No. 2014/02: Fix, “Rethinking Profit: How Redistribution Drives Growth”

April 7, 2014

Working Paper No. 2014/02 Blair Fix, “Rethinking Profit: How Redistribution Drives Growth” Using a combination of heterodox economics and biophysical analysis, this paper investigates the relationship between economic distribution and the growth of material throughput. Empirical results show that the growth of “useful work” correlates with redistribution towards pro fit. Furthermore, increases in energy consumption are correlated … Read More

‘Is the Power of Mass Culture Profitable?’, Public Lecture by James McMahon

November 1, 2017

This presentation will examine how and why political economic theories of mass culture have accumulated, but not settled, methodological issues about the meaning of value and the nature of productivity. Labour is certainly an important factor to any comprehensive study of capitalist mass culture, but it is our assumptions about economic productivity and not the … Read More

Speaker Series on Capital as Power (October-November, 2015)

November 17, 2015

Organized by the Forum on Capital as Power and sponsored by the York Department of Political Science and Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought (open to all, with refreshments) Existing theories of capitalism, mainstream as well as heterodox, view capitalism as a mode of production and consumption. This speaker series interrogates capitalism as a … Read More

Putting Power Back Into Growth Theory

June 29, 2015

ABSTRACT Neoclassical growth theory assumes that economic growth is an atomistic process in which changes in distribution play no role. Unfortunately, when this assumption is tested against real-world evidence, it is systematically violated. This paper argues that a reality-based growth theory must reject neoclassical principles in favour of a powercentered approach. Building on Nitzan and … Read More

Third Speaker Series on the Capitalist Mode of Power

December 1, 2017

ABSTRACT Existing theories of capitalism, mainstream as well as heterodox, view capitalism as a mode of production and consumption. The purpose of this ongoing speaker series is to interrogate capitalism as a mode of power. The presentations offer a power theory of personal income distribution (Blair Fix, 2:30-5:30pm, October 17, 2017), explore the power to … Read More

Why Diamonds and De Beers?, or The Need for Accumulation Studies

April 15, 2016

Preface. I successfully defended my dissertation in December. This served as the introductory presentation for the defence. In it, I explain what I tried to do with the dissertation, the methods I used, and the larger project I hope it is initiating. Specifically, I suggest there is a need for accumulation studies as a field … Read More

Some Important Limitations of Income Inequality Data

July 11, 2015

Blair Fix, a PhD student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto, points to some important limitations of income inequality data. In a recent posting on, Fix shows that, in the case of the U.S., the Top 1% income share correlates not with the share of capitalists in national income (profit … Read More

Rethinking Economic Growth Theory From a Biophysical Perspective

December 29, 2014

Neoclassical growth theory is the dominant perspective for explaining economic growth. At its core are four implicit assumptions: 1) economic output can become decoupled from energy consumption; 2) economic distribution is unrelated to growth; 3) large institutions are not important for growth; and 4) labor force structure is not important for growth. Drawing on a … Read More