Two capitalisms

It’s getting late in the day and I’m writing sentences like these:

“So on the one hand there is capitalism taken as a set of potentialities (virtual) and non-totalizable actual relations between the usual suspects: laborers, bosses, bankers, and so on. On the other hand, we have capitalism understood as a monolithic, globetrotting ideological demon that privatizes knowledge, puts children to work in factories, and seduces us with hollow promises.”


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3 Responses to Two capitalisms

  1. I almost wish I could grow a mustache so that I could grow a long twirly one. And then I’d want others to describe me and my machinations in the same way you describe the second capitalism. It’s funny cuz we frequently talk of Capitalism as that second definition, whereas the reality is that it’s much closer to the first. The second allows us to externalize and abstract it as some evil system that acts on us innocent bystanders. It allows us to deny that we capitulate to that system and thus are complicit in its propagation, maintenance, and reproduction. We are part of the usual suspects but it’s more fun to imagine a monolithic, globetrotting ideological demon.

    (Can I swipe that phrase to describe NebCorp?)

  2. There is no outside to capitalism, you seem to be saying. That’s also Spinoza dragged into the center of today’s anti-capitalist discourse. There is no outside to Nature of God, if at all, the outside refers to possibilities of encountering truth that no human can perfectly anticipate. But, Kierkegaard too dragged into the center of today’s secularization of the post-secular world (courtesy of the capitalist power to transform everything tainted with religiosity, steeped in the sacred, into a secular utility). To encounter possibilities of going further, Kierkegaard says in the Epilogue of Fear and Trembling, is indeed, as Abraham did with his faith, a “task that is always enough for a human lifetime.”

    Sort of a digression: Did God expect Abraham to be so stupid? All indications prove that Abraham was a total shock. God was floored by the unpredictable. He was shocked. He encountered human freedom. Quickly enough, he sent an angel darting to the rescue.

    I don’t know if this helps, but it helps a lot of people, at least, to entertain hope. Only here, hope functions outside of the appeal to transcendence (and capital is one instance of transcendence, if not its full actuality).

  3. cheryl gilge says:

    There are always two hands (fortunately)…. and thankfully, this dialectic maneuver doesn’t make one big hand… unless we are talking neoliberalism, then I guess that big hand would be the invisible one of the market? The beauty of the virtual is in its contingent actualization.

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