Home Forum Research Cherizola’s “From Commodities to Assets” wins the 2021 RECASP Essay Prize

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  • #245544

    Jesús Suaste Cherizola wins the 2021 RECASP Essay Prize for his paper “From Commodities to Assets:
    Capital as Power and the Ontology of Finance.”


    Assets are a crucial concept of the practice and mindset of the capitalist class. Critical analyses of capitalism, however, tend to admit that the exchange of commodities is the foundation of the analysis of capitalism. This article takes a different approach. I claim that assets offer a solid starting point for a scientific research of capitalism. The analysis of assets allows us to elaborate a general description of economic transactions and, to that extent, it lays the groundwork for reconceptualizing the field of finance. These two issues are closely related. The answer to the question, ‘what are assets?’, will give us the coordinates to address the question: ‘what is finance?’

    HTML: https://capitalaspower.com/2021/05/cherizola-from-commodities-to-assets/

    PDF: https://capitalaspower.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Suaste_Cherizola_From_Commodities_to_Assets.pdf


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    • #245546
      Blair Fix
      • Topics started: 2
      • Total posts: 34

      Congratulations Jesús! It is an excellent paper that looks at an important problem in political economy — the focus on ‘commodities’ when what capitalists care about is assets. Well done.

    • #245587
      ishi crew
      • Topics started: 1
      • Total posts: 10

      I  read the essay quickly.

      It was very thought provoking and well written but not in my dialect.

      (I used to formally study theoretical biology and ecology and would go on trips with people out into ‘natural ecosystems’ with often ‘spiritual’ ecology types.
      I would be talking about the various floras and faunas, the dynamics of ecosystems and they’d say that’s reductionist and materialistic, and instead talk about the various ‘spirits’ that lived in these areas they learned from some ‘sacred text’–they said book learning obscured reality except the one they read.
      My view was we spoke different dialects and the floras and faunas also had different ones. )

      Of the paper, I mostly agree with what i understood but think it mostly overlaps with things that have been said before in other dialects.

      I am biased so I think pretty much all future ‘scientific (‘type’) research’ will be at least partly mathematical.
      (Its  also seems true that much applied math research to social/economic /environmental problems seems  irrelevant.
      Quite a few poeple get paid to study gun violence in USA universities with math methods while there are homicides occuring a few blocks away.
      They seem to think they can   put their academic paper on the web and this will solve these.)

      This article mentions ‘distortions’ (CASP uses ‘imperfections’) ,  as things economists use to fix up flawed theories.

      All the sciences i’ve studied use these to ‘fix up’ theories which are ‘imperfect’.

      People switch from saying the universe is made of perfectly round infinitely  small billiard ball atoms (or, say genes) which interact with ‘perfect rationality or information’ and then settle into ‘equilibrium’ configurations, to saying these atoms or genes actually are distorted or imperfect, and don’t settle to equilibirium because they are stuck in metastable nonequilibrium semio-optimal configurations.  The genes are less fit than predicted.

      I think CASP writers tend to overplay the successes of fields like physics and biology. For decades and even a century or more those fields have introduced distortions and imperfections—eg curved (relativistic) and quantized space, imperfect information (special relativity)  gene-environment interactions, etc.

      Most physics and biology deals with (like  in economics  standard  individual budgeting theory or in macro IS-LM) things they can solve.

      ‘You need a genetic cure? we got it’  .   You need a faster computer? we got one.  Need a drug cure? problem solved.
      Like for some economists, they claim they will solve all problems. .

      The Human Genome sequencing project suggested it would solve all health problems.   They got billions$ funding , sequenced the human genome, but some say health is still a problem.    Some scientists agreed they didn’t know what a gene was even though they found all of them.

      If you look at the more theoretical papers in  fields like biology and physics –and psychology—(the minority by far–i might guess 1% compared to applications to problems they can solve) you will find that basic things in physics like ‘mass’, ‘charge’ ‘spin’, and ‘inertia’ , or in biology things like ‘fitness’ , or psychology ‘mental health’ , basically noone knows what they are , and there many theories.

      There are ‘holdouts’ –say they know the answer—in economics to me Mankiw might be the best example.

      (There’s a very recent youtube debate with Mankiw versus some ‘heterodox or keynsian  economists’ criticizing his textbook.

      His basic view is it ‘represents the consensus scientific opinon’ based on the fact its had 24 million $ in sales and he’s a Harvard professor.)

      I don’t think the heterodox economists (nor the ones in other fields) really have a competetive paradigm, scientific theory  or religion at this point.

      Many people might try to decide ‘to maximize my utility, or subjective  (fame, acclaim and popularity) and objective value (measured in prize money ) , should I try for the real fake Econ Noble (1 M$) or the CASP prize of 1G?
      You might have to spend a year working for it–thinking, writing, working to hire some grad students to write your paper, etc.   –and then decide if maybe it would be better to just play the lottery of life?

      One could do an RCT–randomly controlled trial.    Take several people  who each choose a different approach and see what their net value is after a year.  It could be a factorial trial.

      which factors lead people to rise or fall in the hierarchy?  or which small trees grow into big ones and which don’t?

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