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Mirowski & Neoliberal thought collective & faith

Let’s move the conversation beyond power. This is what Foucault was doing in his final seminars (see particularly 13/13 The Courage of Truth, 1983-84). As described by economic historian Philip Mirowski, the neoliberal thought collective, that is the Mont Pèlerin Society, is not about securing or maintaining élites in power, either in political power or in economic power, or in view of the field now addressed in terms of a political economy.

As Mirowski, following Foucault, makes clear, the agenda is truth. The conversation we might be having is not about power and its exercise within the political economy post-truth, given the bruited collapse of veridification, which has been for some time now the demesne of media–both sounding off on the collapse of knowledge and information, of knowledge into information and data, and therefore the levelling of information with disinformation (with which goes the task of the expert, the knowledge worker and scientist as a data gatherer, noncommentator, nonsyncretiser, empirically distanced and politically-economically disinterested), both this and under media control within the production of media as the producers in the knowledge market, of political economy. The conversation might now move to a post-power conception of truth, where knowledge is power.

Power-knowledge performs as its own supplement. It supplements itself. This is its production as fetish, a question both of currency and value. It is also the reason for the investment of the richest and most powerful corporations in what is called Big Data, since it is called Big Data to hide the fact that it is nonsummative: enumerable data, innumerable data, but not one big datum rather the prospect of infinite growth in the production of data. Knowledge in a post-power dispensation is an economic unit. So that thing called immaterial labour by Hardt and Negri is always for the sake of an idea, the truth not of capital itself–the labour theory of value is hardly sufficient here–but the capital of truth itself.

The truth and the lie of the immaterial labourer are equally available to media to be promulgated, published, fetishised, as they are, since it is the market that will make the ultimate selection for the sake of the idea of truth. The knowledge worker, the scientist, the expert researcher, all are freer than ever before. They are like artists and just as powerless, just as powerless as the powerful.

Who rises to challenge the market as the arbiter of truth post-power? …and it could be said it is in this sense that we are now postmodern: gone is the tortured, fractured and fragmented art of power; welcome the unified, global and free art of truth, a truth beyond the grasp of any individual, ineffable, belonging to the political economy, a belief secured and maintained on its idea.

 

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neoliberal thought collective is “primarily held together by philosophical commitments”

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destroyed wisdom

dear diary, today I like this phrase “romantic materialism.” today I ordered Elizabeth Grosz’s The Incorporeal and John M. Harrison’s Viriconium. …today I am nervous. today I am suspended between two ideas: one is, against immaterial labour and semiocapitalism, the idea of the place of care, care of the body, its pleasures and needs; it is an idea of the palliative industry, in which all media participate; capital care functions to feed on an industrial scale those who can afford to live inside it; it functions to distract from the suffering and from the desire and from the passions of the body, with easy listening, predigested package language-worlds, of viewing, touching, tasting, light-comedic mediatised commodities, popularised pulp & pap, lubricated & comfort sex; it is the service culture of safety & health; its wealth is the investment in an aging population even as it is being born, being born into an aging population, a universal retirement village and hospice is where you will live, dance occasionally, nod off, eat, shit & fuck, if you are born as one of the lucky ones. The other idea is postmodernism. It comes after modernism because it defrags it into the universal agreement to believe in price without cost, in the nonsymbolic exchange of money as the value of all values. Where modernism left you looking at yourself looking, postmodernism recognises that look–priceless… so destroyed wisdom today is my subjectline, the umbilicus of deconstruction from which I hang

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Heiner Müller’s instagram courtesy of n.1edicoes

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The Moral Left

The political (read: economic) bankruptcy (read: extra-economic) of the Left has made a necessity of virtuousness (read: morality). What used to be the Moral Right (and under Reagan the Moral Majority) has been displaced by the Moral Left: this is everything from LBGT to the Green rights of environmentalists and… exactly where its hem begins to fray is the bruited-about Crisis of Value, in other words Crisis of Middle-Class Values. The rights of the family are of course complicated by families of nonhetero albeit heterogeneous makeup. The rights to property are complicated by rights of access, for example, of copyright to knowledge: all coming under the swelling sphere of the commons.

The point here is: the Left used to be about policy, now it is about a moral stance; while the Right has policy like an iron bar that it cannot pass.

What is hateful in this and disastrous for an oppositional, not to say critical politic, is the caving of the notion of value itself, which is now tethered to the somewhat redundant operation of capital, where so many other options of funding are now so much more readily available and applicable, new venture capitalism and entrepeneurship having become a game for the very wealthy and the very stupid. The question as to whether these are mutually irreducible categories is overtaken by the political bankruptcy and unwillingness of the Left to enter discussions at an intellectual advantage–in case it is accused of Rightwing privilege.

