Presents a fresh framework for understanding capital as a mode of power. Challenging the liberal and Marxist approaches, this book articulates a theory of accumulation, and develops empirical methods of research.
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, which 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 the 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'.
1. Why Write a Book About Capital? Part 1: Dilemmas of Political Economy 2. The Dual Worlds 3. Power 4. Deflections of Power Part 2: The Enigma of Capital 5. Neoclassical Parables 6. The Marxist Entanglement I: Values and Prices 7. The Marxist Entanglement II: Who is Productive, Who is Not? 8. Accumulation of What? Part 3: Capitalization 9. Capitalization: A Brief Anthropology 10. Capitalization: Fiction, Mirror or Distortion? 11. Capitalization: Elementary Particles Part 4: Bringing Power Back In 12. Accumulation and Sabotage 13. The Capitalist Mode of Power Part 5: Accumulation of Power 14. Differential Accumulation and Dominant Capital 15. Breadth 16. Depth 17. Differential Accumulation: Past and Future