New Criticals

The passage into Empire is composed of many tributaries and micro-passages: the decline of the nation-state and sovereignty, the rise of globalization and international organizations, the passage out of colonialism and even post-colonialism, the transformation of the world market, the dramatic shifts in the locality of production, the rise of entirely new modes of production, and the confusion and disruption of the already problematic (ideological and spatial) three World division. It also corresponds to some larger, more general trends of deterritorialization and decentralization.

This is our brief history until now. The emergence of a new way of thinking about and producing in the world also emphasizes connectivity, much like the industrial factory, to maximize productivity. To know more is to be better, so that an excess of information and knowledge is a precondition for a vibrant, flourishing system of capitalism as it grows into its post-industrial, post-Fordist forms. Technology and (the regulation of) money are the two most important (potential) weapons in arsenal of contemporary global capitalism, employed to perpetually re-establish and maintain its tight, hegemonic control of now digital finance and the working class. The use of money, and its real and symbolic position as a universal yet fractured language, not only structures and influences the world market but also accomplishes the vital ideological work (along with principles inherent in digitization and the internet) of enforcing the decidedly utopian notion of an international community. National currencies are appropriately different enough but always translatable.


[1] Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. Empire. 280.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Service industry jobs that “cover a wide range of activities form health care, education, and finance to transportation, entertainment, and advertising.” Ibid., 285.
[4] Terranova, Tiziana. Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age. 6.
[5] Ibid., 9.
[6] Ibid., 13.
[7] Analytics and data processing have been around since the earliest forms of writing; financial accounts and record-keeping were literally among the first things ever written down. A trace of intersection of information and economics is also a history of the (Western) world.
[8] Ibid., 14.
[9] i.e. The transformation of a physical or material thing from non-information to information. The Google Books project is a good example, as would be any digitization project, and the on-going project to map the human genome.
[10] Ibid., 19.
[11] Ibid., 34.
[12] “So named because they control the vectors along which information is abstracted, just as capitalists control the material means with which goods are produced, and pastoralists the land with which food is produced. This information, once the collective property of the productive classes – the working and farming classes considered together – becomes the property of yet another appropriating class.” Wark, McKenzie. A Hacker Manifesto. 29.
[13] Ibid.
[14] “Nothing protects the vectoralist business from its competitors other than its capacity to qualitatively transform the information it possesses and extract new value from it.” Ibid., 34.
[16] A trend already observed in the production of a Post-Fordist economy, where the economics shifted from leaning toward the supply side (stockpiling) to emphasizing a super-demand side – totally customizable products unmade until specifically ordered by individual consumers. Amazon appears to be challenging that customization by returning to, albeit with perfection, a more demand-based model. The important distinction is that the demand is individually based – it’s what you specifically need. And Amazon will have it, cheaper. They have fucking everything.
[17] It is in this way that information itself can become broken down and abstracted from itself, “in the form of intellectual property.” Wark, Hacker Manifesto., 18.
[18] A “capitalist crisis, as Marx tells us, is a situation that requires capital to undergo a general devaluation and a profound rearrangement of the relations of production as a result of the downward pressure that the proletariat puts on the rate of profit.” Hardt and Negri, Empire., 261.
[19] Including violent conflicts in Cuba, China, and Latin America.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Ibid., 265.
[23] Ibid., 267.
[24] Ibid., 268