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  • 1
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    s.l.: Forum on Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
    Publication Date: 2018-06-22
    Description: The U.S. stock market is again in turmoil. After a two-year bull run in which share prices soared by nearly 50 per cent, the market is suddenly dropping. Since the beginning of 2018, it lost nearly 10 per cent of its value, threatening investors with an official ‘correction’ or worse. As always, there is no shortage of explanations. Politically inclined analysts emphasize Trump’s recently announced trade wars, sprawling scandals and threatening investigations, as well as the broader turn toward ‘populism’; interest-rate forecasters point to central-bank tightening and china’s negative credit impulse; quants speak of breached support lines and death crosses; bottom-up analysts highlight the negative implications of the Face-book/Cambridge Analytica debacle for the ‘free-data’ business model; and top-down fundamentalists indicate that, at near-record valuations, the stock market is a giant bubble ready to be punctured. And on the face of it, these explanations all ring true. They articulate various threats to future profits, interest rates and risk perceptions, and since equity prices discount expected risk-adjusted future earnings, these threats imply lower prices. But there is one little problem. Unlike their pundits, capitalists nowadays tend to look not forward, but backward: instead of matching asset prices to the distant future, they fit them to the immediate past.
    Keywords: P16 ; G01 ; ddc:330 ; asset pricing ; capitalization ; capitalized power ; major bear markets ; stock market ; systemic fear
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 2
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    s.l.: Forum on Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
    Publication Date: 2017-11-30
    Description: The study of capital as power (CasP) began when we were students in the 1980s and has since expanded into a broader project involving a growing number of researchers and new areas of inquiry. This paper provides a bird’s-eye view of the CasP journey. It explores what we have learned so far, reviews ongoing research, and suggests future trajectories – including the coevolution of Concepts of Power–Modes of Power (COP-MOPs); the origins of capitalized power; the state of capital; finance as the symbolic creordering of capitalism; the role of labour, production and waste; the capitalized environment; and the need for post-capitalist accounting.
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; capital as power ; capitalist mode of power
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 3
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    s.l.: Forum on Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
    Publication Date: 2017-11-30
    Description: Economic, financial and social commentators from all directions and persuasion are obsessed with the prospect of recovery. The world remains mired in a deep, prolonged crisis, and the key question seems to be how to get out of it. The purpose of our paper is to ask a very different question that few if any seem concerned with: can capitalists afford recovery in the first place?
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; crisis ; DA ; economic policy ; economic theory ; expectations ; growth ; income distribution ; Keynesianism ; Marxism ; monetarism ; neoclassical economics ; profit ; underconsumption
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 4
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    s.l.: Forum on Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
    Publication Date: 2017-11-30
    Description: What do economists mean when they talk about ‘capital accumulation’? Surprisingly, the answer to this question is anything but clear, and it seems the most unclear in times of turmoil. Consider the recent ‘financial crisis’. The very term already attests to the presumed nature and causes of the crisis, which most observers indeed believe originated in the financial sector and was amplified by pervasive financialization. However, when theorists speak about a financial crisis, they don’t speak about it in isolation. They refer to finance not in and of itself, but in relation to the so-called real capital stock. The recent crisis, they argue, happened not because of finance as such, but due to a mismatch between financial and real capital. The world of finance, they complain, has deviated from and distorted the real world of accumulation. And since, according to Milton Friedman, there is no such thing as a free lunch, it is only fitting that, having indulged in this distortion, we must now pay the price for it in the form of a financial crisis. This ‘mismatch thesis’ – the notion of a reality distorted by finance – is broadly accepted. In 2009, The Economist of London accused its readers of confusing ‘financial assets with real ones’, singling out their confusion as the root cause of the brewing crisis. Real assets, or wealth, the magazine explained, consist of ‘goods and products we wish to consume’ or of ‘things that give us the ability to produce more of what we want to consume’. Financial assets, by contrast, are not wealth; they are simply ‘claims on real wealth’. To confuse the inflation of latter for the expansion of the former is the surest recipe for disaster. The division between real wealth and financial claims on real wealth is a fundamental premise of political economy. This premise is accepted not only by liberal theorists, analysts and policymakers, but also by Marxists of various persuasions. And as we shall show below, it is a premise built on very shaky foundations. When liberals and Marxists say that there is a mismatch between financial and real capital, they are essentially making, explicitly or implicitly, three related claims: (1) that these are indeed separate entities; (2) that these entities should correspond to each other; and (3) that, in the actual world, they often do not. In what follows, we explain why these claims don’t hold water. To put it bluntly, neither liberals nor Marxists know how to compare real and financial capital, and the main reason is simple enough: they don’t know how to determine the magnitude of real capital to start with. The common, makeshift solution is to estimate this magnitude indirectly, by using the money price of capital goods – yet this doesn’t solve the problem either, since capital goods can have many prices and there is no way of knowing which of them, if any, is the ‘true’ one. Last but not least, even if we turn a blind eye and allow for these logical impossibilities and empirical travesties to stand, the result is still highly embarrassing. As it turns out, financial accumulation not only deviates from and distorts real accumulation, it also follows an opposite trajectory. For more than two centuries, economists left and right have argued that capitalism thrives on ‘real investment’ and the growth of ‘real capital’. But as we shall see, in reality, the best time for capitalists is when their ‘real accumulation’ tanks! . . . .
