the customer.
I made $700k on the deal, not bad. I moved more than half a billion. The _revenue_ number is huge but mostly irrelevant from my personal perspective. Almost all of it was money that was never mine, that I never made.
“ …today, a tiny minority of people and corporate interests across the world are accumulating vast wealth and power from rental income, not only from housing and land but from a range of other assets, natural and created. ‘Rentiers’ of all kinds are in unparalleled ascendancy and the neo-liberal state is only too keen to oblige their greed.
Rentiers derive income from ownership, possession or control of assets that are scarce or artificially made scarce. Most familiar is rental income from land, property, mineral exploitation or financial investments, but other sources have grown too. They include the income lenders gain from debt interest; income from ownership of ‘intellectual property’ (such as patents, copyright, brands and trademarks); capital gains on investments; ‘above normal’ company profits (when a firm has a dominant market position that allows it to charge high prices or dictate terms); income from government subsidies; and income of financial and other intermediaries derived from third-party transactions.”
- Prof. Guy Standing, The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay