In the interests of accumulating resources, I think it is worthwhile reproducing the key passages from Anti-Oedipus on capitalism, fictional quantities and the Thing.

‘The segmentary territorial machine makes uses of scission to exorcise fusion, and impedes the concentration of power by maintaining the organs of chieftanry in a relationship of impotence with the group; as though the savages themselves sensed the rise of the imperial Barbarian, who will come nonetheless from without and will overcode all their codes.


But the greatest danger would be yet another dispersion, a scission such that all the possibilities of coding would be supressed: decoded flows, flowing on a blind, mute, deterritorialized socius – such is the nightmare that the primitive social machine exorcises with all its forces, and its segmetary articulations.

The primitive territorial machine is not ignorant of exchange, commerce, and industry; it exorcises them, localizes them, cordons them off, encastes them and maintains the merchant and the blacksmith in a subordinate position, so that the flows of exchange and the flows of production do not manage to break the codes in favour of their abstract or fictional quantities.


And isn’t that also what Oedipus, the fear of incest, is all about? If capitalism is the universal truth, it is so in the sense that makes the capitalism the negative of all social formations, it is the thing, the unnamable, the generalized decoding of all flows that reveals a contrario the secret of these formations, coding the flows, and even overcoding them, rather than letting anything escape coding. Primitive societies are not outside history; rather, it is capitalism that is at the end of history, it is capitalism that results from a long history of contingencies and accidents, and that brings on this end. It cannot be said that the previous formations did not see the Thing that only came from without by rising from within, and that at all costs had to be prevented from rising. Whence the possibility of a retrospective reading of all history in terms of capitalism.’

Anti-Oedipus, 152-153


Posted by mark k-p at August 2, 2004 07:48 AM

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