What’s New


November 24, 2022

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Neoclassical economics is a hell of a drug. It has no theory of prices, no account of inflation, and its models all presume the existence of a perfectly rational …

October 31, 2022

Abstract Marxists love to hate the theory of capital as power, or CasP for short. And they have two good reasons. First, CasP criticizes the logical and empirical validity of the labour theory of value …

October 24, 2022

Originally published at Fresh Economic Thinking Cameron Murray Do you believe this headline? I don’t. The many problems with measuring a country’s wealth are on full display in this Credit Suisse report. But let’s start …

October 21, 2022

Originally published at notes on cinema James McMahon Rotten Tomatoes (RT) found a way to get every last drop from the well of convenience. Film criticism is already pressured, tacitly by convention, or explicitly by …

October 3, 2022

Chris Mouré Note: this is the manuscript version of an article now featured in The Mint Magazine. Few will argue with the claim that shortages are socially harmful. Shortages, by definition, imply a lack of …

September 19, 2022

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Ryan Kyger1 and Blair Fix Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds. — attributed to Richard Feynman2 Most scientists don’t …

September 9, 2022

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow The starting gun on Big Tech trustbusting was fired in 2017, when Lina Khan, then a law student (now an FTC trustbuster!) published “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” a law-review article …

September 6, 2022

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like …

September 1, 2022

Originally published at notes on cinema James McMahon Like other streaming services, Netflix does not make its user data public. To date, there are two exceptions to this privacy. Netflix released a large dataset of …

August 23, 2022

Abstract Covid-19 and the Global Political Economy investigates and explores how far and in what ways the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging, restructuring, and perhaps remaking aspects of the global political economy. Since the 1970s, neoliberal …

August 20, 2022

Abstract Rapid technological change is often touted as a fundamental reality of capitalist societies. It is also often presented as concrete evidence for the supposed progressive improvement of material well-being that characterises the capitalist system …

July 21, 2022

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Today I’m trying a different type of post — one that’s not a deep dive, but instead, a rapid-fire summary of an important topic. My …

July 15, 2022

Tim Di Muzio Any student of capitalism knows it is a distinct economic system prone to periodic crises. These crises come in many forms and are typically studied after the fact, as the work of …

July 13, 2022

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Two quotes to ponder as you read “Purdue’s Poison Pill,” Adam Levitin’s forthcoming Texas Law Review paper: “Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain …

June 23, 2022

Pensions and Power The Political and Market Dynamics of Public Pension Plans ERALD KOLASI June 2022 Abstract This paper uses the theory of ‘capital as power’ to analyze the struggle over public pensions in the …

June 16, 2022

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 …

June 7, 2022

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 …

May 13, 2022

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 …

May 10, 2022

Originally published at notes on cinema James McMahon On the question of who judges the quality of a film, it is easy to start with a notion that the ultimate judge of a film’s quality …

May 4, 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 …

May 3, 2022

Costly Efficiencies Healthcare Spending, COVID-19, and the Public/Private Healthcare Debate CHRIS MOURÉ May 2022 Abstract Proponents of private healthcare often claim that the private sector is more ‘efficient’ at delivering healthcare services. This paper tests …

April 29, 2022

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Two of the most astute IP scholars I know also happen to be two of the best legal writers I know, and also happen to work at one of …

April 24, 2022

Abstract In the March 2021 issue of Harper’s, Scorsese wrote an essay to pay tribute to Federico Fellini, the Italian director who directed such great films as La Strada, 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita, Nights …

hype (from wiki commons)
April 23, 2022

Hype The Capitalist Degree of Induced Participation YURI DI LIBERTO April 2022 Abstract Power is usually considered as either a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ construct, as in the power to force action versus the power to …

April 8, 2022

Abstract In Hollywood, the goals of art and business are entangled. Directors, writers, actors, and idealistic producers aspire to make the best films possible. These aspirations often interact with the dominant firms that control Hollywood …

April 5, 2022

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 …

April 1, 2022

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 …

March 30, 2022

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix A few months ago, I went down a rabbit hole analyzing word frequency in economics textbooks. Henry Leveson-Gower, editor of The Mint Magazine, thought the …

March 22, 2022

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 …

March 10, 2022

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 …

March 9, 2022

Originally published at notes on cinema James McMahon We ended the last post with a scenario of someone dreaming of their film going all the way to the Academy Awards. But I also waved away …

March 3, 2022

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 …

March 2, 2022

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis In a new working paper I outline how slavery contributed to the development of the United States before the Civil War. The paper is called ‘King Cotton, the Munificent’ …

February 28, 2022

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 …

February 24, 2022

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 …

February 23, 2022

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 …

February 18, 2022

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 …

February 16, 2022

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 …

February 15, 2022

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 …

February 14, 2022

Originally published at notes on cinema James McMahon Sitting through the Academy Awards ceremony can be frustrating if you watch a lot of films. The breadth of your viewings has given you the perspective to …

February 9, 2022

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis Unless you are Mexican, it is easy to forget that California was not always in the United States, having been a part of Mexico until the Mexican-American War of …

February 7, 2022

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Our societal narratives are invisible by dint of their ubiquity, but they are far more important in stabilizing the status quo that all the cops and jails and domestic …

February 5, 2022

Abstract Wenn man genau hinhört, kann man zuhören, wie Jeff Bezos immer reicher wird. Da ist es schon wieder, dieses Geräusch. Eine weitere Milliarde in Bezos‘ Kassen. Lassen Sie uns diesen Klang des Geldes mit …

February 4, 2022

Abstract This article examines the role of the Big Three asset management firms — BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street — in corporate environmental governance. Specifically, it charts the Big Three’s relationships with the public–owned Carbon …

February 4, 2022

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix If there was an award for the most pernicious scientific idea ever, what theory should get first prize? I would vote for eugenics, a theory …

February 2, 2022

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis One of my favourite graphs in recent writing on economic history might seem obscure. Reproduced below, it is found on page 28 of the working paper underlying the latest …

January 28, 2022

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power is David Dayen’s new book about the concentration of industry in America and around the world; one interesting implication of monopolies …

January 22, 2022

Originally published at dtcochrane.com DT Cochrane Commissioned and originally published by The Blackwood Art Gallery at the University of Toronto Mississauga. As I write this, disability justice advocates are rallying in opposition to Bill C-7, …