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Class-monopoly rent, finance capital and the urban revolution

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Harvey D. (1974) Class-monopoly rent, finance capital and the urban revolution, Reg. Studies 8, 239–255. This paper seeks to establish the significance of class-monopoly rent to the urbanization process. The concept of “class-monopoly rent” describes any situation in which the rate of return to a class of providers of an urban resource (such as housing) is set by the outcome of conflict with a class of consumers of that resource. The Baltimore case shows that such situations are structured by the policies of various financial institutions and that geographically distinct housing sub-markets—within which identifiable community groups live—are created as a result. Residential differentiation is thus necessary to the realization of class-monopoly rent, and class-monopoly rent provides the necessary incentive structure for the urbanization process to proceed. The process can become unbalanced because there are multiplier effects internal to it (speculation in the inner city can increase the demand for suburban housing, for example). Changes in residential structure, many of which involve community conflict, result from the realization of class-monopoly rent. By way of conclusion, it is suggested that the hegemonic power of finance capital is the controlling influence over the urbanization process and that many aspects of community conflict in an urban society are to be interpreted as a manifestation of class struggle around the realization of class-monopoly rent.
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Keywords: Class conflict; Class monopoly rent; Finance capital; Monopoly; Rent; Revolution, urban

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University

Publication date: November 1, 1974

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