The Capital as Power working paper series showcases cutting edge research on the political economy of capitalist power. The series is open to a wide-range of issues: theoretical, empirical, historical or contemporary. The aim is to stimulate debate and discussion on the capital as power framework. If you are interested in submitting a working paper, please email us and put “Working Papers” in the subject line.

2019/01: Bichler & Nitzan, ‘Differential Accumulation versus Veblen’s "Differential Advantage" (Revised and Expanded)'

January 30, 2019

This paper clarifies a common misrepresentation of our theory of capital as power, or CasP. Many observers tend to box CasP as an ‘institutionalist’ theory, tracing its central process of ‘differential accumulation’ to Thorstein Veblen’s notion of ‘differential advantage’. This view, we argue, betrays a misunderstanding of CasP, Veblen or both. First, we are not … Read more

2018/09: Fix, 'Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality'

December 15, 2018

Where should we look to understand the origin of inequality? Most research focuses on three windows of evidence: (1) the archaeological record; (2) existing traditional societies; and (3) the historical record. I propose a fourth window of evidence — modern society itself. I hypothesize that we can infer the origin of inequality from the modern … Read more

2018/08: Bichler & Nitzan, 'CasP's '"Differential Accumulation" versus Veblen's "Differential Advantage"'

November 30, 2018

This paper clarifies a common misrepresentation of our theory of capital as power, or CasP. Many observers tend to box CasP as an ‘institutionalist’ theory, tracing its central process of ‘differential accumulation’ to Thorstein Veblen’s notion of ‘differential advantage’. This view, we argue, betrays a misunderstanding of CasP, Veblen or both. As we show, CasP’s … Read more

2018/07: Fix, 'The Trouble with Human Capital Theory'

August 20, 2018

Human capital theory is the dominant approach for understanding personal income distribution. According to this theory, individual income is the result of ‘human capital’. The idea is that human capital makes people more productive, which leads to higher income. But is this really the case? This paper takes a critical look at human capital theory … Read more

2018/06: Fix, 'Capitalist Income and Hierarchical Power'

August 20, 2018

This paper offers a new approach to the study of capitalist income. Building on the ‘capital as power’ framework, I propose that capitalists earn their income not from any productive asset, but from the legal right to command a corporate hierarchy. In short, I hypothesize that capitalist income stems from hierarchical power. Based on this … Read more

2018/05: Fix, 'The Growth of US Top Income Inequality'

July 29, 2018

What accounts for the growth of US top income inequality? This paper proposes a hierarchical redistribution hypothesis. The idea is that US firms have systematically redistributed income to the top of the corporate hierarchy. I test this hypothesis using a large scale hierarchy model of the US private sector. My method is to vary the … Read more

2018/04: Martin, 'The Autocatalytic Sprawl of Pseudorational Mastery (version 0.12)'

June 11, 2018

According to Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan capital is not an economic quantity but a mode of power; it could be sumarized as: “Capital is power quantified in monetary terms”. So, what do we do when we “quantify”? What is the nature of “money” in a capitalist society? And, indeed, what is “power” in the … Read more

2018/03: Fix, 'The Aggregation Problem'

May 22, 2018

This article discusses the aggregation problem and its implications for ecological economics. The aggregation problem consists of a simple dilemma: when adding heterogeneous phenomena together, the observer must choose the unit of analysis. The dilemma is that this choice affects the resulting measurement. This means that aggregate measurements are dependent on one’s goals, and on … Read more