The unbridled power of capital

Image: Cottonbro


Since the American subprime crisis in 2008, wild capitalism seems to have lost its inner peace

At the time I write this article, capitalism, the prevailing economic system in the modulation of human life in most countries on the globe, is in anguish. In fact, since the American subprime crisis in 2008, wild capitalism, translated by its most horrendous face, which is neoliberalism, seems to have lost its inner peace.

After the financial crisis of 2008, which occurred due to a real estate bubble in the United States – due to the increase in real estate values, unrelated to the corresponding increase in the income of the population –, capitalism suffered a generalized loss of confidence, and large sectors of the financial system of America and the world still have suspicions hanging over their heads.

However, the anguish of capitalism seems to be well disguised in the recent discussion involving some postmodern thinkers, such as Evgeny Morozov, Jodi Dean and Cédric Durand. In this sense, before entering the core of this text, I consider it important to summarize what these intellectuals think about the future of this prevailing economic system for two centuries.

Only then will we be able to extend the theoretical debate beyond the intellectual circuit in the first world, and provide readers with a critical view that encompasses the perspective of the future from the point of view of someone from the global south. I understand that the task is not easy, given the solid arguments of each one. However, I think that all of them miss the most elementary perception, namely, the final objective of the commodity (re)producer system (capitalism), as an active subject of the ontological transformation of the human being and, by extension, the already dire consequences for the planet.

Evgeny Morozov

In the order of how it was published in the media, the first text that discussed the crisis of capitalism was that of Evgeny Morozov.[1] In his text, Evgeny Morozov criticizes intellectuals on the left (some not so left), such as Yanis Varoufakis, Mariana Mazzucato, Jodi Dean, Wolfgang Streeck, among others, for flirting with concepts of a supposed “technofeudalism”, as a new phase of primitive accumulation of the surplus of the entire global economy, now strongly dominated by large technology companies, but still linked to the old extractive concept of feudalism.

Therefore, the feudal economic logic, by which the surplus produced by the peasants was appropriated by the landlords, would be the basis for elucidating its successor regime, capitalism. This, contrary to the means of extracting surpluses considered extra-economic in feudalism, that is, of a political nature, when goods are expropriated through violence (or simple threat), promotes the means of extracting surpluses that are entirely economic, that is, people Free people are forced to sell their labor power to survive in a cash economy.

However, Evgeny Morozov is not very interested in which paradigm should be considered; whether in what was said above, with a Marxist bias, or in the paradigm of non-Marxist historians, who maintain that feudalism was not a backward mode of production, but a backward sociopolitical system, conducive to outbreaks of arbitrary violence, personal dependencies and ties of fidelity based on religious beliefs and cultural foundations. For him, the most important thing for the critique of a “digital feudalism” or “neo-feudalism” is to identify the main characteristics of the feudal system, to make it possible to examine how they can reappear again.

In this vein, Evgeny Morozov understands that feudalism as an economic system needs to have a parasitic ruling class that enjoys a luxurious lifestyle at the expense of the misery of the other classes it dominates. On the other hand, he states that feudalism as a sociopolitical system has as its central point the privatization of power formerly exercised by the State, as well as its dispersion through fragile and non-accountable institutions.

Although Evgeny Morozov understands the arguments of some of these thinkers as to what gives the digital economy its peculiar “neo-feudal” or “techno-feudal” flavor, namely that workers remain exploited in all old capitalist ways, and the new digital giants are those who benefit most from its sophisticated means of predation, he does not agree that companies like Google, for example, whose business revolves around the collections of data that it is capable of indexing and operating to produce its merchandise of results from research, can be considered as a mere rentier, and not as a standard capitalist enterprise.

In this way, Evgeny Morozov understands that only an expanded conception of capitalism itself is capable of encompassing exploitation and expropriation in a single model. For this purpose, he quotes Jason Moore – a former student of Immanuel Wallerstein and Giovanni Arrighi –, who may have arrived, in his view, at a new consensus, when he says: “capitalism prospers when islands of production and exchange of goods can appropriating oceans formed by potentially cheap portions of nature – outside the circuit of capital, but essential for its operation”.

