Argentina as Metropolis

Wed Dec 26 10:21:17 MST 2001

The Metropolis in the 21st Century 

During the decade of the 90s, the momentum of a wave of privatization peak 
and spread throughout the social and ideology fabric of society. Lead by 
slogans condemning "big government" the state sector of the economy was 
systematically reduced throwing thousands of government employees into the 
ranks of the lowest paid sector of the working class, while the real wages - 
power to consume, of the most destitute sector of the population was further 

Telecommunications had been de-monopolized and essential services like 
garbage collection was privatized. Employees of the state faced reduced 
workdays and pension funding was momentarily stabilized as legislation was 
passed allowing the investment of these funds in a supercharged speculative 
financial market.  Hospitals were closed while our fire department was 
dismantled. The local community college went bankrupt and shut its doors and 
wage freezes were put into effect for the state sector, including the police 

I am of course talking about where I live at in Highland Park, Michigan. The 
state of Michigan projected budget deficit is about $1 billion so far, with 
Detroit proper in hock this year. 

The triumph of the degenerate ideology of "fighting big government" was held 
as the solution to overcoming the limited consuming capacity of the masses 
because "now" government funds - the people's money, could be invested in the 
private sector and increase employment opportunity.  The boom in the world 
economy was fueled by a massive injection of new technology into the 
productive process that reduced the cost of commodity production across the 
board. A tidal wave of speculative investments in a host of promising new 
technology and the collapsed socialist sector of the world market created 
enormous profits to every section of society with the means to invest. 

The defeat of "big government" was heralded as the coming of the new age of 
free market economics and George Sores emerged as the liberal representative 
of a new epoch of the financial oligarchy. After all had he not singularly 
collapsed banks and written the road map of the ultimate gambler? With the 
aplomb of a riverboat gambler who had beaten the odds and broke the bank, the 
triumphed speculative-financiers pointed an accusing finger at the collapse 
of Soviet power, condemned financial-industrial capital to subservience and 
lectured the world masses on the attributes smart money in its symbolic - 
money, form. The "casino economy" became the code word to explain the 
impossible. The ideologist sought new meaning in this "current stage" of 
capitalist commodity exchange. 

Every political tendency in every country and hamlet in the world struggled 
to conform to the new reality written, articulated and given its 
international roadmap by the speculative-financial sector of capital. Earth 
had been proletarianized with billions of it inhabitants living in and around 
the various metropolis. A thousand thousand books in every language appeared 
as traditional political divisions collapsed and the left-wing and right wing 
of the political spectrum intermingled, exchanged relative polar positions 
only to reemerge as the same thing. 

The Toffler's - riding the ideological crest of the technological revolution, 
had their books translated into "Chinese," the ultimate acknowledgement of 
literary triumph.  "The Third Wave" became the bible of the new world economy 
and "Power Shift" became the New Testament as million kowtowed before the 
icons of a "new" symbolic world.  The birth of a new civilization was 
proclaimed. In this brave new world national boundaries fell beneath the hard 
assault of the gambler's rather large bankroll and globalism became the 
watchword to describe a new imperialism. 

Capital had upstaged Jesus of Nazareth and welded the power of the Christ 
promising to resurrect the Soviet Union in its own image and recast the 
"Lazarus Effect" on the basis of modern technology.  The demand for a 
reevaluation of capital itself was demanded as revolutionaries paused and 
pondered the most elementary Marxist conception of value. 

"Gee, doesn't software create value," "does not the advertising man create 
value," "doesn't the executive on the golf course, whose labor and guidance 
in production is critical to a business mission create 'golf-course' value? 
"Aren't these 'new relations of production?" 

Under the impact of the speculative-capital expansion, society further 
polarized between absolute wealth and absolute destitution as employment 
figures were pushed throughout the world to prove the death of value as the 
cornerstone of Marx and lessen the impact of our consciousness of 400 people 
controlling more wealth than 3.5 billion human beings. Falling real wages was 
eclipsed by the falling price of commodities and an absolute reduction in the 
value of labor-power for the world proletariat. 

Value of course is the amount of socially necessary labor in the production 
of commodities.  Technology had raised the stake of dead labor - machinery 
and all that which is not flesh and blood, over living labor and as society 
was loaded into a rather large Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) and driven faster 
down the road that leads to Oz - the "zero equation."  The absolute 
domination of dead labor over living labors utilization of the dead, bleed 
the world proletariat white as the speculators promised new injections of 
blood to the collapsing productive process - except the state sector. After 
all "who needs big government."

