Flying_horse_in_saudi_arabia posted:

Acdtrux posted:
In 2004, it was found that job applicants to a Hooters in West Covina, California, were secretly filmed while undressing, prompting a civil suit filed against the national restaurant chain in Los Angeles Superior Court. The company addressed the incident with additional employee training.

This never would have happened if not for a lack of training

yeah, they wouldn't have been caught

reading critique of pure reason and following some accompanying lectures online. one of which is robert paul wolff's. i clicked on his blog and he wrote the most banal but hilarious reflection on 9/11 i've ever seen, where he talks about how insignificant it was, especially relative to adopting a little cat, which he did on 9/11 this year:

1. Yesterday, the television was consumed by wall-to-wall coverage of memories, pontifications, analyses, and the such prompted by the 20th anniversary of the attack on the Manhattan twin towers. It reminded me of something that has long puzzled me about myself. The suicide attacks by Saudi Arabian followers of Osama bin Laden had little or no emotional effect on me. I listened to the reports as they came in, I watched on television the collapse of these two enormously tall buildings, I realized that a great many lives had been lost, but it was not then and has not been since a defining moment in my life, a moment about which I would always say “I remember where I was when I first heard of it” and so forth. Since I am the only person of any political persuasion I have ever met who has said something like this, I realize that I must just be a very odd person but there it is. I remember vividly where I was when I first heard of the assassination of Pres. Kennedy. I remember precisely what I was doing when I heard that Bobby Kennedy had been shot. I even recall how as a small boy I got the news of the death of FDR. But this extraordinarily dramatic attack, which forever changed the geography of lower Manhattan – part of the city, after all, in which I grew up and in which I lived for seven years while teaching at Columbia – just did not have much impact on me. I do not see any larger significance in this, but this is, after all my web log, or blog, so I thought I would mention it.

2. Yesterday was also significant, at least in my little household, because Susie and I went to the headquarters of the local animal services department and picked up the little cat we had decided to adopt. She has settled in spectacularly well, running all over the apartment exploring, using the cat box, eating food, climbing up to look out the window at the birds that come to our birdfeeder, even hopping up on our bed several times in the middle of the night – all in all a total success and one that nicely fills the hole in our hearts left by the loss of our much loved Kitty. We started the adoption process by going online and looking at the pictures posted there of 20 or 30 cats available for adoption. Initially we chose to have a personal meeting with a young cat named Tigger, to whom I was attracted for obvious reasons. But when we went to the kennel last Tuesday we were not terribly taken with Tigger. However, we did see an enchanting young kitty to whom the kennel owners had given the unappealing name of Eda, and after spending some time with her we decided to adopt her (after a good deal of discussion, we have given her the name Chloe which I think suits her much better.)

As we were driving home yesterday a thought occurred to me that I confess rather ashamedly had never in the same way crossed my mind before. As I was congratulating us on finding and adopting a delightful little cat, I thought to myself, “but suppose we had been adopting a little girl. Suppose we had gone to the orphanage thinking to adopt one child but after spending some time with her had found her not especially responsive or interesting, and had then switched to a different child at the orphanage who took our fancy more.” I was appalled by the heartlessness of this thought and realized – this is the part about which I feel shame – that I had never in the same way thought about adoption like this before. Now I am not totally dumb. I mean, this theme about which children get adopted from orphanages plays a small but significant role in the TV series about which I have made such a fuss, The Queen’s Gambit. But the sheer naked transactional character of adoption had never before been thrust on my mind in quite the same way.



Cesar, Sergio, and three other members of their family, all of whom work delivering food, had been standing watch each night for nearly a month. They live together nearby and heard about the attacks through the Facebook page they co-founded called El Diario de los Deliveryboys en la Gran Manzana, or “The Deliveryboys in the Big Apple Daily.” They started it in part to chronicle the bike thefts that have been plaguing workers on the bridge and elsewhere across the city. Sergio himself lost two bikes in two months. He reported both to the police, but the cases went nowhere, an experience common enough that many workers have concluded calling 911 is a waste of time.

