Neighbor Science

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Important Concepts

November 13, 2018


We reference a lot of relatively unknown concepts throughout the show. This page lists them and where you can listen to episodes where we first discussed them.

Capital as Power (CasP)

A theory of capitalist political economy developed by professors Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan in the 90s and 00s. You can read the central text of this theory here.

We created a three-part series of episodes on its basic concepts:

  1. Why Capital as Power? What is capital?
  2. Capitalism and sabotage
  3. Capital accumulation through mergers and inflation


Firmhood and Human Rental

Concepts espoused by philosopher David Ellerman. Firmhood relates to the degree of control over a revenue-generating process. Human rental is a concept to explain the similarity between wage labor and chattel slavery. We did an episode on them here.



Capital: A bundle of money set aside to do business. The amount of money is based on what the investor thinks the company will earn in the future and how much risk is involved.

Firm: The business which, through contract, is actually in control of a given business venture. There are always many businesses involved, but ultimately all but one of them is hired by the one firm (or they are hired by someone hired by the firm, etc.). The firm decides what's being made, how, and so on, and they control how the money from the sale is divided up.

This term is somewhat confusing because economists usually use "firm" to just mean any organization involved in the economy. Maybe we can call it "master company" or something.

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A): A merger is when two companies are fused into one. An acquisition is when one company gets ownership over another company. Together, M&A is why everything is the same everywhere, and why we have more millionaires and billionaires than we used to.

Inflation: When prices increase. It can be thought of as if your money is becoming less valuable, but that's only a metaphor, in reality prices are going up. Inflation is a form of redistribution to business owners, because you have to pay more for the same item, so the business owner makes more while you spend more.