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

Fix, ‘Economics from the Top Down: Does Hierarchy Unify Economic Theory?’

August 17, 2018

ABSTRACT What is the unit of analysis in economics? The prevailing orthodoxy in mainstream economic theory is that the individual is the ‘ultimate’ unit of analysis. The implicit goal of mainstream economics is to root macro-level social structure in the micro-level actions of individuals. But there is a simple problem with this approach: our knowledge … 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

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

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

Nitzan & Bichler, ‘El capital como poder. Un estudio del orden y el creorden’

April 30, 2018

ABSTRACT (Spanish) Las teorías convencionales del capitalismo están sumidas en una profunda crisis: tras siglos de debates todavía son incapaces de decirnos qué es el capital. Tanto liberales como marxistas se refieren al capital como una entidad ‘económica’ que puede ser contabilizada en unidades universales de ‘utilidad’ o de ‘trabajo abstracto’. Pero estas unidades son … Read More