Abstract

Abstract:

To the extent that neoliberal capital aggressively seeks to subsume all living potentiality—biological and immaterial—into the value form, Marx's concepts of labor-power and alienation take on a renewed, if untimely, significance. This article proposes valuable life as a name for contemporary capital's strategy of subsumption, describing three of its principal mechanisms before demonstrating how they generalize and radicalize the estrangement of life from the use of itself. Locating a critique of this process in the forms and figures Marx uses to describe formal subsumption, the article contends that a renewed attention to the formalization of Marx's text, at its historical distance, bears important implications for a critique of neoliberal capital. It concludes by turning to a recurrent figure in Marx which crystallizes an image of life under real subsumption: a silkworm in whose spinning valuable life and vitalized value coincide without remainder.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6539
Print ISSN
0300-7162
Pages
pp. 4-29
Launched on MUSE
2019-02-04
Open Access
No
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