This paper presents evidence that large-sample, cross-sectional distributions of enterprise profitability across six advanced economies persistently exhibit the same functional form: a central region well described by Asymmetric Laplace functions and Power-Law tails. It discusses methodological and theoretical implications these measures of macroscopic stability have for analysis of the functioning of decentralized, capitalist economies. This includes the development of a systemic, information-theoretic model of the macroscopic outcomes of competitive interactions that can account of the observed central regulation of profitability. The model suggests Asymmetric Laplace distributions reflect a competitive, economic tradeoff between aggregate arbitrage returns and costs, and the manner in which competition establishes a modal, general rate of profit. They embody the competitive pricing of informational gains in the distribution of profitability. The paper’s discussion defines a series of new, observable measures of the performance of competitive systems. It also points to the aptness of understanding prices as parts of structures of generalized Marx-Sraffa “prices of production,” predicated on the characteristics of capital-market statistical equilibria; to a general theoretical approach to the regulation of certain economic quantities by arbitrage; and to the role the costs of informational gains play in shaping observable outcomes in the operation of certain types of goal-seeking social or cognitive systems


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