Extractive Capitalism - Monopolistic Capitalism to Communism

I’ve seen a new to me term being used in support of collectivism and thought worth opening a discussion thread.
It appears in the most based sense, Extractive Capitalism is used to describe monopolistic behaviors within capitalist systems. In this regard, the term is hardly new by a surrogate for good old monopolistic behavior where those that can gain monopolistic control of goods and/or services can charge whatever they want. Control the oil supply and gasoline prices rise. Control the global Uranium supply and you can “extract” profits seemingly at will from nuclear energy.
In the current paradigm, the solution to this is quite simple - regulation or forced divestiture.
Perhaps one of the best descriptions of how monopolies can develop at exponential rates might be found at the Consilience Project (linked). The most clear cut examples are Big Tech such as Amazon (books, music, now consumer retail and cloud services) to Facebook (free, but harvests data and influences mass thinking for advertising revenues) to Google (search used to influence mass thinking for advertising). In the “old days”, creating resource or labor based monopolies move much more slowly and by nature was more transparent (big oil, auto makers, electricity generation, airlines,…) as physical assets in the world were deployed. And when companies became large enough, they were forced to divest as in the breakup of ATT.

Our classic approach to monopolies was to simply regulate them. As an example, no bank can have more than 10% market share in retail banking - Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank. In order to grow, they have to develop and deploy, or acquire, new service offerings.

Where seemingly now, instead of simply exercising the processes that have been “on the books” for decades, it seems the Left touts development of monopolies (aka Extractive Capitalism) as justification for complete overhaul of Western systems of governance. Interestingly this aligns with the Plan B mantras - Communism - that we’ve seen throughout the 100 years.

Is a complete “rewrite” of the US governance system required? Or can we simply “break up” the monopolies as we have been doing over the last century (coal, steel, rail, …)?
Would shift to a decidedly more Socialist or full Communist (Plan B collectivism) not be a hyper instantiation of “Extractive Capitalism”? Wouldn’t this simply be a shift from our current Liberal Democracy to a more arbitrary Oligarchy deciding “what’s too much, what’s just right”?

As far as I understand, that’s not right. Monopolies can be extractive, but not all extractive industries are monopolies. “Extractive capitalism” does not mean “companies that are too big and powerful”, it means industries that literally extract resources from ecosystems and communities, and convert those resources into capital without replenishing the communities or ecosystems those resources were extracted from – and usually externalizing the consequences of that extraction onto those communities and ecosystems.

“Extractive” is not shorthand for “monopoly”, it’s shorthand for “unsustainable”.

As Naomi Klein put it in her book, Capitalism vs. The Climate: “Extractivism ran rampant under colonialism because relating to the world as a frontier of conquest- rather than a home- fosters this particular brand of irresponsibility. The colonial mind nurtures the belief that there is always somewhere else to go to and exploit once the current site of extraction has been exhausted.”

Where have you seen this term being used to support collectivism/communism? Usually I see it being used in contrast to sustainable forms of capitalism, not communism. I usually hear it used in arguments about how we should stop using our tax code and subsidies to actively incentivize certain unsustainable industries (e.g. fossil fuels), and instead start incentivizing other industries (e.g. green tech). Which isn’t a “totally rewrite” as much a shifting of our current priorities, using incentive mechanisms that we’ve already been using for decades.

I do agree that we need to see more monopoly busting. The problem, as I understand it, is that many transnational corporations get around this through things like “vertical integration” (owning multiple industries across multiple different stages of production — sounds integral doesn’t it? LOL), regulatory capture (industry advocates being allowed to regulate their own industries), and whatnot.

This is also what is often meant by “late-stage capitalism”, which I really see as the inevitable consequences of neoliberal economic policy. Wealth inequality eventually concentrates power to the point where we all depend on a very small number of corporations for just about everything. After decades of buyouts, takeovers, and consolidations, a small handful of corporations own all our mainstream and social media platforms, our energy supplies, our food sources, our shopping destinations, our restaurants, our Main Street shops. And because these corporations have become so massive, they can easily outcompete with all those mom and pop stores that originally built the middle class in this country.

There are better forms of capitalism than the one our younger generations have inherited after these 40 years of neoliberal “supply side” economic policies. We don’t need to scrap capitalism altogether, we just need to retune it (as we’ve historically needed to do every 40 years or so) so that it’s more sustainable, creates more equal opportunities, and results in more equitable inequities.

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Thanks for the discussion @corey-devos

As with many of these “newer” terms, a redefinition of what current exists into newer nuanced narratives is clarity of definition.

Quick scan on youtube turns up Nick Hanauer’s TedX talk (linked). All the rest have view counts in the few hundreds. So whilst not an absolute validation on accuracy of definitions, I use view counts are a metric to estimate “reach of ideas”. i.e. More people have listened to Nanauer’s talk that anyone else on YT. Anyway, back to the definition. I will lead with a perhaps grim smile that Hanauer is a serial investor that started with family wealth and along with his brother has rolled into a Billionaire’s fortune. LOL.

The fundamental premise is he puts forth is that Extractive Capitalism springs forth from a Win-Lose unsustainable paradigm and that we need to move to a Win-Win sustainable paradigm.

In classic Plan B vs Plan A fashion everyone that I have heard discuss Extractive Capitalism is quick to judge “that’s Extractive Capitalism” yet cannot explain specifically where “Good” Capitalism turns into Extractive Capitalism.

What is clear is that Extractive Capitalism, which is quick to be used but slow to be defined, is bad, selfish, unsustainable, mean, evil, unfair, unequal, inequitable. It would seem Extractive is yet another of the every morphing terms used to describe something that is already very well defined.
This also seems to be a term that can we misused for specific agendas. Say the strip mine in Peru is “extractive” to the local population, get benefits the global community be enabling manufacture of batteries for EV’s - and we know that if we don’t do this really fast, the planet will explode.
So at some point, the “Existential Angst” comes into play - are we for or against Corporate Globalization or are we against Extractive Capitalism by mining companies in Peru?

Perhaps most appropriate in the of the Progressives thread, but would say that this is a perfect example of the Left creating new terms that simply are not necessary, yet seemingly are used as quasi-religious justification for whatever they’re agenda might be - increased government size, increased social welfare programs, fundamentally altering the government/economic relationship. The academics are of course also well supported/funded (oft by businesses or tax payers) in that it creates a new topic area for a dearth of quasi-intellectual likely peer reviewed publications.

Is it really any different than the religious zealot claiming “they’re bad just because” without ever defining what the “because” is?

How is using an ill defined highly judgemental term like, Extractive Capitalism, for social redesign fundamentally different than Marx’s Communist Manifesto?

Can you define what you mean by “collectivism”?
My straw man detector senses that you are just throwing out a word that you believe means “bad”.

Similarly here - which parts of the Manifesto do you disagree with?

Just to throw this out there - you can also have extractive Communism. I don’t think anyone informed in these issues would say that Capitalism is Extractive and Communism isn’t. Both have the potential to be and both have the potential to not be, and that is why hybrids form - because the extremes of both communism and capitalism are very undesirable.