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How the Economy is Designed to Keep You Poor and Powerless
by Umair Haque
Posted May 1, 2021

capital keeps labor in debtOur economies are now divided into two classes, effectively. One, owners of capital — true owners. People who own their own homes, have no debt, and so on. And everyone else — a massive underclass of people who are neoserfs, perpetually in debt to the first class of owners. That first class of owners isn’t the mythical 10%, really — it’s a tiny, tiny class. It’s Bezos and Zuck and maybe their top lieutenants, people with truly vast wealth. They own so much that they could buy entire cities, if not countries, outright. Meanwhile, the average person effectively owns nothing across a lifetime, which is what “I’m going to die before I pay off all these debts” really means.

Now, that’s infuriating — and it’s also stupid. Economists and pundits love to lionise our modern economies as “the greatest wealth creation engines ever.” But the truth is that while people may have more creature comforts, in hard sociopolitical terms, they are still what they have always been: a dispossessed class of proles. Precisely because capital will not raise their incomes even to the point that they can comfortably afford a place of their own to live.

When you think about it that way, something is very very wrong with our economies. It shouldn’t be the case that you have to work a lifetime to pay off the debt of having the basics, from a home to utilities to education to healthcare. That’s as crazy as it sounds — not much of a life at all. More…