2018/01: Bichler and Nitzan, 'With their Back to the Future: Will Past Earnings Trigger the Next Crisis?'

The U.S. stock market is again in turmoil. After a two-year bull run in which share prices soared by nearly 50 per cent, the market is suddenly dropping. Since the beginning of 2018, it lost nearly 10 per cent of its value, threatening investors with an official ‘correction’ or worse. As always, there is no […]

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No. 2017/04: Bichler and Nitzan, 'Arms and Oil in the Middle East: A Biography of Research'

During the late 1980s, we printed a series of working papers, offering a new approach to the political economy of Israel and wars in the Middle East. Our approach in these papers rested on three new concepts. It started by identifying the Weapondollar-Petrodollar Coalition – an alliance of armament firms, oil companies and financial institutions […]

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No. 2017/03: Fix, 'Evidence for a Power Theory of Personal Income Distribution'

This paper proposes a new ‘power theory’ of personal income distribution. Contrary to the standard assumption that income is proportional to productivity, I hypothesize that income is most strongly determined by social power, as indicated by one’s position within an institutional hierarchy. While many theorists have proposed a connection between personal income and power, this paper is the […]

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No. 2017/01: Cochrane, 'Differentiating Diamonds'

In 1939, the De Beers diamond company faced a dire situation. The company’s accumulation had been dwindling for decades. The Great Depression not only pushed diamond sales to historic lows, it shifted American attitudes around consumption and thriftiness to the detriment of the luxury object. In this article, I bring together Liz McFall’s assertion that […]

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No. 2016/07: Bichler and Nitzan, 'A CasP Model of the Stock Market'

Most explanations of stock market booms and busts are based on contrasting the underlying ‘fundamental’ logic of the economy with the exogenous, non-economic factors that presumably distort it. Our paper offers a radically different model, examining the stock market not from the mechanical viewpoint of a distorted economy, but from the dialectical perspective of capitalized […]

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No. 2016/6: Pitts, 'Capital as Power in the Creative Industries'

Using Nitzan and Bichler’s understanding of the dissonant relationship between creativity and power and business and industry, this paper investigates the rhythms of freelance creative work. It reports findings from interviews conducted with freelancers working in the Dutch creative industries. The findings suggest that freelancers enjoy more responsibility and autonomy than formal employees. But this autonomy represents a risk that […]

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No. 2016/5: Cochrane, "Disobedient Things"

Analysis of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the accumulatory decline of BP demonstrates both the analytical efficacy of the capital-as-power (CasP) approach to value theory, and the irreducible role of objects in the process of accumulation. Rather than productivity per se, accumulation depends on control of productivity. Owners’ control is over both the human and […]

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No. 2016/04: Fix, 'Energy and Institution Size'

Why do institutions grow? Despite nearly a century of scientific effort, there remains little consensus on this topic. This paper offers a new approach that focuses on energy consumption. A systematic relation exists between institution size and energy consumption per capita: as energy consumption increases, institutions become larger. I hypothesize that this relation results from […]

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No. 2016/03: Di Muzio and Dow, "Uneven and Combined Confusion: On the Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism and the Rise of the West"

This article offers a critique of Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancioğlu’s How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism. We argue that while all historiography features a number of silences, shortcomings or omissions, the omissions in How the West Came to Rule lead to a mistaken view of the emergence of capitalism. […]

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No. 2016/02: Cochrane, “Why Diamonds and De Beers?, or The Need for Accumulation Studies”

Working Paper No. 2016/02 D.T. Cochrane, “Why Diamonds and De Beers?, or The Need for Accumulation Studies” I successfully defended my dissertation in December. This served as the introductory presentation for the defence. In it, I explain what I tried to do with the dissertation, the methods I used, and the larger project I hope […]

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No. 2016/01: Debailleul, Bichler and Nitzan, “Theory and Praxis, Theory and Practice, Practical Theory”

Working Paper No. 2016/01 Corentin Debailleul, Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan, “Theory and Praxis, Theory and Practice, Practical Theory” This working paper contains an intervention by Corentin Debailleul and an extended reply by Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan. The exchange was first posted on the Capital as Power Forum in January 2016. Debailleul’s original questions […]

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No. 2015/04: Bichler and Nitzan, “The CasP Project: Past, Present, Future”

Working Paper No. 2015/04 Shimson Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan, “The CasP Project: Past, Present, Future” The study of capital as power (CasP) began when we were students in the 1980s and has since expanded into a broader project involving a growing number of researchers and new areas of inquiry. This paper provides a bird’s-eye view […]

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No. 2015/03: Bichler and Nitzan, “Capital Accumulation: Fiction and Reality”

Working Paper No. 2015/03 Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan, “Capital Accumulation: Fiction and Reality” What do economists mean when they talk about ‘capital accumulation’? Surprisingly, the answer to this question is anything but clear, and it seems the most unclear in times of turmoil. Consider the recent ‘financial crisis’. The very term already attests to […]

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No. 2015/02: McMahon, "Marxism, Culture and the Measurement of Value"

Working Paper No. 2015/02 James McMahon, “Marxism, Culture and the Measurement of Value” Various studies of mass culture use the Marxist labour theory of value to conceptualize how capital is being accumulated from cultural production and its broader social and immaterial dimensions. However, there is a significant methodological problem that lingers. The issue stems from […]

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No. 2015/01: Hager, "Public Debt as Corporate Power"

Working Paper No. 2015/01 Sandy Brian Hager, “Public Debt as Corporate Power” In various writings Karl Marx made references to an ‘aristocracy of finance’ in Western Europe and the United States that dominated ownership of the public debt. Drawing on original research, this paper offers the first comprehensive analysis of the pattern of public debt […]

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No. 2014/05: Fix, "Putting Power Back Into Growth Theory" (Winner of the 2014 RECASP Essay Prize)

Working Paper No. 2014/05 Blair Fix, “Putting Power Back Into Growth Theory” * Winner of the 2014 RECASP Essay Prize * Neoclassical growth theory assumes that economic growth is an atomistic process in which changes in distribution play no role. Unfortunately, when this assumption is tested against real-world evidence, it is systematically violated. This paper […]

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No. 2014/04: Bichler and Nitzan, "Still About Oil?"

Working Paper No. 2014/04 Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan, “Still About Oil?” During the late 1980s and early 1990s, we identified a new Middle East phenomenon that we called ‘energy conflicts’ and argued that these conflicts were intimately linked with the global processes of capital accumulation. This paper outlines the theoretical framework we have developed over the years […]

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No. 2014/03: Baines, "The Ethanol Boom and the Restructuring of the Food Regime"

Working Paper No. 2014/03 Joseph Baines, “The Ethanol Boom and the Restructuring of the Food Regime” [A shorter version of this paper is forthcoming at The Journal of Peasant Studies] The agrofuel boom has brought about some of the most significant transformations in the world food system in recent decades. A rich and diverse body […]

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No. 2014/02: Fix, "Rethinking Profit: How Redistribution Drives Growth"

Working Paper No. 2014/02 Blair Fix, “Rethinking Profit: How Redistribution Drives Growth” Using a combination of heterodox economics and biophysical analysis, this paper investigates the relationship between economic distribution and the growth of material throughput. Empirical results show that the growth of “useful work” correlates with redistribution towards pro fit. Furthermore, increases in energy consumption are correlated […]

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