This volume was written in relative isolation, and after reading it you’ll see why. The book questions the very foundations of mainstream and Marxist political economy, and it goes further to offer a totally new alternative. Going against the grain is hardly the best way to make friends, and, as the history of science tells us, those who try to innovate often face a wall of silence.

But the silence is never complete. There are always free spirits who look for new directions, and we have been fortunate to cross paths with some of them. Our work has benefited from the friendship of Allen Fenichel, Tom Naylor and Robin Rowley, who helped us stand against the academic church; from the thoughtful interventions of Randy Germain, who helped and encouraged us at various stages of the publication journey; from Jeffrey Harrod, whose grassroots analysis shed light on aspects that our power theory had overlooked; from Doug Henwood and Michael Perelman, whose LBO and PEN-L internet lists we found invaluable; from years of discussions with Gibin Hong, who also translated the early incarnation of this manuscript into Korean; from Bob Jessop, who engaged with and supported our work even when our opinions differed; from Moshé Machover, whose personal honesty, clarity of thinking and path-breaking politics one cannot but admire; from Ulf Martin, whose sharp observations and penetrating questions always kept us on edge; from many debates with the colourful members of MISS-Q, whose arguments often gave us food for thought; from the unmatched editorial skills of Daniel Moure, who polished our English and compiled our index; from Akiva Orr, whose deep insights into philosophy and science we found enlightening; from Jeffrey Rudolph, who managed to mix accounting with curiosity; from Herman Schwartz, whose brilliance offered an antidote to academic mediocrity; and, last but not least, from Genevieve Thouvenot, whose expertise in ancient languages saved us from drawing silly conclusions, and whose suggestions often helped us find the answer right under our nose.

We also feel indebted to the brave women and men of MATZPEN, the Alternative Information Center and others too numerous to be listed here, whose struggle for freedom and autonomy in the Middle East inspired our early research and continues to influence our thought.

Finally, we wish to thank the three anonymous referees who read the early version of the manuscript; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for its financial assistance; and our students, whose desire to think for themselves made writing this book worthwhile.