2021/03: Bichler and 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, […]

Continue Reading

2021/02: Fix, ‘Living the good life in a non-growth world: Investigating the role of hierarchy’

ABSTRACT Humanity’s most pressing need is to learn how to live within our planet’s boundaries — something that likely means doing without economic growth. How, then, can we create a non-growth society that is both just and equitable? I attempt to address this question by looking at an aspect of sustainability (and equity) that is […]

Continue Reading

2021/01: Mouré, ‘Soft-wars: The Differential Trajectories of Google and Microsoft – a Capital as Power Analysis’

ABSTRACT FROM THE ARTICLE: According to the capital as power framework, pecuniary earnings, or profits, are a symbolic representation of the struggle for power between different capitalist groups. In this struggle, capitalists measure their own power differentially – that is, relative to other capitalist entities. The focus on differential power, expressed in differential earnings, leads […]

Continue Reading

2020/06: Bichler & Nitzan, ‘The Limits of Capitalized Power. A 2020 U.S. Update’

ABSTRACT Until the late 2000s, our work focused primarily on why capitalism should be understood as a mode of power. We argued that capital itself is a form of organized power and researched how capitalists sustain, defend and augment their capitalized power. We called our approach ‘capital as power’ – or CasP, for short. But […]

Continue Reading

2020/04: McMahon, ‘Reconsidering Systemic Fear and the Stock Market: A Reply to Baines and Hager’

ABSTRACT A recent New Political Economy article by Baines and Hager (2020) critiqued Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan’s capital-as-power (CasP) model of the stock market (Bichler & Nitzan, 2016). Bichler and Nitzan’s model of the stock market seeks to explain how financial crises are tied to the (upper) limits of redistributing income through power. Bichler […]

Continue Reading

2020/03: Bichler and Nitzan, ‘Manuscripts Don’t Burn’

ABSTRACT The French Revolution changed the world. In the new order, the masters no longer need Monsieur Fouche and the thought police. They don’t need guillotines to clip brains and scissors to censor pamphlets. They don’t need strategic-studies institutes to manage oppression and navigate conflict. Instead, they prefer to subsidize ‘cultural pluralism’ and ‘critical studies’, […]

Continue Reading

2020/02: Bichler and Nitzan, ‘The Capital as Power Approach. An Invited-then-Rejected Interview with Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan’

ABSTRACT This interview was commissioned in October 2019 for a special issue on ‘Accumulation and Politics: Approaches and Concepts’ to be published by the Revue de la régulation. We submitted the text in March 2020, only to learn two months later that it won’t be published. The problem, we were informed, wasn’t the content, which […]

Continue Reading

2020/01: Fix, ‘Economic Development and the Death of the Free Market’

ABSTRACT Free markets are, according to neoclassical economic theory, the most efficient way of organizing human activity. The claim is that individuals can benefit society by acting only in their self interest. In contrast, the evolutionary theory of multilevel selection proposes that groups must suppress the self interest of individuals. They often do so, the […]

Continue Reading

2019/02.1: Fix, 'How the Rich are Different: Hierarchical Power as the Basis of Income Size and Class'

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 individual […]

Continue Reading

2019/04: Hager and Baines, 'Jurisdictional Tax Rates: How the Corporate Tax System Fuels Concentration and Inequality'

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 tax policy. As part of our analysis we […]

Continue Reading

2019/03: 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 […]

Continue Reading

2019/01: Bichler & Nitzan, ‘Differential Accumulation versus Veblen’s "Differential Advantage" (Revised and Expanded)'

This paper clarifies a common misrepresentation of our theory of capital as power, or CasP. Many observers tend to box CasP as an ‘institutionalist’ theory, tracing its central process of ‘differential accumulation’ to Thorstein Veblen’s notion of ‘differential advantage’. This view, we argue, betrays a misunderstanding of CasP, Veblen or both. First, we are not […]

Continue Reading

2018/09: Fix, 'Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality'

Where should we look to understand the origin of inequality? Most research focuses on three windows of evidence: (1) the archaeological record; (2) existing traditional societies; and (3) the historical record. I propose a fourth window of evidence — modern society itself. I hypothesize that we can infer the origin of inequality from the modern […]

Continue Reading

2018/08: Bichler & Nitzan, 'CasP's '"Differential Accumulation" versus Veblen's "Differential Advantage"'

This paper clarifies a common misrepresentation of our theory of capital as power, or CasP. Many observers tend to box CasP as an ‘institutionalist’ theory, tracing its central process of ‘differential accumulation’ to Thorstein Veblen’s notion of ‘differential advantage’. This view, we argue, betrays a misunderstanding of CasP, Veblen or both. As we show, CasP’s […]

Continue Reading

2018/04: Martin, 'The Autocatalytic Sprawl of Pseudorational Mastery (version 0.12)'

According to Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan capital is not an economic quantity but a mode of power; it could be sumarized as: “Capital is power quantified in monetary terms”. So, what do we do when we “quantify”? What is the nature of “money” in a capitalist society? And, indeed, what is “power” in the […]

Continue Reading

2018/03: Fix, 'The Aggregation Problem'

This article discusses the aggregation problem and its implications for ecological economics. The aggregation problem consists of a simple dilemma: when adding heterogeneous phenomena together, the observer must choose the unit of analysis. The dilemma is that this choice affects the resulting measurement. This means that aggregate measurements are dependent on one’s goals, and on […]

Continue Reading