Have We Passed Peak Capitalism?

Have We Passed Peak Capitalism?
Fix, Blair. (2022). Economics from the Top Down. 7 July. pp. 1-41. (Article - Magazine; English).


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https://economicsfromthetopdown.com/2022/07/12/have-we-passed-peak-capitalism/, https://www.econstor.eu/handle/10419/261301

Abstract or Brief Description

Among leftists, predicting the end of capitalism is a favorite parlor game. For example, as a graduate student in the 2010s, I remember discovering the 1976 edition of Marx’s Capital and being struck by the introduction. Written by the Belgian Marxist Ernest Mandel, the foreword concluded that it was ‘most unlikely’ that capitalism would survive another half-century.

This prediction (and many like it) did not age well. What capitalism’s critics often misunderstand is that social orders rarely ‘die’. More often, they fade into irrelevance. Just as no one can point to the end-date of feudalism, it seems unlikely that capitalism will have a decisive ‘finish’. But what it may have is a peak.

The goal of this post is to chart the rise (and potential peak) of ‘capitalism’ … as I understand it. This caveat is key. To study a social system, we must first define it. To many people, capitalism is a ‘mode of production’ (a definition inherited from Marx). The view that I take here, however, is that capitalism is primarily an ideology — or what Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler call a ‘mode of power’. Capitalism is a set of ideas that justify the modern social order.

Although there are many ways to chart the rise of capitalism, what interests me here is that it was the first major ideology to have spread during the era of mass publication. That means capitalism’s rise (and potential peak) should be visible in the word frequency of written language.



Publication Type

Article - Magazine


capitalism economics ideology language religion


BN Methodology
BN Myth
BN Power
BN Religion
BN Civilization & Social Systems
BN Culture
BN Hegemony
BN History
BN Ideology
BN Institutions

Depositing User

Jonathan Nitzan

Date Deposited

22 Dec 2022 18:51

Last Modified

22 Dec 2022 18:51



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