Author Topic: Work as a Tool of Social Control  (Read 2648 times)

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  • Rebel Monk of Mental Insurrection
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Labor and Death - Jean Baudrillard
« on: January 21, 2020, 01:15:22 pm »
Other societies have known multiple stakes: over birth and kinship, the soul and the body, the true and the false, reality and appearance.  Political economy has reduced them to just one: production.  But then the stakes were large, the violence extreme and hopes too high.  Today this is over.  The system has rid production of all real stakes.  A more radical truth is dawning, however, and the system's victory allows us to glimpse this fundamental stake.  It is even retrospectively becoming possible to analyse the whole of political economy as having nothing to do with production, as having stakes of life and death.  A symbolic stake.

Every stake is symbolic.  There have only ever been symbolic stakes.  This dimension is etched everywhere into the structural law of value, everywhere immanent in the code.

Labor power is instituted on death.  A man must die to become labor power.  He converts this death into a wage.  But the economic violence capital inflicted on him in the equivalence of the wage and labor power is nothing next to the symbolic violence inflicted on him by his definition as a productive force.  Faking the equivalence is nothing next to the equivalence, qua sings, of wages and death...

Labor is slow death...

All this becomes clear in the genealogy of the slave.  First, the prisoner of war is purely and simply put to death (one does him an honor in this way).  Then he is 'spared' [epargne] and conserved [conserve] (=servus), under the category of spoils of war and a prestige good: he becomes a slave and passes into sumptuary domesticity.  It is only later that he passes into servile labor.  However, he is no longer a 'laborer', since labor only appears in the phase of the serf or emancipated slave, finally relieved of the mortgage of being put to death.  Why is he freed?  Precisely in order to work..."

"Every stake is symbolic."

« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 01:19:38 pm by Silenus »

"And the strict master Death bids them dance."