December 16, 2012
Below are terms as elaborated in Bifo’s new book The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance
Abstraction – When Marx talks about abstract labor, he is referring to the separation of a worker’s activity from concrete usefulness, which is what happens under capitalism. The use-value of the worker’s product is only a step toward the real thing which is value, which is surplus value…The capitalist cares only about how much value his work can produce in a given unit of time. This is the beginning process of capitalist abstraction.
In the late-modern phase of capitalism, digital abstraction adds a second layer to capitalist abstraction: transformation and production no longer happen in the field of bodies, and material manipulation, but in the field of interoperativity between informational machines. Information takes the place of things, and the body is canceled from the field of communication.
We then have a third level of abstraction, which is financial abstraction. Finance means that the process of valorization no longer passes through the stage of use value, or even the production of goods (physical or semiotic.) (104) Read the rest of this entry »