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, […]

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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 […]

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

Abstract 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 firms to try […]

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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 […]

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2020/05: Fix, ‘Can the World Get Along Without Natural Resources?’

Abstract Neoclassical economists fundamentally misunderstand the role of natural resources in the economy. I discuss here the source of this misunderstanding, and the ways we can better understand the role of energy to human societies. Citation Can the World Get Along Without Natural Resources? Fix, Blair. (2020). Working Papers on Capital as Power. No. 2020/05. […]

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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 […]

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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’, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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2019/02.1: 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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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 […]

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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 […]

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

Abstract 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 […]

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

Abstract 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 […]

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2018/08: Bichler & Nitzan, ‘CasP’s Differential Accumulation versus Veblen’s Differential Advantage’

Abstract 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, […]

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2018/07: Fix, ‘The Trouble with Human Capital Theory’

Abstract Human capital theory is the dominant approach for understanding personal income distribution. According to this theory, individual income is the result of ‘human capital’. The idea is that human capital makes people more productive, which leads to higher income. But is this really the case? This paper takes a critical look at human capital […]

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2018/06: Fix, ‘Capitalist Income and Hierarchical Power: A Gradient Hypothesis’

Abstract This paper offers a new approach to the study of capitalist income. Building on the ‘capital as power’ framework, I propose that capitalists earn their income not from any productive asset, but from the legal right to command a corporate hierarchy. In short, I hypothesize that capitalist income stems from hierarchical power. Based on […]

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2018/05: Fix, ‘The Growth of US Top Income Inequality: A Hierarchical Redistribution Hypothesis’

Abstract What accounts for the growth of US top income inequality? This paper proposes a hierarchical redistribution hypothesis. The idea is that US firms have systematically redistributed income to the top of the corporate hierarchy. I test this hypothesis using a large scale hierarchy model of the US private sector. My method is to vary […]

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2018/04: Martin, ‘The Autocatalytic Sprawl of Pseudorational Mastery’

Abstract 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 […]

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2018/03: Fix, ‘The Aggregation Problem’

Abstract 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 […]

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