Jonathan Nitzan, Shimshon Bichler: Capital as Power. A Study of Order and Creorder (2009)

19 August 2011, dusan

Conventional theories of capitalism are mired in a deep crisis: after centuries of debate, they are still unable to tell us what capital is. Liberals and Marxists both think of capital as an ‘economic’ entity that they count in universal units of ‘utils’ or ‘abstract labour’, respectively. But these units are totally fictitious. Nobody has ever been able to observe or measure them, and for a good reason: they don’t exist. Since liberalism and Marxism depend on these non-existing units, their theories hang in suspension. They cannot explain the process that matters most – the accumulation of capital.

This book offers a radical alternative. According to the authors, capital is not a narrow economic entity, but a symbolic quantification of power. It has little to do with utility or abstract labour, and it extends far beyond machines and production lines. Capital, the authors claim, represents the organized power of dominant capital groups to reshape – or creorder – their society.

Written in simple language, accessible to lay readers and experts alike, the book develops a novel political economy. It takes the reader through the history, assumptions and limitations of mainstream economics and its associated theories of politics. It examines the evolution of Marxist thinking on accumulation and the state. And it articulates an innovative theory of ‘capital as power’ and a new history of the ‘capitalist mode of power’.

Publisher Routledge, London and New York, 2009
RIPE Series in Global Political Economy
ISBN 0203876326, 9780203876329
463 pages
The electronic version of this work is protected by CreativeCommons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 2.5 Canada

reviews (Jordan Brennan; D.T. Cochrane; Ulf Martin, Nestor D’Alessio and Harald Wolf; Mark Fisher; Vineeth Mathoor)

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Christian Marazzi: Capital and Language: From the New Economy to the War Economy (2002/2008)

22 March 2011, dusan

“The Swiss-Italian economist Christian Marazzi is one of the core theorists of the Italian postfordist movement, along with Antonio Negri, Paolo Virno, and Bifo (Franco Berardi). But although his work is often cited by scholars (particularly by those in the field of “Cognitive Capitalism”), his writing has never appeared in English. This translation of his most recent work, Capital and Language (published in Italian in 2002), finally makes Marazzi’s work available to an English-speaking audience.

Capital and Language takes as its starting point the fact that the extreme volatility of financial markets is generally attributed to the discrepancy between the “real economy” (that of material goods produced and sold) and the more speculative monetary-financial economy. But this distinction has long ceased to apply in the postfordist New Economy, in which both spheres are structurally affected by language and communication. In Capital and Language Marazzi argues that the changes in financial markets and the transformation of labor into immaterial labor (that is, its reliance on abstract knowledge, general intellect, and social cooperation) are just two sides of the same coin.

Capital and Language focuses on the causes behind the international economic and financial depression of 2001, and on the primary instrument that the U.S. government has since been using to face them: war. Marazzi points to capitalism’s fourth stage (after mercantilism, industrialism, and the postfordist culmination of the New Economy): the “War Economy” that is already upon us.

Marazzi offers a radical new understanding of the current international economic stage and crucial post-Marxist guidance for confronting capitalism in its newest form. Capital and Language also provides a warning call to a Left still nostalgic for a Fordist construct—a time before factory turned into office (and office into home), and before labor became linguistic.”

Introduction by Michael Hardt
Translated by Gregory Conti
Originally published in Italian by DeriveApprodi, 2002
Publisher Semiotext(e), 2008
Foreign Agents series
ISBN 1584350679, 9781584350675
180 pages


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