Losing a bike is devastating for a delivery worker, obliterating several weeks’ worth of wages as well as the tool they need to earn those wages. “It’s my colleague,” Cesar said in Spanish through an interpreter. “It’s what takes me to work; it’s who I work with and what takes me home.” He’s customized his with dark-blue tape covering its frame, blue spokes, and color-changing LED light strips on its rear rack. Two Mexican flags fly from his front fork. He also attached a second battery since the main one lasts only seven hours, and he rides fast and for every app he can, typically working from breakfast to dinner. He maintains his bike with the help of a traveling mechanic known only as Su, who broadcasts his GPS location as he roams upper Manhattan. Recently, Cesar added a holster to his top bar for his five-pound steel U-lock so he can quickly draw it to defend himself in case of attack.

Workers get paid when they accept and complete a delivery, and a gamelike system of rewards and penalties keeps them moving: high scores for being on time, low scores and fewer orders for tardiness, and so on. Chavez and others call it the patrón fantasma, the phantom boss — always watching and quick to punish you for being late but nowhere to be found when you need $10 to fix your bike or when you get doored and have to go to the hospital.

When e-bikes first arrived in the city in the late 2000s, they were ridden mostly by older Chinese immigrants who used them to stay in the job as they aged, according to Do Lee, a Queens College professor who wrote his dissertation on delivery workers. But once restaurant owners and executives at companies like Uber, DoorDash, and Grubhub-Seamless figured out it was possible to do more and faster deliveries, they adjusted their expectations, and e-bikes became a de facto job requirement.

Today, delivery workers have an overwhelmingly preferred brand: the Arrow, essentially a rugged battery-powered mountain bike that tops out at around 28 miles per hour. A new Arrow runs $1,800 and can easily exceed $2,500 once it’s equipped with phone-charging mounts, lights, second batteries, air horns, racks, mud flaps, and other essential upgrades. What began as a technological assist has become a major start-up investment.

(the dynamic underpinning the tendency of the rate of profit to fall is basically something like this, but at the macroeconomic scale)

Until recently, throttle-powered electric bikes like the Arrow were illegal to ride, though not to own. Mayor de Blasio heightened enforcement in 2017, calling the bikes “a real danger” after an Upper West Side investment banker clocked workers with a speed gun and complained to him on “The Brian Lehrer Show.”

The NYPD set up checkpoints, fining riders $500, seizing their bikes, and posting photos of the busts on Twitter. The police would then return the bikes because, again, they were legal to own. It was a costly and bewildering ritual. For years, bike activists and workers pushed for legalization, though the apps that benefited from them were largely silent. It was only when another group of tech companies — hoping to make scooter-sharing legal — joined the fight that a bill moved forward in Albany. Then the pandemic hit, restaurants were restricted to takeout, and the mayor had to acknowledge that the bikes were an essential part of the city’s delivery infrastructure. He halted enforcement. The bikes were officially legalized three months later.

Maybe it was legalization that triggered the robberies. Maybe it was the pandemic-emptied streets. Maybe it was all the people out of work who needed money, or all the other people out of work who were enlisting to serve the newly formed Zoom class and suddenly needed e-bikes. Everyone has a theory. But what happened next is a familiar story. The workers turned to the city for help, got none, and started figuring out a solution themselves.

communal garages, organizing defense, and more

that's a cool read. i'm commuting 100 miles by e-bike a week now and shits crazy.
i'm reading 'the chinese road to socialism: economics of the cultural revolution' by wheelwright and macfarlane, which is a contemporary(1971) look at how the economy of china worked during the cultural revolution. it seems to have a lot of really useful info about stuff from the scale of the whole country right down to how things were organised in individual factories and such. there's also a lot of very informative background detail on the earlier mao period, like how market mechanisms and other capitalist structures were starting to proliferate in the early 60s(they explicitly compare the period immediately prior to the CR to yugoslavia style market socialism). the authors don't seem to be marxists, which i think actually works in the book's favour because they're very positive about stuff that you might expect them to have a bias against, which if anything strengthens the point that this mao fella had some good ideas. i am just getting to the part where they talk about mao's emphasis on moral incentives in production, which they seem to be pretty positive about, although there is still a lot of the book to go.

