Giving an abstraction a name tends to give it concreteness. For instance, when I think of "dominant capital", I tend to think of some sort of uniform capitalist entity. Of course, we all know that dominant capital is hardly uniform -- indeed, its composition changes greatly over time.
An interesting question to ask is -- how long do firms tend to remain within dominant capital? I recently investigated this question, and the answer (perhaps not surprising) is not very long.
The chart below decomposes the top 400 COMPUSTAT firms (ranked by employment size) over the last 64 years. The result is a histogram, with the number of years spent as a top 400 firm plotted on the x-axis, and the percentage of firms having this duration plotted on the y-axis.
The average firm remains within the top 400 for only 16.3 years. However, the resulting distribution is highly skewed to the right. While half of all firms last less than 16 years, some firms remain within the top 400 for a very long time. Indeed, there seems to be a kernel of 33 firms that have remained within the top 400 for the entire period for which data is available. Interestingly, notice that this last data point is an extreme outlier, one that is not expected, given the probability distribution shown in blue. It seems that some firms find themselves in a privileged position (i.e. a position of power) from which it is difficult, or impossible, to be dislodged.