Bichler and 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 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 […]

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Baines and 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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Death Anxiety and the Political Economy of Power

THINKING ABOUT DEATH I’ve been thinking a lot about death recently. No, it’s not something that came about because of the global pandemic and my new daily ritual of checking graphs on COVID-19 death tolls around the world. It started a few years back when I became interested in the philosophy of consciousness and thinking about consciousness served […]

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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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Has Wealth Gone Digital?

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. A revolution is underway around us and it’s called the digital. And it’s changing everything. More than 80% of wealth is now non-material. — Charles Foran in Just don’t say his name: the modern left on Karl Marx’s place in politics (41:30) Has wealth gone digital? Both […]

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Hager and Baines, ‘The Tax Advantage of Big Business’

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 taxation. As part of our analysis we develop […]

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The Allure of Marxism … And Why It’s a Mistake

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Karl Marx is probably the most important social scientist in history. But while his influence is beyond compare, Marx’s legacy is, in many ways, disastrous. Few thinkers have inspired so many people to commit crimes against humanity. Think of Stalinist gulags. Think of the Ukrainian famine 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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Agent-Based Models and the Ghost in the Machine

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In the opening post of this blog, I described my ‘top-down’ approach to studying society. This means studying groups of people without trying to reduce everything to the actions of individuals. It’s not that I think individual actions are unimportant. Of course they are important. The problem […]

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Real GDP: The Flawed Metric at the Heart of Macroeconomics

ABSTRACT The study of economic growth is central to macroeconomics. More than anything else, macroeconomists are concerned with finding policies that encourage growth. And by ‘growth’, they mean the growth of real GDP. This measure has become so central to macroeconomics that few economists question its validity. Our intention here is to do just that. […]

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Baines and Hager, ‘Financial Crisis, Inequality, and Capitalist Diversity: A Critique of the Capital as Power Model of the Stock Market’

ABSTRACT The relationship between inequality and financial instability has become a thriving topic of research in heterodox political economy. This article offers the first critical engagement with one framework within this wider literature: the Capital as Power (CasP) model of the stock market developed by Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan. Specifically, we extend the CasP […]

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