Tag Archives: energy

The Growth of Hierarchy and the Death of the Free Market

October 29, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Do you believe in free markets? Do you think that unfettered competition is the best way to organize society? If so, this post is intended to shake your faith. No, I’m not going to argue that free markets are bad. Instead, I’m going to show you some … Read More

Energy and the Size Distribution of Firms

October 20, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In this post, I’m going to return to the relation between energy and institution size. When we left off last time (in Groping in the Dark), I had described my struggle to understand how the size of firms and governments changes with energy use. It took me … 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

No. 2017/02: Bichler & Nitzan, ‘Growing through Sabotage’

July 14, 2017

According to the theory of capital as power, capitalism, like any other mode of power, is born through sabotage and lives in chains – and yet everywhere we look we see it grow and expand. What explains this apparent puzzle of ‘growth in the midst of sabotage’? The answer, we argue, begins with the very … Read More

Fix, ‘Energy and Institution Size’

February 10, 2017

ABSTRACT Why do institutions grow? Despite nearly a century of scientific effort, there remains little consensus on this topic. This paper offers a new approach that focuses on energy consumption. A systematic relation exists between institution size and energy consumption per capita: as energy consumption increases, institutions become larger. I hypothesize that this relation results … Read More

No. 2016/03: Di Muzio and Dow, “Uneven and Combined Confusion: On the Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism and the Rise of the West”

June 11, 2016

This article offers a critique of Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancioğlu’s How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism. We argue that while all historiography features a number of silences, shortcomings or omissions, the omissions in How the West Came to Rule lead to a mistaken view of the emergence of capitalism. … Read More