Friday, February 5, 2021

Dominant capital is much more powerful than you think — Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan

According to the theory of capital as power (CasP), capitalists and corporations are driven not to maximize profit, but to ‘beat the average’. Their yardstick is not an unmeasurable theoretical abstraction, but the readily observable performance of others. Their aim is not to increase their ‘material gain’, counted in fictitious utils or socially necessary abstract labour time, but to earn more money than everyone else. And the reason, we argue, has to do with power. In capitalism, capital is power, and to accumulate it differentially – i.e., relative to others – is to fortify and augment one’s organized power over others....
In the animal world, three things and three things only are important — food, sex, and standing in the social hierarchy relative to dominance and submission. Got that?

Real-World Economics Review Blog
Dominant capital is much more powerful than you think
Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan, authors of Capital as Power: A Study of Order and Creorder


lastgreek said...

"In the animal world, three things and three things only are important — food, sex, and standing in the social hierarchy relative to dominance and submission. Got that?"

Got it! But in the human world, the land/territory is paramount. Obviously, since without the land good luck with the first one "food." And good luck having an interest in sex on an empty stomach :(

I bring the "land/territory" up because the reason Greece currently spends a huge portion of its budget on the military is because it's in constant, daily threat of losing its land/territory to the Turks.

But here's the thing. The Greeks need to stop simply defending what little remains of their ancestral lands/territories and go on the offensive. You see, the Turks know that if their territorial aggressions fail, the status quo remains -- nothing gained, AND nothing lost. If they knew that failure also meant a loss of their land/territory, "skin in the game" as Taleb likes to say, maybe they'd cease their aggresive ways.

What's currently holding the Turks back is the Greek airforce (Greece just recently acquired French Rafale fighter jets, and now has the upgraded F-16 Viper class) and Greek navy (lucky for the Greeks, the Turks are a grassland peoples, not seafaring; Wonder how many know how to swim?)

The Turks knew the Armenians were illprepared for war. That's why they pounced.

Tom Hickey said...

@ lastgreek

Animals are territorial. Dominance means controlling what happens on your turf. You constantly have to fight or threaten to prove you are in control by dominating challengers and keeping subordinates in line. This is "the law of the jungle." Like firms seek to "dominate" their industries. Yes, that is the term that is used.

See Robert Ardrey's The Territorial ImperativeThe Territorial Imperative, for example.

In it Ardrey restated and developed his challenge to the reigning methodological assumption of the social sciences, that human behavior is fundamentally distinct from animal behavior. As he writes in The Territorial Imperative, "The dog barking at you from behind his master’s fence acts for a motive indistinguishable from that of his master when the fence was built."

Got that?

Matt Franko said...

Textbook Darwin 101...

Peter Pan said...

Beware expansionist Greeks...

Ahmed Fares said...

Greeks have a bigger problem than the Turks. They can't make babies.

The Greek fertility rate is around 1.3 which demographers call the "lowest-low", well below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1. No society has ever recovered from that level.

Furthermore, a demographic decline is a compound phenomenon, unlike the climate. Even if it’s 53 degrees today, that doesn’t prevent it being 87 degrees in 20 years’ time. But, with population, once you reach a certain demographic weakness, you have too few people around to correct the problem in time to save your over-generous welfare entitlements, not to mention culture and language. That’s why demographers talk about “lowest-low” fertility — 1.3 or below — from which no society in human history has ever recovered.

If Greeks wants to go to war, they should do so quickly, before they run out of Greeks.

Peter Pan said...

Sparta only needed 300.

lastgreek said...


Three words to describe Greece: mountains, seas, and sun -- lots of sun (and why Greek honey is so damn good).

So, not enough arable land to support a larger population. Any increase will result in a proportional increase in immigration.

"Sparta only needed 300"

Nasty, mean SOBs. You need a-holes like that on your side.

Ahmed Fares said...


Point taken. I suppose there is some natural carrying capacity for a country. My comment was addressed to a declining population.

Demographers speak of a "population halving time". For a fertility rate of 1.3, that halving time is 46 years. That means 10 million Greeks become 5 million, then 2.5 million, and so on. At some point, you lose the ability to project power, unless you can find some larger power to protect you, but empires rise and fall.

The Greek population pyramid is top heavy with an increasing aged dependency ratio. That means a lot of hardship for young Greeks. Those who emigrate will mean more of a burden on the ones who remain. Remittances sent back to Greece can mitigate some of that burden. This also holds true for most European countries, especially countries like Italy, Spain, etc., with the same bad demographics.

Incidentally, I'm from Lebanon. We have the same nice Mediterranean climate but because Lebanon is a horribly corrupt country, I have to freeze my ass off in Canada instead.

Lebanon has a population of about 6 million of which a couple of millions are refugees. The diaspora is at about 15 million. In any event, I identify as a Muslim, and there are 1.8 billion of us. So ethnicity is not a big thing with me. I feel as close to a North African Maghrebi Muslim as I do to those from my own country.

lastgreek said...

Ahmed, regardless of your religion, like me, you’re Mediterranean.