In this perspective, Evgeny Morozov believes that political Marxism should abandon its conception of capitalism as a system marked by the functional separation between the economic and the political. He believes, as does Ellen M. Woods, that bourgeois economic theory abstracted the social and political aspects that involve the economic system and delegated to capitalism the ability to shift essentially political issues from the political arena to the economic sphere. Therefore, socialist emancipation could only take place with the awareness that the separation between these two spheres, political and economic, is truly artificial.

However, despite being artificial, the political sphere was fundamental for the constitution and consolidation of the economic sphere. Therefore, presenting capitalism as an economic system that perpetuates the separation between the political and the economic may be the postmodern way of hybridizing the productivity of capitalism. So, for him, the staggering accumulation that happens through innovation in the tech giants, rather than predation and expropriation, is the ultimate irony that shows that old-fashioned capitalism is still very much alive, in Marxian fashion, as value-producing system.

Jodi Dean

Afterwards, the American political theorist and professor, Jodi Dean, countered Evgeny Morozov by stating that not recognizing the transition from “usual” capitalism to a kind of “technofeudalism” is to reduce the power of social struggles.[2] According to her, the ways of capturing collective wealth go far beyond the old extraction of surplus value. And he gives the example of “uberization”, a new relationship between workers and employees with mega-corporations, where they acquire an unprecedented political power before the States, analogous to that of feudal lords. In this sense, the so-called “free” trade agreements can also be included in the list of this new form of capturing other people's wealth, as transnational companies use their almost unlimited economic power to demand the most varied forms of indemnities, whenever political power local government passes sovereign laws that hurt its profits.

Therefore, Jodi Dean criticizes Morozov for not paying attention to new forms of exploitation, as he only naturalizes capitalism in its constitution of accumulation throughout history. Indeed, according to her, capitalism has changed the form of this compulsion, by transforming what was a direct and personal form of domination into something impersonal, in other words, into a domination that becomes mediated by market forces, that is, economic power is separate from political power.

In this way, Jodi Dean understands that capitalism presupposes the dissolution of the whole into parts. In his words: “It's the tools that employ them now. Everything that was present in the original unit is still there, but in a different form. Under this new order, the separate conditions of production are united through the mediation of the market.

Apparently still unsatisfied with her critique of Morozov, Jodi Dean wonders whether there is, in fact, evidence of a change in the elements that constitute contemporary capitalism. And more: it questions the nature of the economic exploitation of platforms like Uber, whether they are manifestations of unbridled capitalism, as Morozov argued, or whether they are a new form of feudal servitude. At this point, in an attempt to clarify her arguments, she seeks in Marx's account of the Grundrisse the solution to resolve this binary inversion that involves servitude and freedom.

There, according to Jodi Dean: “Marx describes the mass of living labor released onto the market as 'free in a twofold sense, free from the old relations of dependency, slavery and servitude, and, secondly, free from all belongings and possessions, from the forms objective and material being, free from all property”. In this way, we can think of Uber workers as free contractors, not because of what they can enjoy with the flexibility of the form and time of work, but because of what they lose in terms of fundamental rights and guarantees that all formal workers have.

Thus, contrary to what Morozov thinks, the new "digital lords" are not innovative capitalists, who invest their profits in research and development of new activities for the production of modern and up-to-date goods to the taste of consumers, and should be seen, in the Indeed, as “idle rentiers”, since they are promoting the maximization of their profits to reinvest in production surpluses that, in many cases, are destroying capitalism itself (Jodi Dean mentions, by name, Uber, but also Airbnb, to DoorDash, among others). Therefore, these intermediaries are inserted in exchange relations, dismantling markets and destroying productive sectors.

According to her, to dominate the market, the new “digital barons” are accumulating wealth through destructive investments instead of productive ones. In this vein, the new platform capitalism spends billions to destroy potential competitors, rather than compete with them through improvements in their efficiency. In doing so, they master fragmented market segments and circumvent regulations, as well as increasing pressure on workers and customers. In the words of Jodi Dean: “Capital now becomes a weapon of mass conquest and destruction”.

