By JC Collins
The unfolding revelations about corruption in the American political and media establishments are reflective of the process of self-limiting of rent seeking. POM readers will recall that I used this term frequently in the first year and half of writing and providing analysis. The need for using such a phrase and understanding its broader meaning and purpose may not have seen as relevant back then as it does now. But the expanded awareness and competency which comes with the term is useful in understanding the deeper purpose and function of what is currently taking place within the American establishment.
The term rent seeking is often misconstrued through a casual reading, but Wikipedia offers a competent definition which will serve our purpose:
“Rent-seeking is an attempt to obtain economic rent (i.e., the portion of income paid to a factor of production in excess of what is needed to keep it employed in its current use) by manipulating the social or political environment in which economic activities occur, rather than by creating new wealth. Rent-seeking implies extraction of uncompensated value from others without making any contribution to productivity. The classic example of rent-seeking, according to Robert Shiller, is that of a feudal lord who installs a chain across a river that flows through his land and then hires a collector to charge passing boats a fee (or rent of the section of the river for a few minutes) to lower the chain. There is nothing productive about the chain or the collector. The lord has made no improvements to the river and is helping nobody in any way, directly or indirectly, except himself. All he is doing is finding a way to make money from something that used to be free.”
“In many market-driven economies, much of the competition for rents is legal, regardless of harm it may do to an economy. However, some rent-seeking competition is illegal – such as bribery or corruption.”
“Rent-seeking is distinguished in theory from profit-seeking, in which entities seek to extract value by engaging in mutually beneficial transactions. Profit-seeking in this sense is the creation of wealth; while rent-seeking is the use of social institutions, such as the power of government to redistribute wealth among different groups without creating new wealth. In a practical context, income obtained through rent-seeking may contribute to profits in the standard, accounting sense of the word.”
One of the fundamental arguments which Donald Trump is making in this election is that the US government has gone so deep into debt with nothing to see for it. No infrastructure improvements and re-investment into the American people while the establishment, personified through the Clinton scams, has become even wealthier through no means of production. This is the textbook definition of rent-seeking.
In the earlier days of POM I suggested that the elites and establishment would implement forms of self-limiting of rent seeking. This would be mandates and regulations which would begin to reverse the process of rampant rent seeking and end corruption in government and banking. This process would align with the transformation of the international monetary system to the more multilateral framework.
The hegemonic nature of the USD unipolar system gave opportunity for massive rent seeking by the American establishment. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 this establishment has been fleecing the masses and exporting violence around the world. The methodology which developed from those covert policies was advanced with the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. The elevation of the US dollar to primary international reserve status promoted further rent seeking and corruption within the American establishment.
Through each generation, and waxing and waning of political party influence, the rent seeking wound itself tighter and tighter around the growing American establishment. The corruption ran deeper and deeper until the web of lies and falsehoods infected both main political parties and associated corporate interests. Eventually all divisions were consolidated under one corrupt establishment.
The framework of rent seeking and seed of corruption had been established in the 19th Century as the divisions between the Democratic and Republican parties further fragmented the novice American culture. These divisions and subsequent dialectic conditioning ensured the self-corruption of the republic.
The reversal of rent seeking has to take place through a process of self-limiting. The on-going investigation into the Clinton emails, Clinton Foundation, and other forthcoming announcements from the FBI will force the Department of Justice to take the action which it has been attempting to stall and avoid.
Whatever the source of this self-limiting within the American establishment, the result will be the end of massive corruption. WikiLeaks and other methods of forcing information to the surface have been factored into the Trump campaign, and the unfolding strategy to remove the heads of the establishment from positions of power in government was likely designed before Donald Trump even announced his candidacy. It is beginning to appear like the establishment, and its representatives in media, have been lead along a well-designed path of exposure and removal.
The policies which Trump has laid out for his first 100 days in office are well designed to evolve the self-limiting of rent seeking. The limitations of government officials becoming lobbyists for 5 years after leaving office, along with the reduction of cleverly crafted regulations, will serve this purpose and begin the process of reversing rampant corruption. All of which will align with the restructuring of the international monetary and geopolitical frameworks.
The other aspect of this self-limiting will manifest as international momentum to hold the American establishment accountable for the war crimes it has committed over the last 100 years. Back in March of 2015 I published a post titled The Coming Western Tribunals, which made the case for widespread criminal charges against America for everything from dropping atomic bombs on Japan to the invasion of Iraq.
It is interesting, and not a coincidence, that it is being reported today that the International Criminal Court will be opening a probe into American war crimes in Afghanistan. This will begin after the election and is also likely a part of the larger strategy of reversing the rent seeking and corruption which the American establishment has spread around the world.
The image we first painted three years ago regarding this large transformation of how the world functions is now unfolding in real time. Corruption can never be fully eliminated but can be reduced and managed better than it has in our lifetime.
The alignment between the Trump campaign and external forces, such as Russia, on removing the threat of a world war should also not be considered a coincidence. The American establishment has been attempting to hang on to power and control regional access to resources around the world. This has increased the risk of a larger war between the major players.
As I have stated for three years, I do not believe this larger war will take place. The removal of the establishment representatives from positions of power was always the game plan. The threat is real but the response of those within America to remove and reduce the corruption is equally as real. Most recognize that this is not the same old political election game playing out. There is something fundamentally different this time around, and it crept up on the American population with stealth and a design which is amazing to witness.
It is extremely challenging to predict all the moving pieces in advance, but having a competent understanding of the larger process is vital to interpreting the more complex individual components as they unfold and transform the American domestic landscape.
The next week is sure to bring more revelations and fireworks. The post-election time period leading up to the inauguration is ripe for false flags and counter moves. The new rising American establishment will have to remain vigilant and steadfast in its rebuilding of the republic. – JC