Of course capital at this stage of evolution acquired new features in the 
personification of the domination of speculative-financial capital over 
capital as a historically evolved social power that converts labor into 
labor-power as a commodity and creates a world market. The death of 
industrial-financial or rather the death of financial industrial capital as 
dominator is witnessed with the initial transition from electro-mechanical 
production to electro-digital production and signals the first stage in the 
absolute collapse of value as a category in the history of commodity 

Everything is rather obvious after the fact and its critical unraveling. 
Speculative capitalist increasingly divorced from the production of 
commodities creates or rather emerges as a unity with its specific polar 
manifestation, proletarians increasingly divorced from the production 
process, which includes but is not limited to diminishing amounts of socially 
necessary labor in the production of commodities.  Diminishing labor-power in 
the production of commodities implies a quantitative and qualitative increase 
of technology, or what is called a change in the composition of capital - 
dead and living labor, and living labor begins to die at the hands of the 
dead. We are familiar with the "Vampire syndrome." "There is so much syndrome 
. . . baby." 

Capital quieted the screaming masses when the Asian crisis erupted and the 
four - or is it seven, Tigers began devouring one another seeking 
profitability in a world where increasing value-less commodities competed 
with relatively more value-full commodities. The hand is quicker than the 
eyes and the masses could not immediately discern that the "knife and folk" 
set purchased for mothers birthday did not come from China but a more than 
less valueless production process in Mexico.  

And what of the Japanese miracle of production, hardworking dignity, 
collective collectivism, spiritual hanky-panky and the Toyota production 
system? Toyota is still a great car, but so is Kia and they will give you 
some money back. Can you imagine that, here are some guys that going to give 
me back some of the money I give them, which I got from money (in the form of 
labor-power) that I gave today at the office, where they gave me back some of 
the money I gave them. Then there is that gambler on the side who is betting 
that I don't get back … wait a minute, he is betting that I give, . . . 
forget it, somehow he is covering all bets, and investing in the investing 
that is going to be invested. 

Then there is Russia. If the countries and states that once constituted the 
multinational state of the Soviet Union think they can enter the world market 
with commodities that can compete with China, or rather exchange relations 
with increasingly living-labor-less content and make a profit, someone is 
sadly mistaken. The Russian "strong men" would do better selling another 72 
jets to China and lying to OPEC about oil production numbers and then 
watching the value of oil collapse and then petroleum profits. (Don't tell me 
please; these are the smart capitalist that only want a "little profit." This 
would be just great if the law of value and its technological master didn't 
undercut the competition and brother you are the competition).  The law of 
capitalist competition (value) is a witch, whose enchanting spell is going to 
get you. The Russian state would do better brushing off all those previously 
printed copies of Marx, Engels and Lenin and offering them for sell on the 
open market real quick. Bet you turn a profit.  If they auctioned off 
Stalin's thirteen volume collected works, they could make a real small 
fortune. Every major library in the "free world" would have to have a set and 
a gold cover edition would be like - groovy, or rather crazy - no, "fresh 
than a mutherfuder." 
Then Argentina broke out and brushed to the side all symbolic theories, 
reevaluations of value, monetary theory, significance of principle features 
in this stage of capital, and demanded food and repudiating debt - from the 
bottom of society. Capital itself cannot simply repudiate debt as in the time 
frame of the old national-colonial revolts, put demand reorganization, better 
rates and a little bit more time. "I can handle this if you fellows give me a 
little room and more time. Don't you see what's happening . . . senor? No 
need in messing it up for all of us. We have food."    

Yes, there will be some kind of bail out and restructuring of debt. 
Polarization takes place within and between classes and stratum. If you doubt 
this for a moment it is because you have never called your credit card 
company and restructured your debt or simply stopped paying the bill. 
Speculators are somewhat different than the old banking financial industrial 
capital. They all ready know you cannot pay your debt, which is part of why 
they are speculators. They have a solution but the laws that govern commodity 
production and capitalist commodity production in this particular instance 
limit all of us. 

What is unfolding is the initial stages that prepare the ground for the 
emergence of a new mode of production. NEW MODE OF PRODUCTION is coming and 
on the horizon. 

The "symbolism" of Argentina is understood. 

Workers (symbolic and non-symbolic proletarians) of the World Unite.  

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