Hence, she understands that neoliberalism becomes “technofeudalism”, because it implodes the existing social property relations, by breaking the “shackles” of the State or the institutional restrictions to the market. Indeed, by massacring the competition, the new platform capitalists acquire the status of quasi-owners of the world in their field of activity (when they do not diversify into other economic areas of surplus value extraction), and become capable of exercising political power unprecedented in history, pari passu with the increase in poverty across the planet. In effect, these new social property relations, new types of intermediaries and new laws of movement lead to new processes of employment of surplus capital which, if in the past they were directed outwards, that is, through colonialism and imperialism, now they turn inward.

Consequently, for Jodi Dean, “neo-feudalism” or “techno-feudalism” is no longer characterized by relationships of personal dependence, but by abstract and algorithmic dependence on the platforms that mediate everyday life. Today, fragmentation and extra-economic expropriation are the key words, as the “digital lords”, endowed with incomparable economic power, exert political pressure based on the terms and conditions that they themselves have established. As Jodi Dean says: “With the private parceling out of sovereignty, political authority and economic power are mixed. The law does not apply to powerful billionaires as they can avoid it.”

Therefore, in the name of an alleged hyper-individual freedom, Jodi Dean understands that the counter-revolution produced by neoliberalism has consisted of privatization, fragmentation and separation of pseudo-free workers, who are trapped in a new type of servitude: they are dependent on networks and practices through from which rents are drawn at every economic step they take in society.

Cedric Durand

French economics professor Cédric Durand, also criticized by Morozov, argues on three fronts to agree with the concept of “technofeudalism”: (i) he argues that feudalism should be understood as a system of capturing wealth, ensured by extra-economic constraints , in the context of a small individual production; (ii) argues that the new technologies do not lead to small individual production, but to an unparalleled collectivization of work; (iii) finally, he disagrees with Morozov regarding the sequential pattern of “usual” capitalism, as this alleged socialization takes on a regressive character, that is, it gradually commodifies all aspects of social life, until it reaches its maximum efficiency ( not yet achieved, by the way) of transforming every lived act into merchandise.

In this text, we will focus briefly on Cédric Durand's third argument, since there is no significant controversy regarding the first two.

The maximum point of controversy among the mentioned thinkers is that, for Cédric Durand, as well as for Jodi Dean, platform megacorporations do not invest heavily to provide useful innovations for people and the planet in general. In fact, their investments are not even used to endow global society with greater equity. On the contrary, they are producing an unprecedented level of social alienation, in addition to promoting an almost total breakdown in the use of work. Paradoxically, this alienation and the increase in inequality in the world has reinforced the increasing dominance of these digital networks.

In Brazil, for example, according to the World Inequality Lab (Global Inequalities Laboratory) – which is part of the Paris School of Economics and is co-directed by the French economist Thomas Piketty, author of the bestseller Capital in the 21st century –, in a report released at the beginning of last year, the richest 10% in Brazil, with an income of 81,9 thousand euros (R$ 253,9 thousand in PPP), represent 58,6% of the country's total income. Or, if you prefer, the poorest 50% earn 29 times less than the richest 10%. This means that the poorest half in Brazil owns less than 1% of the country's wealth and that the richest 1% owns almost half of the Brazilian wealth.[3]

To corroborate his argument, Cédric Durand cites French philosopher Etienne Balibar to accurately capture the regressive potential of contemporary socialization. Balibar says: “Trendentially, no form of life – such as agency, activity, passivity and even death – can be lived outside the commodity form and the value form which is, in fact, a moment in the process of capital valorization. ”. What Etienne Balibar is saying is that the continuous process of commodification of life, of everything in general, has crossed the red line of fundamental signifiers for human life and the planet, such as health, education, knowledge, art, entertainment, care, feelings and everything else in the form of “dummy goods”. Now, this translates into a “total subsumption” of the global market, which results in a complete loss of identity and personal autonomy, in favor of the marketing logic that commands the quality and quantity of human life.

