Can A Service Transition Save the Planet?

November 12, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Let’s talk sustainability. Unless you’re an anti-science crank, you probably agree that we’ve got a problem with carbon emissions. We need to drastically cut emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change. On this we should all agree. The question that’s open for debate is how to cut emissions. … Read More

Where’s the Barefoot Revolution in Economics?

November 6, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Yesterday I was reminded of what got me interested in economics. I’ll preface this by saying that I make my living as a substitute teacher in Toronto. It’s not glamorous, but it pays the bills. It gives me time to do research from outside academia. When I’m … Read More

The Growth of Hierarchy and the Death of the Free Market

October 29, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Do you believe in free markets? Do you think that unfettered competition is the best way to organize society? If so, this post is intended to shake your faith. No, I’m not going to argue that free markets are bad. Instead, I’m going to show you some … Read More

Energy and the Size Distribution of Firms

October 20, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In this post, I’m going to return to the relation between energy and institution size. When we left off last time (in Groping in the Dark), I had described my struggle to understand how the size of firms and governments changes with energy use. It took me … Read More

Visualizing Power-Law Distributions

October 15, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In this post we’re going to take a journey into the world of power-law distributions. Power laws pop up again and again in my research. But I’ve never taken the time to discuss what makes them so weird. This post will be a little ‘power-law primer’ that … Read More

Agent-Based Models and the Ghost in the Machine

October 7, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In the opening post of this blog, I described my ‘top-down’ approach to studying society. This means studying groups of people without trying to reduce everything to the actions of individuals. It’s not that I think individual actions are unimportant. Of course they are important. The problem … Read More

Groping in the Dark: The Untold Side of Research

October 2, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. There is an exciting side of blogging that I want to explore here. Blogging can tell the story behind research. This is something you don’t get in journals. Most scientific articles obey a formula that goes like this: Here is the question I asked. Here is how … Read More

Video: Can Capitalists Afford Economic Growth? An Animation

September 15, 2019

Elvire Thouvenot has produced an animated video that summarizes the key points of Bichler and Nitzan’s 2014 paper “Can Capitalists Afford Recovery? Three Views on Economic Policy in Times of Crisis.” This paper was first printed in Review of Capital as Power. It was reprinted in Philosophers for Change. Watch the video below: