Introduction: The provocations of capital as power
In the social and natural sciences it is rare to find the introduction of a work whose primary aim is to critically challenge what Lakatos called the 'hard core' of long-cherished theories and, based on this critique, construct a novel theoretical perspective from which to interpret the world anew (Lakatos and Musgrave 1970: 133). This, in essence, is what Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler (2009) have set out to do to the field of political economy in their Capital as Power: A Study of Order and Creorder. They do not offer a marginal critique of political economy, but a foundational one. Through decades of painstaking original research and critique, Nitzan and Bichler have developed a unique and innovative theory of capital- arguably the central institution of the global political economy. Though they do not aim to provide a comprehensive theory of capitalist society in general, given the aims of their work, their critique of neoclassical and Marxist definitions of capital, and the introduction and careful explication of their own approach to capital and its accumulation, their work cannot fail but to provoke.
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