The Ritual of Capitalization

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix There’s something mysterious about finance. The symbols are arcane. The math is complex. The practitioners are impressively educated. And the stakes are high. All of this gives finance the veneer of higher truth — as if quants are uncovering a reality not accessible to the […]

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Patent troll IP is more powerful than Apple’s

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow I was 12 years into my Locus Magazine column when I published the piece I’m most proud of, “IP,” from September 2020. It came after an epiphany, one that has profoundly shaped the way I talk and think about the issues I campaign on. https://locusmag.com/2020/09/cory-doctorow-ip/ That revelation was about […]

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Free Speech For Me, Not You

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix They say that Americans love two things: freedom … and guns. The trouble with guns is obvious. The trouble with freedom is more subtle, and boils down to doublespeak. When a good old boy defends his ‘freedom’, there’s a good chance he has a hidden […]

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Capital as Power Essay Prize Winners, 2022

Blair Fix The Review of Capital as Power is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Capital as Power Essay Prize: First Prize: ‘Costly Efficiencies: Healthcare Spending, COVID-19, and the Public/Private Healthcare Debate’, by Chris Mouré. Second Prize: ‘Hype: The Capitalist Degree of Induced Participation’, by Yuri Di Liberto. Chris Mouré’s ‘Costly Efficiencies’ In […]

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The Deep History of Human Inequality

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1762 In his epic 18th-century treatise Discourse on Inequality, Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that inequality is an ill of civilization, created by private property. If you roll back the clock on civilization, he […]

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Ford patents plutocratic lane-changes

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow In my 2017 novel WALKAWAY, there’s a scene where the protagonists get into a self-driving car owned by a ruthless plutocrat, only to discover that it moves faster than any other vehicle they’ve ever ridden. https://craphound.com/category/walkaway/ The plute explains that he’s done an illegal mod that lets him override […]

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Google’s monopoly rigged the ad market

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow The quest to bring antitrust law to bear against tech companies is finally paying off, but it’s been a long, hard slog. At the vanguard have been two legal scholars: Columbia law’s Lina M Khan linamkhan and Yale’s Dina Srinivasan. The first watershed moment was Khan’s Jan 2017 Yale […]

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Why Are Most Textbooks Still Proprietary?

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Today a rant about textbooks. Every year governments spend billions of dollars on public education, teaching students knowledge that was itself created by publicly funded research. Yet each year, university students must pay anew for this information by purchasing high-priced textbooks. It needn’t be this […]

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The birth of capitalized credit money is inextricably bound with war

Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler Originally published on Twitter During the twilight of feudalism, wars, whose cost soared in tandem with their material scope and unit price, were the most financially demanding expenses. Changing military technologies, beginning with the crusades and continuing with the Hundred Years War, made it increasingly necessary to rely on hired […]

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Amazon says only corporations own property

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow If you visit Amazon’s Prime Video homepage, you’ll see that the title of that page is “Rent or Buy: Prime Video.” There’s a plain-language meaning of “buy” that most of us understand, but Amazon says we’re wrong. https://www.amazon.com/rent-or-buy-amazon-video/ Amanda Caudel is a Prime user who brought suit against Amazon […]

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Energizing Exchange: Learning from Econophysics’ Mistakes

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Let’s talk econophysics. If you’re not familiar, ‘econophysics’ is an attempt to understand economic phenomena (like the distribution of income) using the tools of statistical mechanics. The field has been around for a few decades, but has received little attention from mainstream economists. I think […]

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New Briefing – Drilling Down: UK Oil and Gas Financial Performance

Originally published at sbhager.com Sandy Brian Hager Joseph Baines and I have a new briefing with Common Wealth examining the financial performance of UK oil and gas producers and energy suppliers. Some of the key findings include: The two UK-headquartered supermajors – BP and Royal Dutch Shell – have remained profitable over the past decade, […]

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Cotton and Slavery in Antebellum America

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis The dominant view among economic historians is that American slavery was an unnecessary evil: nothing good came of it for the development of the United States after independence. Even if some reluctantly accept that the boom in cotton production may have had some benefits for Antebellum America, they argue […]

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Bill Gates’s monopolistic mask-off moment

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Don’t let the sweater-vests and the (dilettantish) “education reform” work fool you: Bill Gates made his fortune through sheer robber-baronry, presiding over a vicious monopolist that shattered the law in its greedy quest for billions and permanent, global dominance. Microsoft’s illegal conduct was so blatant, persistent and obviously wicked […]

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Radically Progressive Degrowth: Reducing Resource Use by Eliminating Inequality

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Pity the billionaires. High in the towers on Billionaires’ Row, life is hard. The pencil-thin buildings groan as they sway in the wind, keeping penthouse dwellers up at night. Water pipes break, ruining posh décor. And elevators are unreliable, interrupting billionaires’ highly productive lives. So […]

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