This paper considers the power of abstract formalization in capitalism, via an account of the politics and geography of an equation. The equation in question lies behind the Phillips curve, which describes the relation between price inflation and unemployment or output. I examine the evolution of the equation and its relation to macroeconomics' renewed emphasis, since the late 1960s, on long-run monetary neutrality. Considering the Phillips curve and its theoretical and technical armature as social practice, I discuss some of the political and distributional questions that arise from the mode of spatial and temporal abstraction particular to modern macroeconomic analysis and policy-making. The paper has three parts: a brief history of the Phillips curve, an examination of its modern equation-form, and an analysis of its part in the dialectical process of “real abstraction”, through which logical space and time prioritize and produce both the spatial “macro” and the temporal “long-run”.
The global number of refugees, asylum seekers, and those displaced within their countries are at record levels in the post-World War II era. Meanwhile, efforts by relatively wealthy and powerful nation-states to exclude unwanted migrants through enhanced territorial control have reached unprecedented heights, producing great harm–most notably premature death–for many. The factors driving out-migration from homelands made unviable, coupled with multiple forms of violence experienced by migrants, demonstrate the need for an expansion of rights–conceived of as both entitlements and sites of struggle. So, herein, I assert the need for “the right to the world”–specifically a right to mobility and a just share of the Earth's resources–to help realize the promise of a dignified life for all. In making the case for such, the article offers a critical analysis of the contemporary human rights regime and of the “right to the city”.