Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sucking You Dry- Notes on Vampire Capitalism

OK we get it but we zombies don't get much in the way of space or allusions. It's still all about the blood-suckers. The "evolution of imperialism" image has a (debt enslaved) zombie look to it. So would hordes of zombies of zombies breaking their chains, roaming ~ occupying ~ the streets get noticed?  As a metaphorZombies are the lowest examples of the lower class, so a horde of them would be the ultimate representation of the mob.

David McNally, Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires, and Global Capitalism  writes,
vampire-fed-deesCapitalist market-society overflows with monsters. But no grotesque species so command the modern imagination as the vampire and the zombie. In fact, these two creatures need to be thought conjointly, as interconnected moments of the monstrous dialectic of modernity. Like Victor Frankenstein and his Creature, the vampire and the zombie are doubles, linked poles of the split society.

 If vampires are the dreaded beings who might possess us and turn us into their docile servants, zombies represent our haunted self-image, warning us that we might already be lifeless, disempowered agents of alien powers 

From Karl Marx To Matt Taibbi on Vampire Capitalism

evolutionofimperialismThere have been many interesting threads that have opened up during my research for Undead Week(s), but one rhizome shoot that I thought was worthy of an extended ride was the repeated description over the years of capitalism as a vampire.

For instance, it was a metaphor that Karl Marx used many times throughout his work. One of the most famous instances is this passage from Capital:
"Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks."
This metaphor of capital as vampire is still alive and well in our day. Matt Taibbi gave our Occupy era one of its most famous and memorable lines when he wrote
"The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." 
In his book Zombie Capitalism, Chris Harman refers to this as “the runaway world”. He writes: 
"...the vampire that saps the lifeblood of the living bodies it feeds off. Its self-expansion has indeed led it to encompass the whole globe, drawing all of humanity into its cycles of competing in order to accumulate and accumulating in order to compete."
Well, I don't know about you, but it sounds to me like it just might be time for the true death
“In both these cities [Paris and London] there were stock-jobbers, brokers, and men of business, who sucked the blood of the people in broad daylight; but they were not dead, though corrupted. These true suckers lived not in cemeteries, but in very agreeable palaces”. 
 – Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary

Read the rest of Sucking You Dry- Notes on Vampire Capitalism written by   at Beams & Struts

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