First Speaker Series on the Capitalist Mode of Power

December 22, 2013

*** The First Speaker Series on the Capitalist Mode of Power was sponsored by the York Department of Political Science and the Graduate Programme in Social and Political Thought. Talks were held at York University, Toronto, Canada and the series ran from October to November 2013 *** Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 Can Capitalists Afford Recovery? Economic Policy … Read more

The Colour of the Sun: A Metaphor for Methodology?

December 19, 2013

Found this video when browsing Boing Boing. Originally posted by NASA, this video is fascinating. It may also stand as a metaphor for the methodological problems in political economic theory. Consider part of the explanation behind the video: “As the colors sweep around the sun in the movie, viewers should note how different the same … Read more

The Weekly Sabotage: Week 2

December 10, 2013

Last week we looked briefly at the origin of the term ‘sabotage’ and found that it was more associated with the working class than it was with elite power – those who largely shape and reshape the terrain of social reproduction.  In this formulation, workers sabotage while businessmen build useful industry for the community.  In … Read more

‘Rigging’ the market for fun and profit

December 9, 2013

The EU has fined a selection of European and U.S. American banks €1.7 billion for rigging major interest-rate benchmarks. The article notes that the benchmarks – Libor, and the Tokyo and euro area interbank – are used in the pricing of hundreds of trillions of assets. The problem, according to the prosecutors, is that bankers … Read more

Targeting buying habits

December 2, 2013

This is an interesting NYT article about buying habits, market research and advertising. It describes how Target has been able to compile and analyze customer data in order to identify women who are likely pregnant as early as possible. One of the reasons pregnant women are such an attractive market segment, the article states, is … Read more

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 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