Rentiership and Intellectual Monopoly in Contemporary Capitalism: Conceptual Challenges and Empirical Possibilities

Rentiership and Intellectual Monopoly in Contemporary Capitalism: Conceptual Challenges and Empirical Possibilities
Baines, Joseph and Hager, Sandy Brian. (2023). City Political Economy Research Centre Working Paper Series. No. 2023-04. May. pp. 1-43. (Article - Working Paper; English).

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The concepts of rentiership and intellectual monopoly have gained increased prominence in discussions about the transformation of global capitalism in recent years. However, there have been few if any attempts to construct measures for rentiership and intellectual monopoly using firm-level financial data. The absence of such work, we argue, is symptomatic of conceptual challenges in delineating what precisely qualifies as rent, intellectual or otherwise. In place of static conceptions of rent and intellectual monopoly, we develop a dynamic framework for analyzing the processes of rentierization and intellectual monopolization and apply this framework to the analysis of the transformation of non-financial firms in the United States since the 1950s. We find that the timing and intensity of rentierization and intellectual monopolization differs significantly across sector and firm size and is heavily mediated by the uneven ramifications of government policy across companies and industries. Overall, our framework illuminates the variegated landscape of corporate power in the US, and offers a useful guide for critically interrogating rentierization and intellectual monopolization in other contexts.



Publication Type

Article - Working Paper


capital accumulation competition degree of monopoly financialization intangibles intellectual property productivity profit United States rent scarcity


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Depositing User

Jonathan Nitzan

Date Deposited

27 May 2023 18:19

Last Modified

30 May 2023 19:13


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