Constantignoble posted:

Maybe it was legalization that triggered the robberies. Maybe it was the pandemic-emptied streets. Maybe it was all the people out of work who needed money, or all the other people out of work who were enlisting to serve the newly formed Zoom class and suddenly needed e-bikes. Everyone has a theory. But what happened next is a familiar story. The workers turned to the city for help, got none, and started figuring out a solution themselves.

I'm reading about waste.

Max Ajl, A People's Green New Deal, Conclusion posted:

To control industrialization does not mean to eliminate industrialization, let alone modern social life with complex forms of economic interchange and interdependence. It means understanding how on the one hand, the North is gratuitously over-industrialized, and not to the benefit of working-class life. And it means accepting how much northern industrial capital, and the consumption which it encourages, rests on de-development or underdevelopment of the South. Industry is part of a global process, where more advanced goods concentrate in the core and waste, pollution, and poverty concentrate in the periphery. Much of this is what the degrowth conversation refers to, and we all can agree that there are sectors of the core economies which should be vastly retooled or eliminated.

An analytical foundation stone of this approach is that capitalism is not a system of production of useful things, but a system for the production of waste. Under capitalism, people die before they should given the possibilities of existing technologies and productive forces, and they die before they should because of which technologies are emphasized and how they are distributed...

By way of Max Ajl, I've encountered some works by Ali Kadri. The bolded line contains the final endnote of A People's Green New Deal, pointing to one of the latter's recent books.

Born in Lebanon, Kadri taught for a while at the National University of Singapore, and appears to be currently teaching at the London School of Economics. His work mostly concerns imperialism and the Middle East, though I join Ajl in finding something compelling in how he discusses waste. It's a common thread running through a bunch of books and articles I've seen, though to date I'm not sure that he's written anything that takes the political economy of waste as its central analytical focus.

I'm gonna grab some snippets and bounce around. Come bounce with me. All bolding is my own.

From Imperialism With Reference to Syria (DOI:10.1007/978-981-13-3528-0):

Abstract posted:

the modern imperialist war visited upon Syria is both a production domain intrinsic to capital and an application of the law of value assuming the form of destruction. The destruction of which I speak is a reinterpretation of the concept of waste as developed by the late philosopher István Mészáros.

A quick look at this seems in order!

Meszaros, The Necessity of Social Control posted:

ANOTHER BASIC CONTRADICTION of the capitalist system of control is that it cannot separate “advance” from destruction, nor “progress” from waste—however catastrophic the results. The more it unlocks the powers of productivity, the more it must unleash the powers of destruction; and the more it extends the volume of production, the more it must bury everything under mountains of suffocating waste. The concept of economy is radically incompatible with the “economy” of capital production, which, of necessity, adds insult to injury by first using up with rapacious wastefulness the limited resources of our planet, and then further aggravates the outcome by polluting and poisoning the human environment with its mass-produced waste and effluence.

Ironically, again, the system breaks down at the point of its supreme power; for its maximum extension inevitably generates the vital need for restraint and conscious control with which capital production is structurally incompatible. Thus the establishment of the new mode of social control is inseparable from the realization of the principles of a socialist economy that center on a meaningful economy of productive activity: the pivotal point of a rich human fulfillment in a society emancipated from the alienated and reified institutions of control.

In the now dominant mode of social metabolic reproduction the meaning of a successful economy is perversely defined by the system’s ability to multiply waste. The cancerous cultivation of “consumerism”—set against the callous denial of even the most elementary needs of the overwhelming majority of humankind—is the necessary consequence of the underlying social/economic determinations. And the perverse violation of the concept of economy does not end there. It is made worse by the way in which abundance, too, is defined. For in this framework of economic management the concept of abundance constitutes a vicious circle with unlimited and unlimitable waste. It cannot be stressed enough, capital’s self-expansionary imperative is totally incompatible with the concept of economy as economizing. Accordingly, our society is declared to be “advanced,” which really means nothing more than capitalistically advanced, on the basis of its capacity to produce and sustain waste, in the service of continued capital-expansion at whatever cost. The more abundantly society can produce waste, and live with it, the more advanced it is supposed to be. This determination poisons also another vitally important relationship: that between scarcity and abundance.

