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The Social Architecture of Capitalism

  • Ian Wright

A dynamic model of the social relations between workers and capitalists is introduced. The model is deduced from the assumption that the law of value is an organising principle of modern economies. The model self-organises into a dynamic equilibrium with statistical properties that are in close qualitative and in many cases quantitative agreement with a broad range of known empirical distributions of developed capitalism, including the power-law distribution of firm size, the Laplace distribution of firm and GDP growth, the lognormal distribution of firm demises, the exponential distribution of the duration of recessions, the lognormal-Pareto distribution of income, and the gamma-like distribution of the rate-of-profit of firms. Normally these distributions are studied in isolation, but this model unifies and connects them within a single causal framework. In addition, the model generates business cycle phenomena, including fluctuating wage and profit shares in national income about values consistent with empirical studies. A testable consequence of the model is a conjecture that the rate-of-profit distribution is consistent with a parameter-mix of a ratio of normal variates with means and variances that depend on a firm size parameter that is distributed according to a power-law.

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Paper provided by arXiv.org in its series Papers with number cond-mat/0401053.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
Date of revision: Mar 2011
Publication status: Published in Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 346, pp. 589-622, 2005
Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:cond-mat/0401053
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://arxiv.org/

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  1. Gaffeo, Edoardo & Gallegati, Mauro & Palestrini, Antonio, 2003. "On the size distribution of firms: additional evidence from the G7 countries," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 324(1), pages 117-123.
  2. Yoshi Fujiwara & Corrado Di Guilmi & Hideaki Aoyama & Mauro Gallegati & Wataru Souma, 2003. "Do Pareto-Zipf and Gibrat laws hold true? An analysis with European Firms," Papers cond-mat/0310061, arXiv.org, revised Nov 2003.
  3. Ormerod, Paul & Mounfield, Craig, 2001. "Power law distribution of the duration and magnitude of recessions in capitalist economies: breakdown of scaling," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 293(3), pages 573-582.
  4. William Cook & Paul Ormerod, 2002. "Power Law Distribution of the Frequency of Demises of U.S Firms," Papers cond-mat/0212186, arXiv.org.
  5. Youngki Lee & Luis A. N. Amaral & David Canning & Martin Meyer & H. Eugene Stanley, 1998. "Universal features in the growth dynamics of complex organizations," Papers cond-mat/9804100, arXiv.org.
  6. Ormerod, Paul, 2002. "The US business cycle: power law scaling for interacting units with complex internal structure," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 314(1), pages 774-785.
  7. L. A. N. Amaral & S. V. Buldyrev & S. Havlin & H. Leschhorn & P. Maass & M. A. Salinger & H. E. Stanley & M. H. R. Stanley, 1997. "Scaling behavior in economics: I. Empirical results for company growth," Papers cond-mat/9702082, arXiv.org.
  8. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi, 2006. "Explaining the distribution of firm growth rates," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 235-256, 06.
  9. Canning, D. & Amaral, L. A. N. & Lee, Y. & Meyer, M. & Stanley, H. E., 1998. "Scaling the volatility of GDP growth rates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 335-341, September.
  10. Wright, Ian, 2005. "The duration of recessions follows an exponential not a power law," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 345(3), pages 608-610.
  11. Robert Axtell, 1999. "The Emergence of Firms in a Population of Agents," Working Papers 99-03-019, Santa Fe Institute.
  12. Gatti, Domenico Delli & Guilmi, Corrado Di & Gaffeo, Edoardo & Giulioni, Gianfranco & Gallegati, Mauro & Palestrini, Antonio, 2005. "A new approach to business fluctuations: heterogeneous interacting agents, scaling laws and financial fragility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 489-512, April.
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