Tag Archives: Capitalism

Under The Sign of Capitalism

Notes on a never ending decline

Lamberto Tassinari

Everything that has been said and done from Cervantes to Philip Roth, from Alessandro Volta to Steve Jobs, from Linné to Kandel is under the sign of capitalism. Our times, modern and postmodern, should rightly be called the Capitalist Civilization. There are many variants of capitalism of course (with more or less state involvement)  and there is not on Earth the ideal form of it. But now that real-socialism is dead and buried, market-financial capitalism is the reigning form of governance in all countries. Our democracy is indeed a “market democracy” where the management is committed to representatives chosen by the “people” in a quasi-farcical election process and the power given to the market forces and their tamers.

The Industrial Revolution

Democracy is a word, at the best, a “work in progress”. But no one is at work on it!

Clearly, capitalism has been the driving engine of progress, material and intellectual for two centuries. Real, effective, swift if ferocious progress such as no other economic system couldn’t ever have afforded. Market, in principles, means freedom for goods to circulate and ideas, and later people also. Because capitalism is incompatible with the political-economical system from which it has progressively emerged, feudalism. Men have to be freed in order to consume the goods that they are obliged to produce. It is a historical evidence that democratic forms weren’t never developed in a non capitalist society. At a certain extent we witness to the equation between capitalism and democracy. Consider that feudal and “socialist” societies like Japan and China had no choice but to adopt the capitalistic  way of production in the 20th century because capitalism is the fastest way to develop economically. But in the fully “developed “ countries of ours, capitalism has completed its “democratic” mission and it is now exhausting our bodies and souls. As you know we reached the limit in the mid 1970 when it became clear that the “capitalistic civilization” could not produce any more progress, freedom nor liberties. Fifty years since that limit, its never ending decline shows the magnitude of the disaster. Not just the ecology. Look around. All IT touches become capitalistically infected:

health, science, education, art, food, sport, everything.

The mainmise or the stranglehold …..

Visual arts and the novel

The cultural industry: the fate of art and the necessary, inevitable euthanasia of its aura. What is the destiny of novel? Masterpieces and the printing business.


Why the electric car was killed back in the Thirties?

Tesla well before being a fashionable car was a mad Serbian genius who emigrated to the United States at the beginning of the last century and in the Thirties had already developed several electric devices, essential to the progress of our modern life among which a perfectly functional electric car.


Why the immunotherapy in cancer research has been discouraged?

Tutto o quasi quello che sappiamo e facciamo è tinto di capitalismo. Per capitalismo intendo quella forma di produzione di merci e di rapporti sociali cominciata con la nascita della civiltà borghese intorno al Mille e poi lentamente evoluta, per così dire, fino alla rivoluzione industriale e al decollo pienamente capitalistico verso la metà del 19° secolo.

Photo: Pierlucio Pellissier

The spinning Jenny, il telaio a vapore del 1770 in Inghilterra e Germania poi, questo è l’avvio ruggente del Kapitalismus  ma preceduto da secoli di lento building up, esattamente come un cancro, piano piano, la rinascita delle città con i Carolingi e i comuni e la società borghese, dei borghi, e da noi Boccaccio, tutto questo lavorio è proto-proto capitalista, Marx si occupa del fenomeno in fase adulta, compiuta e pensava che si potesse hegelianamente rovesciare con la logica! Il capitalismo puro, ideale è assolutamente senza Stato, il Mercato è lo Stato, che con mano invisibile aggiusta, regola tutto.


Nella modernità, dal proto al tardo capitalismo, sono nate e cresciute le idee e le cose che realmente pensiamo e facciamo. Compreso l’atavico, il primitivo, l’animale, ogni pensiero e ogni pratica è modellato dalla logica capitalistica del consumo e del profitto. Nella fase senile del capitalismo, come in ogni senilità, i difetti originari del sistema appaiono magnificati.

And death shall be no more, death, thou shalt die

Credo che con questo stesso nostro corpo non si potrà avere un altro “corpo sociale” vedi La Pharmacie de Durkheim di Sophie Jankélévitch.  Ci vuole tempo, ma di tempo ce n’è infinitamente. Quando il corpo sarà altro, corpo astratto, immateriale-informatico, proprio come un’anima – tanti di noi umani l’hanno immaginato, compreso Platone – allora avremo un altro corpo sociale, un’ altra società.


Ora, esistendo noi in questa fase, per così dire… lunga, non vale la pena darsi da fare anche perché la Morte che ci insidia e ci spinge a Fare, non esiste, è la curva della strada, è non essere visti, come dice Pessoa…ma è difficile crederci per più di un minuto!

[more to come]


Lamberto Tassinari

Face and Book. Two powerful, divine words. The human Face, what is more meaningful, deep and troubling than our “face”?

The Book, what’s more essential to us than the concentrate of all human knowledge?

Antonin Artaud, the visionary, wrote

 (…) le visage humain n’a pas encore trouvé sa face (…) la face humaine telle qu’elle est se cherche encore avec deux yeux, un nez, une bouche, / et les deux cavités auricuaires qui répondent aux trous des orbites comme les quatre ouvertures du caveau de la prochaine mort. / Le visage humain porte en effet une espèce de mort perpétuelle sur son visage / dont c’est au peintre justement à le sauver / en lui rendant ses propres traits…

Sacred face though, it is the mirror on which the invisible inside sends signs to the eyes and to the expressive little wrinkles on the side of your mouth. Our face has been kidnapped by the market and, together with the book, became the appealing symbol, the web in which two billion souls got entangled. Instant communication and exposure of the self were the dreamlike promises.


Everyone could finally tell their stories, show their faces and have, in exchange, multitudinous stories and faces from the wide world. A nightmare is a dream turned awry and that is what happened: the pure immaterial creation gave birth to the usual, heavy, mercantile output. As everything in our capitalistic civilization is driven by profit, Facebook’s ugly face was absolutely predictable.  Guy Debord verily asserted in 1967 «Economy transforms the world, but it only transforms it in the world of economy”. He perfectly described the condition of our extreme alienation in which we are living « Le spectacle n’est pas un ensemble d’images, mais un rapport social entre des personnes, médiatisé par des images.». Which is the portrait of Facebook’s actual functioning. The new financial, immaterial capitalism extended its dominion at the planetary level with means fifty years ago still unknown to Debord but that he could perfectly foresee : « Le spectacle est le capital à un tel degré d’accumulation qu’il devient image », prophetically announcing Facebook’s empire:« Le spectacle est le moment où la marchandise est parvenue à l’occupation totale de la vie sociale. » Merchandise has filled our entire existence: our inner selves confessed everything – desires and data – to Facebook which treated all of this, rightly, as goods.

We are in such a dystopian condition that utopia becomes, once again, the only option. Utopian democracy which will be reality only when the economy would have lost its monetary meaning and all its primitive components – work, value, merchandise, money – will vanish with all the monsters born within the world of economy.