Low Capex, High Market Cap: A New High for Corporate Sabotage?

November 29, 2013

Found amongst some recent market commentary the chart above seems to be quite striking evidence in favour of the Capital as Power framework. The data series have been put together by the investment bank UBS, based on their broad (though not comprehensive) global stock coverage. UBS has charted two lines: a) the stock market returns … Read more

The Weekly Sabotage: Week 1

November 28, 2013

Welcome to a weekly investigation into the fascinating world of corporate sabotage where human creativity, cooperation, mutual aid and well-being are all held ransom for the profit and power of dominant owners. Every week this column will explore various aspects of what Veblen called ‘strategic sabotage’.  But first, a bit of context. It appears that … Read more

The Market Disapproves of Rob Ford

November 20, 2013

The market has spoken: it disapproves of Rob Ford. A Bloomberg article notes that Toronto’s borrowing costs have risen relative to those of other Canadian municipalities.  The determinants of bond prices are complex. Broadly, they  translate the confidence of market participants in the ability of the borrower to service their debt. This is why it … Read more

Discussion: The Ups and Downs of Empirical Research

October 24, 2013

It is exciting to see this website grow. Content is being added here and there, and our Working Paper Series has its first paper. What already stands out on this website, in my opinion, is the strength of the empirical research. With our feet planted in society itself, we have before us a great big … Read more

Neither here nor there, both here and there

October 8, 2013

The media is notoriously short sighted. Its reports on recent events are largely devoid of any historical consideration. This is equally true of market reports. Despite not putting market events into a historical setting, the journalists do not hesitate to offer reasons for the day’s price movements. Usually, some high profile event over the days … Read more

Colour Coded Gender

September 29, 2013

Girls wear pink. Boys wear blue. This seemingly universal gender dichotomy is actually a very recent invention, as this post on smithsonian.com makes clear. At the end of the 19th century, most boys and girls were dressed in ‘gender neutral’ white dresses. These were considered a practical option, convenient for play and easily bleached. Although … Read more

Visualizing Racial Segregation in America

September 10, 2013

Wired has published a series of maps that try to visualize racial segregation in many of America’s biggest cities. From Wired: “The [maps], created by Dustin Cable at University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, is stunningly comprehensive. Drawing on data from the 2010 U.S. Census, it shows one dot per person, color-coded by … Read more

Big Business, small businesses, Death & Profits

August 29, 2013

‘Ask a Mortician’ is a quirky and informative Youtube series with mortician Caitlin Doughty. The most recent video touches on the political economy of the funeral business. The question is based on an anti-funeral business rant on Reddit and asks: “Is the Funeral Industry a Pyramid Scheme?” Doughty quickly sets aside the misleading use of … Read more

Labouring in College Sports

August 21, 2013

Sports writer Patrick Hruby offers a breakdown of recent turmoil over the possibility that Texas A&M football star Johnny Manziel broke college sports rules pertaining to the payment of athletes. The piece provides some insights into the complicated political economy of U.S. American college sports. Billions of dollars circulate around athletes who are prohibited from … Read more

Paying for attention

August 20, 2013

The media company 21st Century Fox has purchased a five percent share of the website Vice for $70 million. The website produces a wide range of content. However, much of what it currently does is rabble rousing investigative reporting, like a recent half hour report  on Sarnia’s ‘Chemical Valley’ and the effect of the pollution generated … Read more

Transportation, Markets and Externalities

August 19, 2013

The Brazilian government is due to spend R$200 billion (US$84 billion) on its ports, airports, railroads and roads over the next two years. This spending highlights the impossibility of separating ‘politics’ from the ‘economy,’ as it is meant to reduce transportation costs, an important – and often overlooked – component of production, distribution and consumption. … Read more

The Price of Human Life

August 16, 2013

This American Life is a great public radio show based out of Chicago. They just hit their 500th episode and to celebrate, Ira Glass talked with his other producers about favourite past episodes. Alex Blumberg, one of the producers of Planet Money, reflected on a particular co-production with This American Life. All the way back in … Read more