I'm sure the point has been made in passing but there really are two central problems with the emerging 'neo/techno-feudalism' synthesis which few critics have focused on, sometimes even explained as a full-on "transition from capitalism back to feudalism."aljazeera.com/program/upfron…
(1) the idea that capitalism somehow abolished ‘personal domination’ and completely separated political from economic power. That was always a propaganda talking point; in practice impersonal market power and personal power have always been intertwined across capitalist history.
There is an argument to be made that the fusion between political and economic power has been strengthened due to stagnation and post-1973 long downturn, but that is a claim for the ‘refeudalization’ of capitalism, not one for a ‘transition from capitalism back to feudalism.'
(2) The central subject of any feudalism, as Bloch always insisted, was a legally bonded peasantry which was not market-dependent. If a peasant eliminated his lord he could decide to found a peasant commune and that would be that.
But even if today’s digital serfs 'eliminate' Mark Zuckerberg and Bezos their capitalist market-dependence will not disappear - they will still have to sell their labour power on a capitalist market for survival, or abolish the labour market altogether.
Finally (3), any 'feudalism' (not even a coherent concept, a different debate) relied on regimes of codified legal inequality. It can’t work with bourgeois equality. Remnants of caste have survived under capitalism — think of race — but that's not the same as 'feudalism'.
There are arguments for ‘neo-feudal’ tendencies in capitalism due to state predation in the long downturn, but that is a much, much weaker claim then ‘we’re leaving capitalism behind and now moving into feudalism.’
You also can’t help but see a certain Eurocentrism in this position, as @Alex__1789 points out: capitalism is not supposed to be like this — when it’s clear the long growth of the post-war period was exceptional even in a European frame!
With the Global North now supposedly 'Brazilianizing' it looks more like it is just regressing to a capitalist mean which countries such as Brazil have long been familiar with. There, capitalism was always predatory, personalistic and ‘feudal’ - a capitalism pure and simple...
Okay time to end this thread - more on this in the next @BungaCast?
Final hot take: a unitary concept of 'feudalism' was itself an early capitalist invention, projecting the totality created by capitalism back onto the heterogenous patchwork of personal power deals that made up the medieval world. 'Feudalism'... only makes sense 'in' capitalism.
And this piece is such a great argument for why we shouldn't read a unitary 'feudalism' back into all non-capitalist and pre-capitalist societies: versobooks.com/blogs/4105-mar…
@damagemagazine with the psychoanalytic explanation: "people wish they had the security of peasants."

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More from @AntonJaegermm

6 Apr
What Freud and Marx do have in common is that every generation of mainstream scholars rediscovers their basic insights and then sells it as revolutionary wisdom - a nice oedipal cycle.
Read 4 tweets
4 Jan
This 2015 LRB letter contains one of the most convincing counterarguments to Mair's "ruling the void" thesis - the civil society crisis is real, yes, but asymmetrically, not quite for the propertied parts of society. 'Disorganized' capitalism is only here for the subaltern.
Neoliberalism only wrecked the left-wing side of civil society and instead 'recreated' the right-wing one: while unions and workingmen's associations declined, private schools, CoE, and the Eton-Oxford pipeline maintained ruling class association.
At the same time, the argument's gaps are glaring: anyone driving through the UK will notice derelict Conservative Clubs in small towns, once the bulwark of the first mass party in the world. Tories have lost millions of members since Thatcher or have let the membership age away.
Read 11 tweets
24 Nov 20
Truly the most talented bully this planet will ever contain.
Also such an interesting window into the 'habitus' of New York lumpen capital, the kind of skills you have to develop to survive and prosper in that milieu.
Read 4 tweets
22 Nov 20
Churchill once wrote a counterfactual history of the American Civil War, where Confederacy wins at Gettysburg, marches on Washington and then emancipates slaves with British help. No need for Reconstruction (!) - by 1905 an Atlantic white bloc achieves global hegemony. Image
Surely the desire for an English-administered Reconstruction had something to do with this episode:

"It is said more Confederate flags flew over Liverpool than Richmond [the city in Virginia was one of the Confederacy's capitals]." bbc.com/news/uk-englan…
Read 4 tweets
22 Jan 20
Whenever I find myself enjoying Hayek I remember that his ideal of human flourishing is an estate agent.
The Greeks had Aristotelian warriors, the Gauls druids, the Aztecs mortal gods, America yeomen, Britain the gentleman — neoliberalism gives us... the estate agent.
I honestly don’t understand how anyone on the right can read both Hayek and Nietzsche and go: “Now let me fuse these for my ideology.”
Read 5 tweets

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