Invitation to a Speaker Series on the Capitalist Mode of Power

York Lanes, Room 305, York University, Keele Campus                                    

Existing theories of capitalism, mainstream as well as heterodox, view capitalism as a mode of production and consumption. The purpose of this speaker series is to interrogate capitalism as a mode of power. The talks are organized by The Forum on Capital as Power (www.capitalaspower.com) and sponsored by the York Department of Political Science and the Graduate Programme in Social and Political Thought. There will be refreshments and all are welcome.

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013, 2:30-4:30

Jonathan Nitzan. Professor of Political Economy, Department of Political Science and the Graduate Programme of Social and Political Thought, York University (nitzan@yorku.ca)

Can Capitalists Afford Recovery? Economic Policy When Capital Is Power. Theorists and policymakers from all directions and persuasions remain obsessed with the prospect of recovery. For mainstream economists, the key question is how to bring about such a recovery. For Marxist and heterodox critics, the main issue is whether sustained growth is possible to start with. But there is a prior question that neither seems to ask: can capitalists afford recovery in the first place?

Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013, 2:30-4:30

Jordan Brennan. PhD student at the Department of Political Science, York University (jbrennan79@sympatico.ca) and an economist with UNIFOR

A Shrinking Universe: How Corporate Power Shapes Inequality. ‘Economic inequality’ has recently appeared on the public radar in North America, but much of the attention has been confined to its ominously high level and its socially corrosive impact. The long-term drivers of inequality, by contrast, have attracted less attention. This presentation will explore the linkages between corporate power and inequality, arguing that both the level and pattern of inequality in Canada closely shadow the differential power of capital.

Wednesday, Nov 13, 2013, 2:30-4:30

James McMahon. PhD student at the Graduate Programme of Social and Political Thought, York University (jmcmahon@yorku.ca)

I’ve Seen This Movie A Thousand Times: Risk and the Hollywood Film Business. Why does Hollywood lack originality? Why is Hollywood cinema so repetitive? This presentation will theoretically and empirically explain why Hollywood’s so-called risk-aversion is strategic. The decline in risk is a sign of how the major distributors have been able to exercise greater and greater control over the social relations of cinema.

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013, 2:30-4:30

D.T. Cochrane. PhD student at the Graduate Programme of Social and Political Thought, York University (vis.formandi@gmail.com)

The Power of Love: Diamonds and the Accumulation of De Beers. Through the early-20th century, the power of the De Beers’ diamond cartel was dwindling. Its resurrection came with WWII. The company’s reversal of fortune required the construction and maintenance of relations with romantic couples, industrial diamond users, multiple government agencies and diamonds themselves. This presentation will examine De Beers’ accumulation and the translation of these qualitative relationships into capital