Advice for an Aspiring Economist

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix A few weeks ago, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson contacted me about an essay series he’s editing called Advice for an Aspiring Economist. The series aims to give advice to students who are interested in learning ‘evonomics’ — economics from an evolutionary perspective. It will […]

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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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2021/03: Bichler and Nitzan, ‘The 1-2-3 Toolbox of Mainstream Economics: Promising Everything, Delivering Nothing’

Abstract We write this essay for both lay readers and scientists, though mainstream economists are welcome to enjoy it too. Our subject is the basic toolbox of mainstream economics. The most important tools in this box are demand, supply and equilibrium. All mainstream economists – as well as many heterodox ones – use these tools, […]

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Economic Growth Theory … Bah Humbug!

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix I’ve written a lot on this blog about the absurdity of marginal productivity theory. But I haven’t said much about the other pillar of mainstream economics: neoclassical growth theory. Today I’ll break that silence. Neoclassical growth theory is a textbook example of Murphy’s law. Everything […]

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An Evolutionary Theory of Resource Distribution (Part 1)

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix The biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously wrote that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. I propose a corollary in economics: nothing in economics makes sense except in the light of human social evolution. [1] I explore here how the evolution of […]

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DiMuzio & Dow, ‘Uneven and Combined Confusion’

Abstract 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 […]

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Bichler & Nitzan, ‘A CasP Model of the Stock Market’

Abstract 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 […]

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No. 2015/03: Bichler & Nitzan, ‘Capital Accumulation: Fiction and Reality’

Abstract 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 the presumed nature and causes of the crisis, which most observers indeed believe […]

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No. 2014/05: Fix, ‘Putting Power Back Into Growth Theory’

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 in favour of a power-centered approach. Building on Nitzan and […]

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Fix, ‘Rethinking Economic Growth Theory From a Biophysical Perspective’

Abstract Neoclassical growth theory is the dominant perspective for explaining economic growth. At its core are four implicit assumptions: 1) economic output can become decoupled from energy consumption; 2) economic distribution is unrelated to growth; 3) large institutions are not important for growth; and 4) labor force structure is not important for growth. Drawing on […]

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Low Capex, High Market Cap: A New High for Corporate Sabotage?

Edward Lam Found amongst some recent market commentary the chart above seems to be quite striking evidence in favour of the Capital as Power framework. The data series have been put together by the investment bank UBS, based on their broad (though not comprehensive) global stock coverage. UBS has charted two lines: a) the stock […]

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