Back to Kadri, Syria. Here's a chunk of the preface, which can also be found published elsewhere under the title "Resist to Exist":

Preface posted:

At another level of abstraction, one more related to the current existential crisis of humanity, imperialism, the intense or more violent facet of capital, metabolises more of man and nature to meet higher profit rates. Capital produces commodities, but it has more than proportionately produced waste. (footnote: The term imperialism is either used as a condensed form of the capital relationship or as imperialist practice. Whenever imperialism appears as a subset of accumulation by waste, what I mean is imperialist practice.) As things stand, the pollution and destruction to man and nature are already cataclysmic. Such waste, the environmental degradation and war, is the product humanity pays for in order to self-harm. For instance, humanity pays for toxins and trash to be removed. It pays for the diseases that these wars and polluting elements generate. It pays for the waste of militarism and war effort. Its method of payment for waste and waste products is twofold. The first is the straightforward way; it pays out of its wage share in clean-air taxes and medical bills. The second way is not so straightforward; it pays for waste by shortened lives.

Very low wages decrease life’s quality and expectancy, while the waste and wars all on their own are lethal to life. These modes of payment undercut human life. In value terms, they reduce the necessary labour or the social cost of the reproduction of labour. Waste is a mode of accumulation by which capital simultaneously expands and disposes of labour before its historically due time. Transfers in money value form and real value in exchange for waste products show that the diktat of the law of value, the law that allocates resources under capitalism, forces people to pay for the wars and the erosion sustained by nature from the necessary labour time or value by which they reproduce their own lives.

Furthermore, the irreplaceable and combined loss to life and specie since the onset of capitalism and its wars is un-compensable by any amount of neoclassical or hypothetical consumer-surplus. The wealth, the heap of commodities, cannot remotely offset the outstanding war losses or the enormous damage sustained by nature thus far. Wealth is more a heap of poisonous commodities than a heap of useful commodities. The metabolic rift, Marx’s way to describe the fatigue of nature when subjected to the oppression of profit driven production, morphed into an abysmal rupture. At last, humanity has given itself more problems than it could handle, or as such, the irrational has become real.

Waste is the internality of the capitalist system as opposed to the commonly held view of externality. However, it should rather be said that waste is neither an internality nor an externality, it is the system, the organic whole whose components, whether realised in waste or set-aside and wasted, equally obey the predisposition of waste production. Just as the natives of the colonies and current global population are superfluous to the reigning ideology, the economic textbooks of yesteryears designated water and air as free and abundant resources. It may have taken a while for environmental waste to exchange for a price and be recognised as value, but imperialist war has always been central to the general category of waste. Its value manifestations in price are innumerable and time incoherent. In a system of metabolic production subjected to market forces, it is the resultant of the latter that determines which constituent part of the system acquires a price and when, but that in no way means that value corresponds to price. At any rate, that prices converge to natural prices, long term average costs or price of production is a hypothetical accounting framework. The only real relation is the balance of power by which capital drives a wedge between value and price, footing a low wage bill relative to profits.

The neo-Ricardian omission of the value category is an omission of the organic nature of production, especially the value provided by a Third World violently consumed in war or decommissioned by imperialist aggression to become a predicate or pedestal for the industry of their ‘more advanced culture.’ In an un-interrelated, ahistorical and asocial neo-Ricardian world, value lost its significance because each physical production activity has no contiguous social relationship qua relationship of power such as imperialism associated with it.