This is the core of the techno-feudal hypothesis, namely that total commodification leads to the neglect of other forms of socialization. Digital platforms have become the new ecosystems through which an “ocean” of money flows. The primary function of these platforms is, secondly, Cedric Durand, “manipulating social interactions based on patterns of behavior between unrelated people that they detect algorithmically.”

In this way, the new socioeconomic scenario that is being created is, in the view of Cedric Durand, that of a cumulative “causation”, in which the would-be monopolists of the digital giants invest and innovate to accumulate intangible assets, which generate new forms of social control. Clearly, then, these virtual knowledge monopolies entail a systematic expansion of power, which can lead to unequal market exchange. Users of new digital technologies, in turn, are a new asset class for these megacorporations, as they are the raw material through which they create and control the data that allows them to generate revenue.

Hence, “neofeudalism” is in the social environment created and allowed/controlled by these companies, for the virtual interaction of their users (the more and faster the better) and not necessarily in the volume of business carried out within the virtual space. Where it all ends, none of the three could pinpoint. But the exponential increase in income concentration is evident, since globalization surpassed its material limits and reached the stratosphere of the financialization of capital. Cedric Durand says: “These developments are consistent with the diagnosis of a dysfunctional capitalism, where the centralization of capital occurs through processes of predation largely disconnected from productive activities – the logic of surplus appropriation in the techno-feudal hypothesis”.


The Anguish of Capitalism

After this brief digression about the controversial transformation of capitalism, I think it is the right time to discuss the current anguish of capitalism in contemporary times. In fact, much more than a new paradigm of wealth concentration with historically exceptional profits, the most important thing is to pay attention to Durand's last words (which is why I left him at the end), to which: “When appropriation exceeds capitalist exploitation, the system underwent a mutation. Or has it already happened?”

I believe that there is still no ready answer to this question. However, it is possible to point out ways that make our approach to this area less stressful in theoretical terms. Indeed, the apparent contradiction between a savage model of capitalist exploitation, neoliberalism, and his current anguish at being in the hot seat of the popular imagination, which makes him the target of all the accusations of civilizing malaise, could lead him to having to make a kind of “Sophie's choice”: mutation or maturation.

Sam Tomsic

Furthermore, the professor of philosophy in Hamburg-Germany, Samo Tomsic, recently wrote two complementary texts in which he asked whether society does not exist. As the second text is not for laypersons in psychoanalysis, I will focus mainly on the first one,[4] but without neglecting to point out the most important aspects of the second.[5] Samo Tomsic resorts to the founders of modern human sciences (in the view of Michel Foucault), Nietzsche, Marx and Freud, to establish the three fundamental axes of the symbolic order: moral, economic and linguistic.

Together, these three systems of thought revolve around what Samo Tomsic called a “parasitism” of the infinite (the symbolic) on the finitude of the body. This parasitism is more commonly known as “drive”. As this drive represents both a symbolic and a material force, and the symbolic order is never just an abstraction, but also represents an organization of materiality, that is, an economy, the common characteristic of these three economic orders is that they all represent “economies”. affective”, that is, the question of the production and organization of affections in the conception of social bonds as affective bonds.

From where Samo Tomsic rescues the speech of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, stating that “there is no such thing as society”. Neoliberalism – which gave its start with strong influence from her and the then president of the United States, Ronald Reagan – can be precisely defined as a socioeconomic doctrine that values ​​the proliferation of antisocial affections. At this point, it seems interesting that intellectuals of the stature mentioned above – Morozov, Dean and Durand – still haven't realized that the mutation, in fact, has already begun. Furthermore, they get lost in long theoretical-conceptual discussions that will not get anywhere, in the practical sense of perceiving what is under their noses.

After all, unless a hecatomb (caused by humans or not) happens and there are only a few of us left, the feudal system is part of humanity's historical past. Seeking new nomenclatures, as Dean and Durand are elocubrating, to define capitalism in mutation, is not useful for us to try to understand the path we are following. In the same way, denying the mutation of capitalism, as Morozov tried to do in a simple way, is to reduce the size of the civilizing change that human beings are submitting to the entire planet.

