Achim Szepanski Capitalization Vol. 1 – Marx- Non-Economy
Capitlization Vol. 2 – Non-Economy of Contemporary Capitalism
In the face of the excesses of globalized socio-economies, which neo-liberalism addresses by means that are allegedly without alternative and merely serve to aggravate the abysmal situation, one is thrown back upon Marx’ writings, which call for a renewed rereading. Under the dominance of financial capitalism and after the fall of the Soviet Union, which was (loosely) predicated upon Marx’ work, a novel approach to his writings has to be relentlessly different from the practice of Marxisms up to the present.
Achim Szepanski’s two-volume project of a non-marxological examination of Marx’ Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (A Contribution to the Critique of Political-Economy) attempts to arrive at a comprehensive description of the all-encompassing phenomenon of capitalization. This implies reducing Marx’ theories to pure material, in order to look for inherent problems, the solutions of which are capable of revealing how the texts describe and critique a capitalist reality. This means taking certain problematic elements of Marx’ work – which are connoted by terms such as value, money, surplusvalue, capital etc. – and condense them to their conceptual fabric, in order to examine them for moments of immanence and transcendence within the context of varied approaches of Marxist theory and thought. The differential “value” allows for the following: Firstly, the value updates the allocability of physical quantities. Goods are being produced and thrown into circulation, which does not simply equal their actual selling. The value which is not ascribed to the individual commodity is thus being accessed within a multitude of semio-economic transactions. The processes of pricing, in turn, update the virtual allocability of quantities in terms of money. One the one hand, it thus becomes apparent that Marx’ categories are still crucial to an understanding of the financial machines within the context of contemporary capitalism, while on the other hand, there is also a distinct need for new concepts that transcend the methods of analysis offered by the classical texts. In his search for a new tool box, Achim Szepanski en passant introduces a handful of terms from the realm of “Non-Philosophy”, borrowing from Deleuze/Guattari and Francois Laruelle. The critique of economy is transformed into Philo-Science-Fiction.
In the second volume of his work on capitalization, Szepanski attempts to radically read the accelerative excrescences of globalized socio-economies as phenomena of monetary capitalization. Against the omnipresent calls for modernization of capitalist real-economies in times of multiple crises, he argues that synthetic finance itself, with its exotic operative instruments, plays an essential role in neo-liberal governance. In the context of the new financialization-regimes, it is not the ‘having-become’ of the present that is moved into focus, but rather that of the future. In a temporally speculative sense, money, in its self-referential quality, is calculating methodically; in other words, the speculative calculating of the monetary capital with itself implies its permanent temporalization, which brings the money-regime to the fore, yet also acts as a means of deferral. For this, capitalization makes use of the respective instruments and technologies, in order to facilitate and continue the trade with risks which, in turn, are supposed to be used to channel any future income streams towards progressive utilization; and this again has massive impact on power-relations, areas of conflict and processes of normalization within the body politic.
Szepanski uses analyses of the financial markets as they are put forth by the likes of Elie Ayache, Bichler/Nitzan, Christian Marazzi und Elena Esposito, in order to advance his interpretation of financial capital and the essential role he ascribes to financial derivatives. In marked contrast to the Keynesian position, which, in accordance with a labor value Marxism and the Occupy-movement, deems the contemporary regime of finance an expression of ravenous greed and unproductive, anti-social practices, the neo-liberal model of financialization proves to be a very effective strategy of sustaining the hegemony of capitalism.