Fix, ‘Redistributing Income Through Hierarchy’

Abstract Although the determinants of income are complex, the results are surprisingly uniform. To a first approximation, top incomes follow a power-law distribution, and the redistribution of income corresponds to a change in the power-law exponent. Given the messiness of the struggle for resources, why is the outcome so simple? This paper explores the idea […]

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Bichler & Nitzan, ‘The 1-2-3 Toolbox of Mainstream Economics: Promising Everything, Delivering Nothing’

Abstract We write this essay for both lay readers and scientists, though mainstream economists are welcome to enjoy it too. Our subject is the basic toolbox of mainstream economics. The most important tools in this box are demand, supply and equilibrium. All mainstream economists – as well as many heterodox ones – use these tools, […]

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Lucas, ‘Investigating networks of corporate influence on government decision-making: The case of Australia’s climate change and energy policies’

Abstract This paper argues that the ability of dominant corporations in the fossil fuel and other polluting industries to shape government policy on climate change and energy issues is directly related to their financial interests in particular countries, and emblematic of the crippling effect which they have exercised on the ability of nation states to […]

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Fix, ‘Economic Development and the Death of the Free Market’

Abstract According to neoclassical economics, the most efficient way to organize human activity is to use the free market. By stoking self interest, the theory claims, individuals can benefit society. This idea, however, conflicts with the evolutionary theory of multilevel selection, which proposes that rather than stoke individual self interest, successful groups must suppress it. […]

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Howard et al., ‘Protein Industry Convergence and Its Implications for Resilient and Equitable Food Systems’

Abstract Recent years have seen the convergence of industries that focus on higher protein foods, such as meat processing firms expanding into plant-based substitutes and/or cellular meat production, and fisheries firms expanding into aquaculture. A driving force behind these changes is dominant firms seeking to increase their power relative to close competitors, including by extending […]

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Bichler & Nitzan, ‘Unbridgeable: why political economists cannot accept capital as power’

Abstract The theory of capital as power (CasP) is radically different from conventional political economy. In the conventional view, mainstream as well as heterodox, capital is seen a ‘real’ economic entity engaged in the production of goods and services, and capitalism is thought of as a mode of production and consumption. Finance in this approach […]

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Lucas, ‘Risking the earth, parts 1 and 2’

Abstract This two-part paper details the arguments and evidence that have been marshalled by both climate scientists and social scientists to critique the current procedures and methodologies deployed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to represent the risks of anthropogenic forcing and a […]

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Baines & Hager, ‘Commodity Traders in a Storm: Financialization, Corporate Power and Ecological Crisis’

Abstract Commodity trading firms occupy a central position in global supply chains and their activities have been associated with financial instability, social upheaval and manifold forms of ecological devastation. This paper examines these companies in the context of debates regarding corporate financialization. We find that since the 2003–2011 commodity boom, trading firms have become less […]

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McMahon, ‘Selling Hollywood to China’

Abstract From the 1980s to the present, Hollywood’s major distributors have been able to redistribute U.S. theatrical attendance to the advantage of their biggest blockbusters and franchises. At the global scale and during the same period, Hollywood has been leveraging U.S. foreign power to break ground in countries that have historically protected and supported their […]

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Baines & Hager, ‘The Great Debt Divergence and its Implications for the Covid-19 Crisis: Mapping Corporate Leverage as Power’

Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified longstanding concerns about mounting levels of corporate debt in the United States. This article places the current conjuncture in its historical context, analysing corporate indebtedness against the backdrop of increasing corporate concentration. Theorising leverage as a form of power, we find that the leverage of large non-financial firms increased […]

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Di Muzio & Robbins, ‘Capitalismo de deuda’

Abstract Capitalismo de deuda es un esfuerzo por descifrar cómo la tecnología de la deuda se ha convertido en uno de los mayores obstáculos para las aspiraciones democráticas y racionales de la sociedad moderna. Richard Robbins y Tim Di Muzio muestran que la deuda, entendida como una tecnología de poder, es un engranaje insertado en […]

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Fix, ‘How the Rich Are Different: Hierarchical Power as the Basis of Income Size and Class’

Abstract This paper investigates a new approach to understanding personal and functional income distribution. I propose that hierarchical power — the command of subordinates in a hierarchy — is what distinguishes the rich from the poor and capitalists from workers. Specifically, I hypothesize that individual income increases with hierarchical power, as does the share of […]

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Kvachev, ‘Unflat Ontology: Essay on the Poverty of Democratic Materialism’

Abstract The paper is dedicated to the problem of flat ontology in philosophy and its relation to the practice in economy. The author argues that flat economy is based on a marginal utility theory of value and presents hierarchical value chains with concentration of power-capital as if they were flat and all the actors involved […]

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Hager & Baines, ‘The Tax Advantage of Big Business’

Abstract Corporate concentration in the United States has been on the rise in recent years, sparking a heated debate about its causes, consequences, and potential remedies. In this study, we examine a facet of public policy that has been largely neglected in current debates about concentration: corporate taxation. As part of our analysis we develop […]

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Bichler & Nitzan, ‘Making America Great Again’

Abstract Trump has promised to Make America Great Again. As a self-proclaimed expert on everything of import, he knows exactly how to increase domestic investment and consumption, boost exports, reduce the country’s trade deficit, expand employment and bolster wages. And as America’s leader-and-policymaker-in-chief, he has taken the necessary steps to achieve every one of these […]

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Fix, ‘An Evolutionary Theory of Resource Distribution’

Abstract This paper explores how the evolution of human sociality can help us understand how we distribute resources. Using ideas from sociobiology, I argue that resource distribution is marked by a tension between two levels of natural selection. At the group level, selfless behavior is advantageous. But at the individual level, selfish behavior is advantageous. […]

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