But that was not the Marxian category of value. Value is the ubiquitous relation under capitalism. It is there to be seen everywhere, even in the price of a coke can for instance. The real cost of a coke can is not 1 dollar, or so, but much, much more. How? Because we could be possibly be paying for the wars to fetch the tin at cheap prices, for the pollution caused by the chemical components that circularly inflict diseases upon us, and we pay for the reorganisation/remaking of labour to produce the can by violently busting unions or bombing Third World nations, etc. By supressing the demands of people for better lives, stripping them of their power to negotiate and reducing the value of their labour and their environment to pittance in money form, capital earns higher profits and still shifts onto society the costs of the making of the can at different intervals in time. It is this whole process, which is the value relation, and in which the point of stripping people of their will by measures of violence or ideological dummification is central. Just as putting labour to work for cheap wages over long hours, the more imperialism bamboozles or bombs nations into submission and conditions of slavery, the more it creates in surplus value, and the more it may possibly earn in profits. This waste, the polluting, the depopulation and ideological production of consumerist man are the bigger industry and the bigger sources of profits under capitalism. The death of Arabs and Africans is a product that trades in the background of every commodity as the value behind the making of that commodity and a commodity itself. As such, it matters little whether white man was superior when he settled America or whether the white European Zionist claims that his ancestors inhabited Palestine three millennia ago, they all must industrially depopulate by means of war no matter the justification. That Arabs or Africans, for instance, should die earlier is an ontological or a condition associated with their very birth on their continents.

The genocidal wars or war for war’s sake and the waste for waste production are not un-transformed value without a price, no matter how low the price. Commodities do not produce commodities, as per neo-Ricardian eurocentrism. Social man or society produce to be reproduced in a system driven by symbolism and not the reified context of things producing things. Just as the losses to nature have acquired high prices after a long gestation period, as the masses of the Third World rise, their historical losses, which had then sold for pittance, will acquire astronomical prices as compensation for colonial plunder. The contribution of power to price formation irrespective of its value content annuls the so-called transformation problem. There is a closer relationship between the rate of exploitation and the degree of oppression than that between the rate of surplus value and its price form. The case may be that the losses to earth are a window of opportunity that avails itself to us in order to drag into the mainstream debate the uncompensated past victims of imperialism, man reproduced by nature, ergo social nature, as under-paid value in their own right.

Waste has its own market-gestation time. In the case of imperialist wars, the cycle closes with the war spending cycle and the duration in which the mown lives, through real and ideological channels, begin to reduce necessary labour. In the case of the environment, it exhibits a lengthy turnover cycle, a social-time determined cycle, or the time at the command of capital. As of late, through the deliberations of markets for exchange, environmental waste accumulated over many years acquired a price and/or a money form of value. It entered the value chain and became the product of a value relationship. Waste, including the waste of militarism, becomes the product of the labour of society, or the time it takes to produce the commodities and the lives with which society sustains or unsustains itself.

Waste is certainly an undesired product, but then again to use the old adage, ‘people make their own history, but they do not make it as they please.’

That one line, "There is a closer relationship between the rate of exploitation and the degree of oppression than that between the rate of surplus value and its price form," is something that makes intuitive sense to me, but illustrating it in data might be a really interesting project. But let's continue reading, for now.

Jumping ahead a bit:

The waste category is a domain of accumulation with sub-industries. Accumulation is a social process. The production of waste has long been instituted in forms of social organisation and introjected in thought, such that many fail to see it as either the system or as just a part of the system. Waste’s sub-industries include militarism and its imperialist wars, the industries of pure waste. As such, waste just like the sub-stratum of energy, articulates and undergirds the whole of social production. Moreover, just like other commodities produced and alienated from the labourers, waste, the very death of man and the environment, acquire a price determined by the power of markets, and as such their exchange for other commodities, as opposed to the needs of society, dictates the allocation of resources or how society self-sustains. Waste products also acquire a fetish quality. Fetishism in its class related aspect means that the price or money form of commodities as a form of value becomes a weapon against working people. The production and exchange of waste determine the reproduction of life or how we live.

Imperialist war is a prerequisite for the expansion of capital and its market economy and the outstanding industry of waste. It is a permanent feature of the market economy. It engages labour and consumes labourers. It is a foundation for the expansion of other industries. War is not an inherent attribute associated with human fallibility. War occurs under different historical conditions at different periods for reasons which requalify its content or the laws reformulating its being. The imperialist wars of the finance age do not materialise for the same reasons as the ones prior to the age of monopoly finance. The permanent state of war in the age of finance is a significant surplus value engine. It produces much waste and also extinguishes or redeploys many resources in an already overproducing world economy.

