No. 2017/04: Bichler and Nitzan, ‘Arms and Oil in the Middle East: A Biography of Research’

August 13, 2017

During the late 1980s, we printed a series of working papers, offering a new approach to the political economy of Israel and wars in the Middle East. Our approach in these papers rested on three new concepts. It started by identifying the Weapondollar-Petrodollar Coalition – an alliance of armament firms, oil companies and financial institutions … Read More

No. 2017/03: Fix, ‘Evidence for a Power Theory of Personal Income Distribution’

July 26, 2017

This paper proposes a new ‘power theory’ of personal income distribution. Contrary to the standard assumption that income is proportional to productivity, I hypothesize that income is most strongly determined by social power, as indicated by one’s position within an institutional hierarchy. While many theorists have proposed a connection between personal income and power, this paper is the … Read More

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

Comment on Can Capitalists Afford a Trumped Recovery?

May 12, 2017

The following commentary on Nitzan and Bichler’s piece ‘Can Capitalist Afford a Trumped Recovery?’ first appeared on the blog Pension Pulse, written by Leo Kolivakis. Earlier this week, I hooked up for a lunch with George Archer and Jonathan Nitzan, two friends of mine who also had previous stints working at BCA Research. I enjoyed our lunch … Read More

Baines, ‘Accumulating through Food Crisis? Farmers, Commodity Traders and the Distributional Politics of Food Crisis’

May 2, 2017

ABSTRACT This paper considers the domestic and international ramifications of financialization and grain price instability in the US agri-food sector. It finds that during the recent period of high and volatile prices, the average income of large-scale farms reached the earnings threshold of the top percentile of US households, and agricultural commodity traders markedly outperformed … Read More

Did the Market Punish United Airlines?

April 19, 2017

In the days following the wide-spread distribution of a video depicting Chicago transportation police officers violently removing Dr. David Dao from a United Airlines flight, there was celebration as the market pummelled the airlines shares (UAL). Or did it? Although the incident generated a great deal of outrage on Twitter, and early in the trading … Read More

DiMuzio and Dow, ‘Uneven and Combined Confusion’

February 17, 2017

ABSTRACT 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 … Read More

Fix, ‘Energy and Institution Size’

February 10, 2017

ABSTRACT 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 … Read More