Capital as Power

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* Book: Jonathan Nizan and Shimshon Bichler. Capital as Power: A Study of Order and Creorder.


Note from Michel Bauwens: strongly recommended, crucial book that goes beyond both liberal and Marxist interpretations of capital.

Contextual Quote

Blair Fix:

"Speaking of Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler, their work will be an important part of this blog. One hot summer with no air conditioning, I read their seminal book Capital as Power. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this book changed my life. It made me realize that most concepts in mainstream economics are built on a foundation of quicksand. This cemented, in my mind, that there was very little in mainstream economics worth keeping." (


Orsan Senalp:

"Jonathan Nitzan, Shimshon Bichler's concept of 'Capital as Power' (A Study of Order and Creorder) is in accordance with Alexander Bogdanov's ideas which allows an alaternative conception of 'social class' which is determined by insetead of the position of its memebers with regard to the forces of production (ownership or non-ownership) by their position with regard to power and capacity of organising society according to their self-image or collective consciousness / social being.

From the publisher:

"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’."