« Out of bondage | Main | Small dreams »

New! Improved!

By Owen Paine on Saturday May 28, 2011 12:50 PM

A comment some ways back prompted a splendid discovery: the Bichler and Nitzan oeuvre.

What a gas, to uncover just for my own personal sole self, this wondrously un-novel brightly grease-painted nicely slap-shoed buffoons' cavort. This two-reindeer flying-sled act represents the confluence of two mighty milky rivers of intellactation: one from the attic lumber room of the tundra campus of the Comedia del Nortica Titanica, and one from a sort of academic Bedouin who flits from college to college in... Israel! (That's the Canadian gent, Nitzan, above center, holding forth at his alma mater, Harvard. Bichler seems to be camera-shy.)

Is there a message gist? Why yes: Capital is... power, quantified. Let the silver bells ring out, eh?

I really should stop there, and I will, more or less; maybe Father, ever so fond of aeoli furiosi in extenso pedantico(*) will let it suffice, only attaching this blurb from their magnum -- or is it jeroboam -- opus' back cover:

"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.


(*) Dead languages seem to be obligatory these days for SMBIVA posts, and even comments: I'll see your Hebrew apophthegm and raise you a Hittite limerick. Can Sumerian be far behind? And what comes next? Proto-Indo-European, complete with laryngeals? (Father Smiff knows how to pronounce 'em, or so he says).

Comments (3)


'the organized power of dominant capital groups to reshape – or creorder – their society.'

To what end? Did they say? Does it matter to them?

-Brain seeking vat. Will consider lease/option. -

Al Schumann:

You all may mock, but I find this pretty exciting. If we start from the premise that capital is power, quantified, then we can carefully examine the power relations that exist within society. No one has ever done that! We'll need terms before we go any further. I propose bourgeoisie and proletariat.


I'm sooo confused. Power is somehow more real than labor? They both have a unit -- the watt (or horsepower for you metrophobes) and the hour respectively. -- What? Oh, THAT kind of power. What's the unit for that? We need to have one. The kration? Defined as the ability to make one person's life miserable for one hour? Owen, you and I need to get to work on the kratiometer. Some of the same technology we used in the Fasc-O-Meter might be useful.

Post a comment

Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Saturday May 28, 2011 12:50 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Out of bondage.

The next post in this blog is Small dreams.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31