Why America Won’t Be ‘Great’ Again

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down They called him the ‘Little Emperor’. Romulus Augustus — better known as Romulus ‘Augustulus’ (‘Little Augustus’) — was the last Western Roman Emperor. He assumed the throne at the age of 16 during a period of unprecedented strife. There had been 8 emperors in the previous 20 […]

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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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What if the Government is Just Another Firm? (Part 2)

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Governments are different than firms, right? Perhaps not. In Part 1 of this series, I argued that when it comes to size, governments behave like they’re ‘just another firm’. In this post, I’m going to extend the evidence. I’ll first show you that as economies develop, governments […]

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Growing Through Sabotage

Growing Through Sabotage Energizing Hierarchical Power SHIMSHON BICHLER and JONATHAN NITZAN June 2020 Abstract According to the theory of capital as power, capitalism, like any other mode of power, is born through sabotage and lives in chains — and yet everywhere we look we see it grow and expand. What explains this apparent puzzle of […]

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Call For Papers: Energy, Institutions and Society

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. I’ve been asked to create panels for the upcoming International Conference on Thermodynamics 2.0. The conference aims to bring natural and social sciences closer. It will take place at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts, USA from June 22-24, 2020. I’m calling the panel(s) Energy, Institutions and Society. I’m […]

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Fix, 'Energy and Institution Size'

ABSTRACT 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 […]

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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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Putting Power Back into Growth Theory

Putting Power Back Into Growth Theory BLAIR FIX June 2015 Abstract 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 argues that a reality-based growth theory must reject neoclassical principles […]

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