Convergence in solvency and capital centralization: A B-VAR analysis for high-income and euro area countries

“[..] We could say, in a nutshell, that a tendency seems to emerge from divergence towards convergence in the structures of solvency and ownership control of national capitalisms. We would be tempted to affirm that divergence tends towards convergence, as if a sort of “law of one price” also operated on the structure of the centralization of capital and the relative conditions of solvency of the various nations [..] Whether and to what extent this international convergence in the concentration of economic power can have more general repercussions on the “resilience of liberal capitalism”, “its democratic institutions” and even peace between nations remains an open question [..]”

Emiliano Brancaccio, Raffaele Giammetti, Milena Lopreite, Michelangelo Puliga (2022). “Convergence in solvency and capital centralization: A B-VAR analysis for high-income and euro area countries”. METROECONOMICA, 18 June.

In Praise of ‘general laws’ of Capitalism: Notes from a Debate with Daron Acemoglu

Review of Political Economy, 2 March 2022

In Praise of ‘general laws’ of Capitalism: Notes from a Debate with Daron Acemoglu

by Emiliano Brancaccio and Fabiana De Cristofaro

This essay develops the topics of a debate between Daron Acemoglu and Emiliano Brancaccio hosted by the Feltrinelli Foundation in June 2021. Acemoglu argues that Marx’s and his epigon Piketty’s attempts to unveil ‘general laws of capitalism’ are doomed to failure as they neglect institutions’ heterogeneity and their dynamics. Acemoglu provides historical and empirical evidence in support of the idea that such ‘laws’ are denied by ‘counterfactuals’. In this paper, we criticize Acemoglu’s epistemological view by arguing that the dynamics of institutions could strengthen general ‘laws’ rather than defeat them. We also show that Acemoglu empirical results can be overturned: a revision of his tests shows that Piketty’s law and the Marxian law of capital centralization find support in the empirical analysis. It is therefore appropriate to continue the investigation about the relevance of these ‘laws’, also for their possible implications on the future of liberal-democratic capitalism.

Brancaccio, E., De Cristofaro, F. (2022). In Praise of ‘general laws’ of Capitalism: Notes from a Debate with Daron Acemoglu. Review of Political Economy. First published online: 2 March. DOI: 10.1080/09538259.2022.2037930.