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.

No. 2017/02: Bichler & Nitzan, 'Growing through Sabotage'

July 14, 2017

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 ‘growth in the midst of sabotage’? The answer, we argue, begins with the very … Read more

No. 2017/01: Cochrane, 'Differentiating Diamonds'

January 3, 2017

In 1939, the De Beers diamond company faced a dire situation. The company’s accumulation had been dwindling for decades. The Great Depression not only pushed diamond sales to historic lows, it shifted American attitudes around consumption and thriftiness to the detriment of the luxury object. In this article, I bring together Liz McFall’s assertion that … Read more

No. 2016/07: Bichler and Nitzan, 'A CasP Model of the Stock Market'

November 7, 2016

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 capitalized … Read more

No. 2016/6: Pitts, 'Capital as Power in the Creative Industries'

September 25, 2016

Using Nitzan and Bichler’s understanding of the dissonant relationship between creativity and power and business and industry, this paper investigates the rhythms of freelance creative work. It reports findings from interviews conducted with freelancers working in the Dutch creative industries. The findings suggest that freelancers enjoy more responsibility and autonomy than formal employees. But this autonomy represents a risk that … Read more

No. 2016/5: Cochrane, "Disobedient Things"

August 24, 2016

Analysis of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the accumulatory decline of BP demonstrates both the analytical efficacy of the capital-as-power (CasP) approach to value theory, and the irreducible role of objects in the process of accumulation. Rather than productivity per se, accumulation depends on control of productivity. Owners’ control is over both the human and … Read more

No. 2016/04: Fix, 'Energy and Institution Size'

June 20, 2016

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 from … Read more

No. 2016/03: Di Muzio and Dow, "Uneven and Combined Confusion: On the Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism and the Rise of the West"

June 11, 2016

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. … Read more

No. 2016/02: Cochrane, “Why Diamonds and De Beers?, or The Need for Accumulation Studies”

April 27, 2016

Working Paper No. 2016/02 D.T. Cochrane, “Why Diamonds and De Beers?, or The Need for Accumulation Studies” I successfully defended my dissertation in December. This served as the introductory presentation for the defence. In it, I explain what I tried to do with the dissertation, the methods I used, and the larger project I hope … Read more