Capital as Power: A Study of Order and Creorder (RIPE Series in Global Political Economy)
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Conventional theories of capitalism are mired in a deep crisis: after centuries of debate, they are still unable to tell us what capital is. Liberals and Marxists both think of capital as an ‘economic’ entity that they count in universal units of ‘utils’ or ‘abstract labour’, respectively. But these units are totally fictitious. Nobody has ever been able to observe or measure them, and for a good reason: they don’t exist. Since liberalism and Marxism depend on these non-existing units, their theories hang in suspension. They cannot explain the process that matters most – the accumulation of capital.
This book offers a radical alternative. According to the authors, capital is not a narrow economic entity, but a symbolic quantification of power. It has little to do with utility or abstract labour, and it extends far beyond machines and production lines. Capital, the authors claim, represents the organized power of dominant capital groups to reshape – or creorder – their society.
Written in simple language, accessible to lay readers and experts alike, the book develops a novel political economy. It takes the reader through the history, assumptions and limitations of mainstream economics and its associated theories of politics. It examines the evolution of Marxist thinking on accumulation and the state. And it articulates an innovative theory of ‘capital as power’ and a new history of the ‘capitalist mode of power’.
Andreessen as a basis for Netscape, and the idea to use the internet as a basis for Healtheon’s integration of the US health-care industry. The actual development and implementation of both ideas were done entirely by others. According to Michael Lewis (2000: xvii), many of Silicon Valley’s greatest innovations – including its so-called ‘new-new things’ – are rarely earth shattering or even novel. Rather, they are notions ‘poised to be taken seriously in the marketplace’, ideas that have been
the concept of ‘primitive accumulation’. This is the mechanism through which state violence and power penetrate the inner workings of accumulation. Primitive accumulation, though, is an exception to the rule. During the normal course of ‘expanded reproduction’, whereby ‘real’ capital expands through the legitimate production and appropriation of surplus value, the state acts on capital only from the outside, as an external regulator. The problem with this distinction is that the two types of
undermine the differential accumulation of the leading corporations. They can even move toward a truly democratic society, where the citizens themselves make policy and dominant capital fades into oblivion. These options are all open in principle – that is, assuming today’s ‘policy maker’ can even fathom them, let alone fathom them and retain their status as ‘officials’ of the capitalist state. But one way or the other, the systemic patterns of US differential accumulation suggest that these
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