"The corporate structure and today's (as opposed to yesterday's) corporate state"
A talk by Steve Martinot
To think of the contemporary capitalist economy as having been "financialized" is misleading. The rise to absolute predominance over capitalist operations by the corporate structure ("corporativization") has done more than that. It has divided the economy into two separate sectors and markets -- a productive economy composed of productive assets, workers, and commodity markets, and a financial economy, composed of securities, deriviatives, and securities markets. This division represents a radical separation (evolved, not created) between ownership and production, with a commodification of ownership.
The financial is the economy to which the government pays attention (bailouts, corporate welfare, etc., with lip-service to people's needs) because it dominates the productive economy. Financial operations determine the value of assets in the productive economy (in and through its speculative character). This structure engenders changes in political economy (revealed by the latest crisis), and a dialectic between the corporations and the state that goes beyond that examined by Lenin in "Imperialism".
What has emerged is a community of corporations and government bodies, for which the traditional language of capitalist critique loses relevance (e.g. the traditional notion of "capitalist class" has little meaning under the commodification of ownership itself). The essentials of political economy shift away from the human to a political structure for which corporate entities are the constituency. Thus the locus and focus of class struggle, which was different in the 1920s than mid-19th century, and different after World War II in its anti-colonialism, has shifted again through a global generalization of that anti-colonialism.
This talk will seek to give insight into the political and class ramifications of these recent differences, and its social machinery (its relation to war, for instance). Three topics will be integrated into this description of the political economy of corporations: the commodification of both ownership and class, the racialization of policing, and the juridicality of corporate personhood.
Generous Q&A following lecture
Free and open to the public
Added to the calendar on Saturday Jan 12th, 2013 11:27 AM