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'.
absentee ownership accumulation benchmark bond bourgeoisie breadth business enterprise capital class corporation cosmology credit creorder crisis debt deflation depth differential dissonance vs. resonance dominant capital duality elementary particles equilibrium exploitation feudalism fictitious capital finance globalization goodwill government green-field hologram hype industry inflation institutionalism labour theory of value liberty markup mergers and acquisitions mode of power mode of production neoclassical economics neo-Marxism nomos normal rate of return oppression political economy politics vs. economics price productive vs. unproductive labour productivity profit real vs. nominal risk sabotage securities skilled vs. unskilled labour socially necessary abstract labour space stagnation stagflation state of capital stocks surplus value tangible vs. intangible assets technology uncertainty utility utils