Usage By Marxists
In the early works of Karl Marx the term "rentier" was used juxtaposed to a "capitalist" to show that a rentier essentially uses up all of his profit, whereas a capitalist is forced to invest most of the surplus value to survive competition. He wrote, "Therefore, the means of the extravagant rentier diminish daily in inverse proportion to the growing possibilities and temptations of pleasure. He must, therefore, either consume his capital himself, and in so doing bring about his own ruin, or become an industrial capitalist...." However, he soon arrives to the understanding of capitalism as inherently built upon practices of usury and thus inevitably leading to the separation of society into two classes: one composed of those who produce value and the other, which feeds upon the first one. In Theories of Surplus-Value he wrote "...that interest (in contrast to industrial profit) and rent (that is the form of landed property created by capitalist production itself) are superfetations which are not essential to capitalist production and of which it can rid itself. If this bourgeois ideal were actually realisable, the only result would be that the whole of the surplus-value would go to the industrial capitalist directly, and society would be reduced (economically) to the simple contradiction between capital and wage-labour, a simplification which would indeed accelerate the dissolution of this mode of production." This concept was later widely used by Vladimir Lenin when he explained the economic underpinnings of imperialism: "Hence the extraordinary growth of a class, or rather, of a stratum of rentiers, i.e., people who live by “clipping coupons”, who take no part in any enterprise whatever, whose profession is idleness. The export of capital, one of the most essential economic bases of imperialism, still more completely isolates the rentiers from production and sets the seal of parasitism on the whole country that lives by exploiting the labour of several overseas countries and colonies." It is, therefore, clear that the term "rentier capitalism" could not be coined by Marxists simply because of redundancy of the words composing it. Capitalism was perceived as inherently "rentier", or usury-based, and was said to lead eventually to its demise precisely because of this inner deficiency in its organization.
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