At this point, I would like to interject with an aide memoire about the origins of waste in Marxian political economy. To begin with, Western Marxism primarily measures the metabolic rift by the rate of depletion of nature relative to its rate of replenishment or generalise Marx’s view of entropic capitalism from ‘the disruption of the soil cycle in industrialised capitalist agriculture, which constituted nothing less than a rift (Bellamy-Foster 2013)’. The point here is that it over emphasises measurement; that is, it tracks theoretical development from the immediacy represented by empirical fact. Adjacently, it rather pedantically searches for the word metabolism in Marx to establish a negative dialectic of nature. Such an approach considers waste more a functional aspect of value as opposed to an intrinsic characteristic. In the latter case, the waste momentum does not arise from facing resource limitation, but rather waste, the purposeful wasting of man and nature, is a sphere of production and an end in itself. As waste itself becomes a product of production, the idea that the wasted peoples in imperialist and colonial wars alongside nature were outputs, as well as inputs into surplus value making, comes to the fore.

In the negative dialectic of capital, presupposed by a relation of subject to object or man to nature, waste is a principal category and a domain of accumulation. Immanently, waste within the contradiction of the forces shaping history, the totality, is the concrete manifestation of the more abstract process: the practice of the law of value in surplus value making. In view of the retreat in anti-systemic forces, waste as a concrete surrogate of the law of value reveals itself as the primal or leading moment of capital. Yes, other moments/relations exist, but only waste and waste producing relations guide the development of capital. I am not synthetically deriving waste on the basis of some a priori logic; nor, am I saying that waste actualises because it can be inferred on the basis of first principles, or from an unchanging attribute of man. The production of waste is both profitable and it undermines the autonomy of the working class and the development of its revolutionary consciousness.

In more abstract but real terms, waste, the natural degradation, the wars, the erosion of the biological bases reproducing man, is a process into which capital, the unity of subject/object, resolves/culminates in order to not auto-dissolve. Theoretically, it is defined conterminously by following capital’s own objective development in time while assigning to these developments historically definitive categories. That law of motion of capital, the actualisation of waste, is no other than the law of value.

In Capital, Volume III, Marx drops the tone of the critique of political economy in Volume I, the economics of his days, for the more holistic language of revolutionary science. He leaves behind the fake neutrality of positivism, which he adopted from time to time only to critique it. In the passage below, as he explains the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, he also illustrates that the transmutation of value into prices occurs by outright immiseration.

the rate of self-expansion of the total capital, or the rate of profit, being the goal of capitalist production, its fall checks the formation of new independent capitals and thus appears as a threat to the development of the capitalist production process. It breeds over-production, speculation, crises, and surplus-capital alongside surplus-population. Those economists, therefore, who, like Ricardo, regard the capitalist mode of production as absolute, feel at this point that it creates a barrier itself, and for this reason attribute the barrier to Nature (in the theory of rent), not to production… The creation of this surplus-value makes up the direct process of production… But this production of surplus-value completes but the first act of the capitalist process of production — the direct production process. Capital has absorbed so and so much unpaid labour (my emphasis) … Now comes the second act of the process. The entire mass of commodities, i.e. the total product, including the portion which replaces the constant and variable capital, and that representing surplus-value, must be sold. If this is not done, or done only in part, this can be bound up with a total or partial failure to realise the surplus-value … the conditions of direct exploitation, and those of realising it, are not identical… It is no contradiction at all on this self-contradictory basis that there should be an excess of capital simultaneously with a growing surplus of population (Marx 1894).

Marx points to the historicity of capitalism, its moribund state, with nature subsumed under the totality of production. The social crisis is itself both reason and consequence of the economic crisis. Alleviating the economic crisis entails and requires the relative, and possibly absolute, eradication of man and nature, the pillars that presuppose and support the reproduction of man. In that sense, capitalism is one big rift or contradiction that underlies all of its processes, including nature.

