The Ritual of Capitalization

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 this gives finance the veneer of higher truth — as if quants are uncovering a reality not accessible to the […]

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Mouré, ‘Costly Efficiencies: Healthcare Spending, COVID-19, and the Public/Private Healthcare Debate’

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 the privatization thesis in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a large sample of countries, I investigate how healthcare […]

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Di Liberto, ‘Hype: The Capitalist Degree of Induced Participation’

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 forbid it. This paper explores a hybridized approach to power based on the idea of ‘induced participation’. Building on Bichler […]

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McMahon, ‘The Political Economy of Hollywood’

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 film distribution. This control of distribution is crucial as it enables the firms and other large businesses involved, such as […]

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What is (Global) Political Economy?

Originally published at sbhager.com Sandy Brian Hager For four years now I’ve been teaching a postgraduate module called Global Political Economy: Contemporary Approaches. This is one of two core modules for our MA programme in Global Political Economy at City. While my module deals with theoretical approaches, the other core module, taught by my colleague […]

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Di Muzio on ‘Sabotage’

Note from Blair Fix: In a series of essays published in 2013 and 2014 on capitaspower.com, political economist Tim Di Muzio explored the concept of ‘sabotage’ as it applies to capitalist power. I recently rediscovered these essays and was so impressed by them that I have reposted them here as a single piece. About the […]

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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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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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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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GameStop Capitalism: Wall Street vs. The Reddit Rally (Part 1)

Tim Di Muzio1 PDF version available here The phrase, ‘there’s a sucker born every minute’ is typically attributed to the American showman, P.T. Barnum and was made infamous since the mid-19th century by gamblers, hucksters and confidence artists (con men). On Wall Street, the ‘sucker’ is supposed to be the ‘dumb money’ retail traders who […]

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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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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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