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Notes On the crisis.
ASAN #2 contained an outline for a fusion of crisis and the theory of the Situationist International. After thirteen years and a couple of boom and bust cycles, I am quite satisfied with the basis thrust of the article. All of the tendencies mentioned by the articles have undoubtably intensified and in a manner
Today, daily life is intertwined with many abstract forces. Income, savings, interest, money and inverstment touch each person yet they also they are these quantitative variables which are equalized around the whole society. So what each person reacts to is numbers that get evened-out at a quick pace. The conditions of work are equalized over months while interest rates change for everyone nearly instantly. And this is only one aspect of the way each of these phenomenon is abstract, dissociated, like mathematics removed from time and place and occuring equally everywhere.
Each of these abstraction has a fairly simple equation, each is essentially a balance of possiblies and impossibilities. For one individual, money balances immediate desires and ultimate desires. Interest balances present and future possibilities. And there are many similar equations. And these all depend on continual equalizing flows, flows which are average human behavior.
A big part of our task is explaining the movement of these abstract forces in such a way that these explainations can be used by people. Now even saying this brings up an important question – to say “use” implies a subject which takes objects and uses them for the desires of the subject – this is tricky when, as we will describe, people today wind-up as both subjects and objects within all events we’ll describe. So you can see the complexity of interactions that have to be teased out in thinking about this stuff.
That’s where the style of the numbered thesis is really useful. Done right, each thesis is like a knife openning up a particular tendency.
The problem of the “meaning of money” clearly comes into every problem involving capital and exchange. Money at one point appears as a means of rationalizing exchange. Soon, it is a discovered that it can become a store of value and just as much money as capital appears.
Keynes’ attack on Say’s law gives an interesting example here. The neo-classical school of economics could be describes as an ideology taking productivity as the fixed aspect of capital. Say’s law is the statement that in an elastic economy, there will not be any need for hoarding.
Of course, one key division is the division of money into labor and capital. Some of the money in the system is held for the purpose of the C – M – C circuit and some is held for the M – C – M circuit. With Keynes and against Say, it’s obvious that some of capital-money will not go into the circuit at any one time. The question of a willingness to involve money in a circuit actually involves what could be called a game of chicken or bridge. Each competitor is unwilling to invest based both on the particular quality of risk of an investment and also based the general quality of interest fluctuations creating risk beyond the immediate risk associated with a particular investment. In essence, the capitalist won’t commit more than what he senses is the general mood.
In ways this conception is something of an extension to the considerations of neo-classical economics, since each is a matter of provisioning for risk. But at the same time, the systemic risk is essentially a political question.
One thing is that we can imagine the rate of interest as something perhaps not truly existing.
1) Any tendency where the qualitative behavior of human beings is transform and faces people as quantitative reality will tend to ultimately be an aspect of the world capitalist system. This isn’t because we are in a capitalist system already, it’s that any time a behavior is quantitative, it is related to survival and thus become entwined with abstract labor.
2) Production today is social and becomes more and more social as we go along. Social production is more and more an implicit whole – it is the result of people continuing their normal natural existence as opposed to particular, fixed activities. One cause of this is
3) All production decisions are political decisions. Workers’ willingness to
When money-bags hoards his capital rather than spending it, this hoarding can be divided into different branches. Some hoarding goes into uncertainty around particular enterprises. This is natural for these particular cases. Some hoarding goes against the possibility of flucturations in the general rate of interest or rate of profit or etc.
Such uncertainty is a political animal. The expected fluctuations in the rate of exploitation require a given hoarding. And so we have an implicit tug-of-war between capital and labor, since hoarding gives the indirect squeeze to labor.