10 Tips for Making Beautiful Charts

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. In science, the corollary is that a good chart is worth a whole article. Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration … but only slightly. Millions of words are spilled each day communicating science. Yet people have finite time […]

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Why America Won’t Be ‘Great’ Again

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down They called him the ‘Little Emperor’. Romulus Augustus — better known as Romulus ‘Augustulus’ (‘Little Augustus’) — was the last Western Roman Emperor. He assumed the throne at the age of 16 during a period of unprecedented strife. There had been 8 emperors in the previous 20 […]

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Bichler and Nitzan, ‘Unbridgeable: why political economists cannot accept capital as power’

ABSTRACT The theory of capital as power (CasP) is radically different from conventional political economy. In the conventional view, mainstream as well as heterodox, capital is seen a ‘real’ economic entity engaged in the production of goods and services, and capitalism is thought of as a mode of production and consumption. Finance in this approach […]

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2021/03: Bichler and Nitzan, ‘The 1-2-3 Toolbox of Mainstream Economics: Promising Everything, Delivering Nothing’

ABSTRACT We write this essay for both lay readers and scientists, though mainstream economists are welcome to enjoy it too. Our subject is the basic toolbox of mainstream economics. The most important tools in this box are demand, supply and equilibrium. All mainstream economists – as well as many heterodox ones – use these tools, […]

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Big money, nuclear subsidies, and systemic corruption

By Cassandra Jeffery1 and M. V. Ramana2 The “largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people and the state of Ohio” came to light during an unexpected press conference in July 2020 in Columbus. Speaking haltingly and carefully, US Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers announced “the arrest of Larry Householder, […]

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2021/02: Fix, ‘Living the good life in a non-growth world: Investigating the role of hierarchy’

ABSTRACT Humanity’s most pressing need is to learn how to live within our planet’s boundaries — something that likely means doing without economic growth. How, then, can we create a non-growth society that is both just and equitable? I attempt to address this question by looking at an aspect of sustainability (and equity) that is […]

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2021/01: Mouré, ‘Soft-wars: The Differential Trajectories of Google and Microsoft – a Capital as Power Analysis’

ABSTRACT FROM THE ARTICLE: According to the capital as power framework, pecuniary earnings, or profits, are a symbolic representation of the struggle for power between different capitalist groups. In this struggle, capitalists measure their own power differentially – that is, relative to other capitalist entities. The focus on differential power, expressed in differential earnings, leads […]

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Lucas, ‘Risking the earth, parts 1 and 2’

ABSTRACT This two-part paper details the arguments and evidence that have been marshalled by both climate scientists and social scientists to critique the current procedures and methodologies deployed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to represent the risks of anthropogenic forcing and a […]

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Baines and Hager, ‘Commodity Traders in a Storm: Financialization, Corporate Power and Ecological Crisis’

ABSTRACT Commodity trading firms occupy a central position in global supply chains and their activities have been associated with financial instability, social upheaval and manifold forms of ecological devastation. This paper examines these companies in the context of debates regarding corporate financialization. We find that since the 2003–2011 commodity boom, trading firms have become less […]

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GameStop Capitalism: Wall Street vs. The Reddit Rally (Part 1)

Tim Di Muzio1 PDF version available here The phrase, ‘there’s a sucker born every minute’ is typically attributed to the American showman, P.T. Barnum and was made infamous since the mid-19th century by gamblers, hucksters and confidence artists (con men). On Wall Street, the ‘sucker’ is supposed to be the ‘dumb money’ retail traders who […]

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Economic Growth Theory … Bah Humbug!

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down I’ve written a lot on this blog about the absurdity of marginal productivity theory. But I haven’t said much about the other pillar of mainstream economics: neoclassical growth theory. Today I’ll break that silence. Neoclassical growth theory is a textbook example of Murphy’s law. Everything that could […]

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McMahon, ‘Selling Hollywood to China’

ABSTRACT From the 1980s to the present, Hollywood’s major distributors have been able to redistribute U.S. theatrical attendance to the advantage of their biggest blockbusters and franchises. At the global scale and during the same period, Hollywood has been leveraging U.S. foreign power to break ground in countries that have historically protected and supported their […]

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Baines and Hager, ‘The Great Debt Divergence and its Implications for the Covid-19 Crisis: Mapping Corporate Leverage as Power’

ABSTRACT The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified longstanding concerns about mounting levels of corporate debt in the United States. This article places the current conjuncture in its historical context, analysing corporate indebtedness against the backdrop of increasing corporate concentration. Theorising leverage as a form of power, we find that the leverage of large non-financial firms increased […]

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