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Douglas Lain of Zero Books interviews Slavoj Žižek

Marx’s labour theory of value: there’s something strange about what Žižek calls Lain’s metaphor of the “good Christian boy” who wants to believe.

And there’s something strange about the circularity of Žižek’s argument, as a populist philosopher, about the horror of the Left’s reactiveness to the Right’s activation of erstwhile Leftist policy platforms for, exactly, their populism: Marine Le Pen’s stand on easier access to healthcare and greater support for pregnant mothers, for example. (But then these can be seen as what Michel Houellebecq calls “nativist” concerns (in Submission): encouraging the put-upon ‘ethnic French’ populace to up birthrates, live longer, than immigrant sectors.) Žižek is saying something when he reports the comment of a friend: now the Left moralise, where they used to politicise; and the Right politicise, where they used to moralise: immigration is a moral and humanitarian issue for the Left; it is a political opportunity that the Right exploits. … Žižek’s call for the self-criticism of ‘us’ “progressives”, what does it mean?

We should spend less time judging statements like his, that if he could have he would have voted for Trump? And more time doing what?

It might get close to Nietzsche’s critique of reactive politics and affirmation of active policy … but is stymied by Hegelian dialectic and Lacanian (inbuilt) negative disavowal, the double-negative logic of not not affirming.

What the Left could use is some Nietzsche. I used to think not, but Nietzsche’s excoriation of those who set their values on a continuum orientated towards the best cover up value judgements that are from the start moral interpretations, moralisations.

The Left’s looking for a better way than the Right is only to perform the Hegelian dialectic dance of if you go that way, than I’ll go this way.

Here’s the link to the interview. See what you think. LINK.

…as for the labour theory of value and Žižek’s call to “de-substantialise” it, isn’t this precisely what is assayed in Anti-Oedipus (along with a critique of Lacan) and A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari?

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“it’s a time of opportunity because it’s a crisis”: RIP Mark Fisher 11 July 1968 – 13 January 2017

listen to Mark Fisher here

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defaced theatre: Théâtre Hardelot

Andrew Todd’s 388-seater Elizabethan theatre on the grounds of Château d’Hardelot cost €6m. That is in answer to the graffiti of the National Front, about which here, and but for which it wouldn’t be here.

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on an auspicious day some of the emperor’s closest friends mutter their suspicions

link here

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stop the signing of the TPPA

The government doesn’t understand the TPPA just like you. The Prime Minister is not your representative, he is your friend and equal. A likeable guy. I pay him to be your friend, a likeable guy. You pay him too. He’s a nice guy. Tim Groser doesn’t need to know what’s in the TPPA. Smarter guys than him, experts from overseas, have put this deal together and as a country we’d be stupid not to sign it. I knew Tim as a kid. He was a likeable kid. I wonder what his mother would say. But as a country we are not signing it. Representatives New Zealanders have elected are signing it on Thursday. Have New Zealanders elected these representatives and have they elected them to sign the TPPA? Is the signing representative of a consensus? These are academic questions. If you object to something your government is doing, there are channels to get your voice heard. Just as if you object to something your neighbour is doing you can complain to the council, which is obliged to, I feel like repeating that, obliged to respond. The Right Honourable John Key does not respond to any individual complaint because he is not answerable to anyone. He is not Robert Muldoon: he is not his own man. He is a man who belongs to the memory of a likeable kid, like Tim Groser, who as an adult and as the Prime Minister of New Zealand has put in place strategies to ensure his ongoing likeability. He is a bully about this. He will not be remembered. He will be liked. We’d be stupid not to. Why wouldn’t we sign? Why wouldn’t we like him? He is like us, likeable, just richer. And the Prime Minister. Elected. Part of the government. Representative. Signing on our behalf. Signing on behalf of our better selves.

What I feel like doing at this juncture is nothing. Inaction. Not industrial action, striking. But nothing. Not declaring, not striking, not acting, not accusing, shaming, judging, educating, but stopping what I am doing, whether I am driving the bus, tending the aged, signing the deal, any deal, selling the house, writing the paper, reading the paper, writing the article, talking, walking, teaching, arresting, selling, buying… stopping.

Who is protecting your job if you stop too?

On this day, stop your car. By all means take your keys. Turn off your computer. Walk away from your desk. Stop believing in social media as a tool for social activism. Turn off your phone. Leave your phone alone. Everything that ties you to this world of action is also a link in the chain binding you to the actions of your elected representatives. Who will sign. Who think it is better to act. Stupid not to. Stop.

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