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The asymptotes of power: five years later

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 5:01 pm
by Jonathan Nitzan
2012: ‘The asymptotes of power’, Real-World Economics Review, 2012, No. 60, p. 48.

“We have dissected, step by step, the national income accounts of the United States, from the most general categories down to the net profits of the country’s largest corporations. We have shown that, from the viewpoint of the leading corporations, most of the redistributional processes – from the aggregate to the disaggregate – are close to being exhausted. By the end of the twentieth century, the largest U.S. corporations, approximated by the Top 0.01%, have reached an unprecedented situation: their net profit share of national income hovers around record highs, and it seems that this share cannot be increased much further under the current political-economic regime. This asymptotic situation, we believe, explains why leading capitalists have been struck by systemic fear. Peering into the future, they realize that the only way to further increase their distributional power is to apply an even greater dose of violence. Yet, given the high level of force already being exerted, and given that the exertion of even greater force may bring about heightened resistance, capitalists are increasingly fearful of the backlash they are about to unleash. The closer they get to the asymptote, the bleaker the future they see.”

2017: 'Europe’s youth don’t care to vote—but they’re ready to join a mass revolt', Quartz, April 28.

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