2019/02.1: Fix, ‘How the Rich are Different: Hierarchical Power as the Basis of Income Size and Class’

November 29, 2019

This paper investigates a new approach to understanding personal and functional income distribution. I propose that hierarchical power — the command of subordinates in a hierarchy — is what distinguishes the rich from the poor and capitalists from workers. Specifically, I hypothesize that individual income increases with hierarchical power, as does the share of individual … 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

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

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, ‘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

2018/09: Fix, ‘Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality’

December 15, 2018

Where should we look to understand the origin of inequality? Most research focuses on three windows of evidence: (1) the archaeological record; (2) existing traditional societies; and (3) the historical record. I propose a fourth window of evidence — modern society itself. I hypothesize that we can infer the origin of inequality from the modern … 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