Fix, ‘Dematerialization Through Services: Evaluating the Evidence’

March 16, 2019

ABSTRACT Dematerialization through services is a popular proposal for reducing environmental impact. The idea is that by shifting from the production of goods to the provision of services, a society can reduce its material demands. But do societies with a larger service sector actually dematerialize? I test the ‘dematerialization through services’ hypothesis with a focus … Read More

Post for CasP’s ‘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

Capitalism’s Deniers

January 8, 2019

Originally published at Real World Economics Review Blog. from Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan A new, capitalism-denying book is on the shelves, and it makes a stunning discovery: ‘Capitalism without competition is not capitalism’! Distortions: Capitalism Denied Capitalist crisis, like climate change, tends to breed ‘capitalism deniers’. The problem, argue the deniers, lies not in capitalism but in … Read More

Fix, ‘The Aggregation Problem: Implications for Ecological and Biophysical Economics’

January 4, 2019

ABSTRACT This paper discusses the dimension problem in economic aggregation, as it relates to ecological and biophysical economics. The dimension problem consists of a simple dilemma: when we aggregate, the observer must choose the dimension of analysis. The dilemma is that this choice affects the resulting measurement. This means that aggregate measurements are dependent on … Read More

Fix, ‘The Trouble With Human Capital Theory’

January 4, 2019

ABSTRACT 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 … 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

Bichler & Nitzan, ‘Arms and Oil in the Middle East: A Biography of Research’

December 4, 2018

ABSTRACT This essay interweaves two stories—one theoretical and empirical, the other autobiographical. The first story embeds the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the broader political economy of the Middle East and the global accumulation of “capital as power.” The second story narrates the authors’ personal journey to uncover, theorize, and research this enfoldment. The essay explores and … Read More

Fix, ‘Hierarchy and the power-law income distribution tail’

July 20, 2018

ABSTRACT What explains the power-law distribution of top incomes? This paper tests the hypothesis that it is firm hierarchy that creates the power-law income distribution tail. Using the available case-study evidence on firm hierarchy, I create the first large-scale simulation of the hierarchical structure of the US private sector. Although not tuned to do so, … Read More