The Oil Price: Differential Accumulation and Punishing One’s Rivals

November 27, 2014

According to some forecasters the price of oil might hit $75 a barrel soon. Goldman Sachs has even predicted a $70 barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) in 2015. If the price does drop this low it will be a dramatic change from the recent status quo; a relatively stable, higher price of over 90 … Read more

Accumulatory Struggles in the Labratory

November 18, 2014

A systemic review [PDF] of systemic reviews of scientific literature on the relationship between sugar and obesity found, unsurprisingly, that there is bias in the reviews conducted on behalf of the sugar business. The review’s conclusion reads: “Financial conflicts of interest may bias conclusions from SRs [systemic reviews] on SSB [sugar-sweetened beverages] consumption and weight … Read more

Capital as Power and Freelance Creative Work 4

November 17, 2014

Resonance and dissonance in the rhythms of freelance creative work In the last blog, I applied some of Nitzan and Bichler’s ideas to freelance work in the creative industries. I utilised their conceptualisation of the distinction between creativity and power, and of the sabotage of the former by the latter. Nitzan and Bichler describe the … Read more

Capital as Power and Freelance Creative Work 3

October 31, 2014

Creativity, sabotage and the management of risk and responsibility in freelance creative work Nitzan and Bichler theorise a dissonant relation of sabotage between power and creativity, business and industry. What they show is that the control of creative processes of production is not antithetical to their success. Rather, it is constitutive of this success in … Read more

Capital as Power and Freelance Creative Work 2

October 17, 2014

Capital as Power, risk-aversion and the avoidance of uncertainty Mainstream critiques of contemporary capitalism conducted in the wake of the Great Recession tend to indict  a number of factors. Perceived short-termism. The dangerous compulsion to speculate. An attraction to growth for growth’s sake. The propensity towards the greedy and rapid accumulation of riches. But other … Read more

Capital as Power and Freelance Creative Work 1

October 8, 2014

Rhythms of Risk and Responsibility in Freelance Creative Work This series of blogs applies Nitzan and Bichler’s theory of capital as power to the empirical concern of freelance work in the creative industries. It reports some findings from a research project I conducted earlier this year. The research was part of a three month Short-Term … Read more

Speculation vs Hedging: A False Dichotomy?

September 25, 2014

How do we make sense of the role of different participants in futures markets? According to the conventional wisdom, market participants can be put into two different categories: hedgers and speculators. Hedgers, such as farmers and other commercial entities, assume positions in the futures market that are equal and opposite to their positions in physical markets. … Read more

The Value of Corporate Nationalism

September 5, 2014

Canadians take pride in Tim Hortons. It is an icon of contemporary Canadiana. When news emerged that Burger King (BKW) was planning a takeover, the media was filled with stories of people’s outrage. The political economic issues this raises are myriad. For example, what value is there to the passion of Canadians for Tim Hortons … Read more

Complexity Science and Political-Economy: Post 1 – Networks

August 20, 2014

This series of posts will explore some contemporary fields in “complexity science”. They summarize experiences from the Santa-Fe Institute Complex Systems Summer School 2014, with the hope of suggesting to readers useful research tools for political-economy. Please feel free to contact the author if you are interested in discussing or utilizing any of the approaches … Read more

The Brawl on Bay Street

August 11, 2014

The world of traders has largely been outside political economic analysis. With financial values treated as ‘fictitious’ representations of real values, trading is, at best, a distortion. The actual individuals who perform this role, and supporting roles in the realm of financial intermediation, are given no consideration. From the perspective of CasP, on the other … Read more

Public vs Private Interests in Cancer Research

July 25, 2014

Harvard Medical School researchers Michelle Holmes and Wendy Chen wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about research they published in 2010 that found aspirin may be an effective treatment for breast cancer patients. The op-ed was not just calling attention to these results. Rather, it was a complaint that the research needed to … Read more

Central banking and the governance of the price architecture

July 16, 2014

With the Bank of England signalling an impending interest rate rise, monetary policy has returned to centre stage.  Since 2008 we have lived through a period of extremely unorthodox monetary policy characterised by unprecedentedly low interest rates. This era of ‘cheap money’ may now be about to end and a return to ‘normality’ (interest rates … Read more