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.

Guerra in Ucraina, intervista a Emiliano Brancaccio

Micromega, 28 febbraio 2022

“Un nuovo ‘whatever it takes’ per salvare la pace in Europa è possibile. Sancire la fine dell’espansionismo NATO e UE a est. Ma vedo troppi elmetti in testa e cervelli già spenti, tra putiniani senza ritegno e atlantisti senza memoria”.

Continua a leggere su Micromega

CATASTROPHE OR REVOLUTION

Rethinking Marxism (2022)

CATASTROPHE OR REVOLUTION
by Emiliano Brancaccio and Marco Veronese Passarella

This essay critically examines a statement made by former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, before and during a debate with one of the authors. Blanchard argued that a Keynesian “revolution” is needed to avert a future “catastrophe.” But analyzing the historical process this essay names the law of capital’s reproduction and tendency toward centralization leads to a grim prediction: the tendency of free capital to centralize and thereby jeopardize all other freedoms threatens today’s liberal-democratic hegemonic institutions. In the face of this prospect, neither Keynesian policy nor a universal basic income seem adequate. The only revolution able to avert catastrophe is the redefinition of the most powerful tool in the history of political struggles: collective planning, subversively regarded as a factor for developing free social individuality and a newly liberated human being.

Published online: 7 Feb 2022
DOI: 10.1080/08935696.2022.2031030

“Democrazia sotto assedio” sul Mattino

Stralci dal Mattino, 3 febbraio 2022

“[..] La struttura del volume e la presentazione dei contributi sono adatte a tutte le tipologie di lettori: appassionati di politica, studenti e studiosi delle scienze economiche, ma anche policy makers e militanti interroganti, categoria quest’ultima in via d’estinzione [..] Può dirsi un libro di libri: dalle lezioni brevi ai dibattiti, dal saggio di Domenico Suppa alle preziosissime note di Tommaso Brollo, passando per le ricche chiose con Fabiana De Cristofaro. Così, paragrafo dopo paragrafo, virgolettato dopo virgolettato, cadono diversi miti: il PNRR, ad esempio, che, pur essendo un piano pubblico, non soddisfa per dimensioni reali e per capacità di incidere concretamente sul futuro del paese; oppure la nuova sfida ecologista di stati e grandi imprese, solo di facciata, un grande bluff che la finanza verde sembra giocare su un tavolo di bari. È evidente che le democrazie occidentali risultano strette tra due fenomeni entrambi comodi al capitalismo contemporaneo: il populismo e la tecnocrazia, vicendevolmente utili, tra l’altro, alla propria sopravvivenza. [..] (dalla recensione di Paolo Ricci – Università Federico II di Napoli)