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. 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

No. 2016/01: Debailleul, Bichler and Nitzan, “Theory and Praxis, Theory and Practice, Practical Theory”

February 17, 2016

Working Paper No. 2016/01 Corentin Debailleul, Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan, “Theory and Praxis, Theory and Practice, Practical Theory” This working paper contains an intervention by Corentin Debailleul and an extended reply by Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan. The exchange was first posted on the Capital as Power Forum in January 2016. Debailleul’s original questions … Read more

No. 2015/04: Bichler and Nitzan, “The CasP Project: Past, Present, Future”

December 22, 2015

Working Paper No. 2015/04 Shimson Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan, “The CasP Project: Past, Present, Future” The study of capital as power (CasP) began when we were students in the 1980s and has since expanded into a broader project involving a growing number of researchers and new areas of inquiry. This paper provides a bird’s-eye view … Read more

No. 2015/03: Bichler and Nitzan, “Capital Accumulation: Fiction and Reality”

June 11, 2015

Working Paper No. 2015/03 Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan, “Capital Accumulation: Fiction and Reality” 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 … Read more

No. 2015/02: McMahon, "Marxism, Culture and the Measurement of Value"

March 6, 2015

Working Paper No. 2015/02 James McMahon, “Marxism, Culture and the Measurement of Value” Various studies of mass culture use the Marxist labour theory of value to conceptualize how capital is being accumulated from cultural production and its broader social and immaterial dimensions. However, there is a significant methodological problem that lingers. The issue stems from … Read more