"Houses that saved the World"
This is the title of an editorial from the Economist. "They (houses) protected the entire world economy from a profound recession". In 2001, for example, the United States went through their worse industrial crisis since the thirties, thus achieving minimum profits and investments during seventy years, resulting in some extra millions of unemployed. Besides, despite their massive recovery during the latest months, the whole amount of stock exchange shares is still 25% lower than two years ago and almost all 275 million US inhabitants are directly or indirectly shareowners. Despite all this, Americans' consumptions have on average increased. How can that be?
Simple: those capitals that were "left free within society" were classically invested in the brick, as it is said in Italy. The average price of all US estates has had a 9% increase, in real terms, during a year's time. You can all imagine what a huge figure this represents. England follows very closely. The same phenomenon, though less strikingly, has occurred in all the other countries of the developed world, except in Germany and Japan, where prices have gone down. Another relevant fact is that the average rapport between income and home expenditure has everywhere increased during the latest twenty years, except in the US and England.
From our point of view, house value is the same as before, it is only its price that has gone up. To be even more precise, once builders and owners have already cashed during a length of period necessary to rebuild the anticipated value plus profit, the value of many houses is practically zero. Despite everything, even centuries later, estates bring rent into their owners' pockets. Since rent and interest represent profit taken away from industrial capitalists, this salvation of the world seems like something utterly contradictory.
The world stock exchange markets had witnessed a huge collapse in prices that, however, as extended during a period of time, had not caused the same panic as a sudden crack. Still, it had cancelled and diverted extensive amounts of capital. Therefore, profit had been cancelled and diverted, too, since even workers' savings are no salaries but others' capital while not being spent. As regards to capitalism, the trouble is that profit is easily converted into rent; it's normal, however rent is converted into profit only as surplus of a rentier, which means in case a rentier went to the bank and deposit his surplus from his consumptions and the bank lent this capital for investment purposes. In any case, part of the new profit would pay interest to the bank, which in turn would give a portion to the rentier and so on. This mechanism leads to the following of Marx's statements: " The higher the development of a civilisation of a country, the bigger the tribute society makes in the form of over-profits to the rentier class". Of course, we are aware that capitalists' over-profit means higher surplus drawn out of the proletarians' work in their firms.
Anyway, the difference between behaviours of the American rent and the English one compared to the German and Japanese ones, shows us one of the communist assumptions regarding the roots of imperialism and struggle among the imperialist countries: being rent ultimately plusvalue, as regards to capital globalisation, capitalists' competition war in sharing it among themselves is moving further and further from within single countries to the international scene. Naturally, the price of properties becomes money only during their sale, which, for the majority of a country property stock, does not certainly take place every day. However, from the value point of view, there is absolutely no difference between money, shares or properties, as transformation into a different equivalent occurs only during sales and anyway value is warranted by subscribed rules under the aegis of authorities, that is to say State laws.
If international plusvalue that was once circulating as shares is, at a certain point, fixed on American or English properties rather than German and Japanese ones, whatever its sharing mechanism, it means that Anglo-Saxon imperialism has actually got hold of others' plus value, by now guaranteed by the power of the highest imperialism.