Martin, ‘The Autocatalytic Sprawl of Pseudorational Mastery ‘

June 1, 2019

ABSTRACT * Winner of the 2018 RECASP Essay Prize * According to Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler (2009), capital is not an economic quantity, but a mode of power. Their fundamental thesis could be summarized as follows: capital is power quantified in monetary terms. But what do we do when we quantify? What is the … Read More

Sharp, ‘Corporate Urbanization: Between the Future and Survival in Lebanon’

April 14, 2019

ABSTRACT If you look today at the skyline of downtowns throughout the Middle East and beyond, the joint-stock corporation has transformed the urban landscape. The corporation makes itself present through the proliferation of its urban mega-projects, including skyscrapers, downtown developments and gated communities; retail malls and artificial islands; airports and ports; and highways. Built into … 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

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, ‘Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality’

April 25, 2019

ABSTRACT Where should we look to understand the origin of inequality? I propose an unusual window of evidence — modern societies. I hypothesize that evidence for the origin of inequality is encoded in the institutional structure of industrial societies. To test this idea, I use a model to project modern trends into the past. This … Read More

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

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

Bichler & Nitzan, ‘With Their Back to the Future: Will Past Earnings Trigger the Next Crisis?’

September 25, 2018

ABSTRACT As these lines are being written (April 2018), the The U.S. stock market is again in turmoil. After a two-year bull run in which share prices soared by nearly 50 per cent, the market is suddenly dropping. Since the beginning of 2018, it lost nearly 10 per cent of its value, threatening investors with … Read More