Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy

By Ismael Hossein-zadeh and Anthony A. Gabb

In this article the authors explore how modern capitalism mirrors the feudal system of centuries ago where today, the banks are the feudal lords, and the general public play the part of peasants.

 

Under the feudal mode of production, peasants were often allowed to cultivate plots of land for themselves on a rental basis. However, those tenant farmers rarely succeeded in becoming landowners in their own rights because a major share of what they harvested was taken away by landlords as rent, often leaving them with a bare subsistence amount of what they produced. When the harvest was poor, they incurred debt. If peasants were unable to pay off their debts, they could find themselves reduced to the condition of serfs or slaves.

Today, under conditions of market dominance by parasitic finance capital, a similar relationship can be detected between the powerful financial oligarchs (as feudal lords of our time), on the one hand, and the public at large (as peasant population of today), on the other. In the same manner as the landed aristocracy of times past extracted rent by virtue of monopolistic ownership of land, so today the financial oligarchy extracts interest and other financial charges by virtue of having concentrated the major bulk of national resources in their hands in the form of finance capital.

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