Accumulation and the expansion of exchange value, the spark and end of capital, materialise by the creation of surplus value and its concrete form in waste. Waste is not an intended or unintended consequence of capital accumulation, it is actualisation of capital accumulation. Every social–natural system is entropic, however, capitalism is overly so. The transformative resolution, the historical mediation of the social oppression of labour, all the dread of the labour process making up value, into profits, baffles the minds of metaphysical economists in search of formal consistency. Formal logic is removed from the real grounds upon which the law of value, the immiseration proceeding in abstract or social time, consuming both man and nature, the latter is literally the life of man, constitutes the heart of economic activity. What they do not understand is why making someone really miserable, not just unhappy with the disutility of labour, makes profits.

Turning attention over to a bit of China’s Path to Development: Against Neoliberalism (Springer Singapore, 2021), (DOI:10.1007/978-981-15-9551-6).

The winnowing of the excess commodity labour power relative to spare capacity requires more inadequate food supplies, diseases, and war, otherwise, industries of depopulation. Hence, waste accumulation, the wasting of social nature, man and the nature that presupposes the reproduction of man, emerges as the principal domain of accumulation. As capital shifts more of the costs of production upon society, it de-invests in labour, or peddles the earlier than historically determined elimination of people as a product to be sold. In the new factory of the world, living labour produces dead labourers with dead labour. And just as any commodity, the higher the concentration of socially necessary labour time transmuted into surplus labour emits higher surplus value; by mediation, profits. As the productive forces of waste face off against waste relations, the contradiction resolves in the autophagia of society.

In standard theory, twentieth-century capital assumes the concentrated form of imperialism, an evolved relation whose contradictions resolve by a higher frequency of encroachment wars. Furthermore, the financialisaton and the higher speed of exchange impress upon the social mind their own time. People organise their lives according to the quarterly profit reporting intervals. As capital dominates, the higher pace of exchange ‘annihilates space with time’ (Marx 1863). Capital’s violence submits anything with use value, and of benefit to society, to the edicts of exchange value. The means of producing violence and the violence itself become permanent, objective and alienated because they are commandeered by a fetishised thing: the objective and alienated commodity. However, as labour succumbs and waste prevails, a novel condition arises. Waste, in particular militarism and its industry of war, emerge as the principal market.

As capital breaks down all resistance creating the man to whom capital is the natural order (Marx 1867), it owns time, and sections time to its own benefit. Capital may only appear to sell a commodity when in reality it is selling the time of one’s life.

To elucidate, the more capital commands time, the more the time in socially necessary labour time becomes the shorter time of life destined to the market. Logically, as capital reigns, the system’s entropy kicks into higher speed, waste production dominates, more waste products of waste industries assume the form of withering social nature on display in the shopping windows and social media screens. These costs will be borne by society across all spans of time because as the production of waste centres on the sale of shorter lifetimes, capital deploys more of the ‘time’ in socially necessary labour time, value proper, to waste the concrete time available to labour. It is no longer a case of fighting for an 8-hour day, it is a case of making sure that shorter work days in Europe do not cause shorter lives in Iraq. As these waste-costs reduce life and the quality of life, the reduction in life expectancy relative to the level attained in a sane society symbolises the variations in the rate of surplus value.

In the absence of labour’s historical agency, capital’s cost minimisation, the production of waste for profit, becomes the linchpin of the system. The reification is complete and the logical form assumes a physical form. Value relations turn into waste relations, the ruling class becomes the wasting class and the working class becomes the wasted class. The absurdity of capital’s mainstream logic, the two-dimensional diagrammatic in which prices clear excess commodities, becomes more and more a condition in which the excess commodity to be cleared is labour power and its bearer living labour. So far, the principal output of the capital relationship has been wasted lives in wars, austerity and pollutants that waste lives. In the contradiction between a capital that grows by replacing living with dead labour while the sturdy currents of demographic growth in areas prohibited from modernisation expand unabated, the biggest industry becomes that of resolving the contradiction between capital and population growth. Imperialist wars and austerity not just solve the disparity between the development of productive forces and the accumulation of capital on the one side, and the division of colonies and spheres of influence for finance capital on the other, as per Lenin (1916), they also address the requirements for indefinite growth by creating an industry of pure waste, a militarism whose products are the premature dead, a commodity produced by the literal infusion of living with dead labour, and which mediates the capital-population contradiction.

Here's some materials for further reading.

Edited by Constantignoble ()