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; capital accumulation ; finance ; Marxism ; measurement ; neoclassical economics ; real-nominal duality ; Tobin’s Q
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 5
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    s.l.: Forum on Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
    Publication Date: 2017-11-30
    Description: Most explanations of stock market booms and busts are based on contrasting the underlying ‘fundamental’ logic of the economy with the exogenous, non-economic factors that presumably distort it. Our paper offers a radically different model, examining the stock market not from the mechanical viewpoint of a distorted economy, but from the dialectical perspective of capitalized power. The model demonstrates that (1) the valuation of equities represents capitalized power; (2) capitalized power is dialectically intertwined with systemic fear; and (3) systemic fear and capitalized power are mediated through strategic sabotage. This triangular model, we posit, can offer a basis for examining the asymptotes, or limits, of capitalized power and the ways in which these asymptotes relate to the historical and ongoing transformation of the capitalist mode of power.
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; capital as power ; crisis ; mismatch thesis ; stock market ; strategic sabotage ; systemic fear ; valuation
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 6
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    s.l.: Forum on Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
    Publication Date: 2017-11-30
    Description: During the late 1980s and early 1990s, we identified a new Middle East phenomenon that we called 'energy conflicts' and argued that these conflicts were intimately linked with the global processes of capital accumulation. This paper outlines the theoretical framework we have developed over the years and brings our empirical research up to date. It shows that the key stylized patterns we discovered more than twenty years ago – along with other regularities we have uncovered since then – remain pretty much unchanged: (1) conflict in the region continues to correlate tightly with the differential profits of the Weapondollar-Petrodollar Coalition, particularly the oil companies; (2) dominant capital continues to depend on stagflation to substitute for declining corporate amalgamation; and (3) capitalists the world over now need inflation to offset the spectre of debt deflation. The convergence of these interests bodes ill for the Middle East and beyond: all of these groups stand to benefit from higher oil prices, and oil prices rarely if ever rise without there being an energy conflict in the Middle East.
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; crisis ; differential accumulation ; energy conflicts ; Middle East ; Petro-Core
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 7
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    s.l.: Forum on Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
    Publication Date: 2017-11-30
    Description: This working paper contains an intervention by Corentin Debailleul and an extended reply by Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan. The exchange was first posted on the Capital as Power Forum in January 2016. Debailleul’s original questions are articulated at greater length here, while Bichler and Nitzan’s reply is reproduced as is.
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; capital as power ; capitalist mode of power ; Marxism
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 8
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    s.l.: Forum on Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
    Publication Date: 2017-11-30
    Description: 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 meaning of ‘growth’. Whereas conventional political economy equates the growth with a rising standard of living, we posit that much of this growth has nothing to do with livelihood as such: it represents not the improvement of wellbeing, but the expansion of sabotage itself. Building on this premise, the article historicizes, theorizes and models the relationship between changes in hierarchical power and sabotage on the one hand and the growth of energy capture on the other. It claims that hierarchical power is sought for its own sake; that building and sustaining this power demands strategic sabotage; and that sabotage absorbs a significant proportion of the energy captured by society. From this standpoint, capitalism grows, at least in part, not despite or because of sabotage, but through sabotage.
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; casp ; energy ; growth ; hierarchy ; sabotage
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 9
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    s.l.: Forum on Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
    Publication Date: 2017-11-30
    Description: FROM THE ARTICLE: 'During the late 1980s, we printed a series of working papers, offering a new approach to the political economy of Israel and wars in the Middle East. Our approach in these papers rested on three new concepts. It started by identifying the Weapondollar-Petrodollar Coalition – an alliance of armament firms, oil companies and financial institutions based mostly in the United States – whose interests, we posited, converged in the Middle East. It continued by arguing that the interests of this coalition were best measured by its differential accumulation – i.e., by its performance relative to other large firms. And it concluded by showing that variations in differential accumulation predicted subsequent Middle East energy conflicts (our term). At the time, the papers seemed unpublishable. They were politically unaligned (neither neoclassical nor Marxist). They were non-disciplinary (belonging to neither economics nor politics – or any other social science, for that matter). And they were written in non-academic language (i.e., simply, clearly and to the point). But they made a scientific prediction: the Middle East, they argued, was ripe for another round of military hostilities and oil crisis. And when the 1990-91 Gulf War broke out, their theoretical frame-work suddenly sounded very relevant’.
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; arms ; capital as power ; differential accumulation ; dominant capital ; Israel ; Middle East ; energy conflicts ; stagflation
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 10
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    s.l.: Forum on Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
    Publication Date: 2018-02-13
    Description: Rethinking resistance, power and production.
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; capital ; class ; exploitation ; labour power ; Occupy Wall Street ; productivity ; resistance ; wage ; wealth
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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