Well, if there is no society, what exists anyway? The two horsemen of the apocalypse mentioned above – Thatcher and Reagan – did their best to establish a new political ontology: neoliberalism. As Samo Tomsic says: “Margaret Thatcher's axiom is, therefore, first of all an ontological prohibition of the social: society must be expelled, not only from political programs, but from the order of being”. This radical exclusion from sociability translates into a new logos (Plato) social, based on competitive economic relations and traditional family structures, that is, the already worn out formula of economic deregulation and patriarchal regulation.

Of course, Thatcher and Reagan knew that neoliberalism essentially requires an antisocial state and a system of organized antisociality. The pursuit of economic growth at any cost, without due care in sharing the pie in a fair and global manner, imposes permission for the capital intruder to act in the public and private spheres in accordance with the greater imperative of extracting as much as possible from more. -value.

It turns out that something has gone awry in these four decades of capital's unbridled greed, which is making it anxious. As you can see, it is very little time for an economic system to go “into a tailspin”. For example, feudalism took more than ten centuries to be supplanted by a new economic system. Industrial capitalism itself took more than two centuries to be overtaken by its worst version, neoliberalism. So what has gone wrong with this savage system of capitalist exploitation? Well, we can start with that previous sentence, that is, neoliberalism has never ceased to be, in essence, a disastrous portion of capitalism.

But classical capitalism, which prevailed since the first Industrial Revolution, in the XNUMXth century, can no longer be recognized within the neoliberal model. The creature has strayed from its creator. It is in this sense that I claim that the capitalist mutation has already begun. But it is also possible to see clear signs of failure in this mutation. As in the trilogy Matrix between 1999 and 2003, in which the occurrence of a failure generated the already seen in the system. there, the already seen it was the repetition of a sequence of images. In our everyday matrix, the already seen of the mutation of the neoliberal system is the anguish of living beings who are inserted in a hyper-technological economic model of exploitation of surplus value, and which is transforming them into dysfunctional monsters.

Since Aristotle, the human being has been recognized as a relational animal. It means to say that the social and affective ties with other human beings (and I would add with nature in general) were and are essential for their permanence as a species. Neoliberalism failed precisely by denying the constitutive “relationality” of the human being. On the contrary, neoliberalism entrusted this “relationality” only to the economic exchange of goods, through unbridled and aggressive competition. The symbolic result of the material pursuit within the market-god has been greed (Marx), resentment (Nietzsche) and envy (Freud). After all, as Brown (2019) warns in his book,[6] the ruins of neoliberalism are nothing less than the ruins produced by neoliberalism, ruining society and its sociability. Clearer impossible, that this economic model could not last.

It is not surprising, therefore, that if, on the one hand, the political universals of the French Revolution (“Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”) still remain in the popular imagination – plus other signifiers, such as solidarity, flexibility, emancipation, the common good, etc. -, on the other hand, the political quadrivium of economic liberalism pointed out by Marx, namely, “freedom, equality, property and Bentham” is what actually prevails, and the utilitarianism of “Bentham” symbolizes private interest over the common good, of the antisocial over the social, in which the commodity form and private property privilege competition over solidarity and the uninterrupted production of surplus value increasingly dismantles society's cohesion bonds.

As Samo Tomsic puts it: “Ultimately, no one truly owns freedom except the market… as subjects of the capitalist mode of production, we are all placed in a situation where we must delegate our potential freedom to the market, which will be free to us".

As long as this Marxian quadrivium prevails, the truth is that we will be subject to servitude, inequality, expropriation and the drive of capital. Hence Samo Tomsic alert to the unbridled power of capital, in denouncing any attempt to reverse the capitalist privatization of politics as totalitarian. The exaggerated consequence of this denunciation may increase populism, both on the right and on the left, in an ambivalence that, according to him, “suggests that we may be dealing here with a transitional policy, neither inherently left nor inherently right”.

What Samo Tomsic calls ambivalence, I call the sore point of capitalist political mutation. In fact, the cooling of the symbolic welfare state and the dismantling of human otherness in its interdependence on the other, in favor of extreme individualism, has led us to an economic model that not even the most qualified specialists know where it will lead. If one of these populisms becomes hegemonic in the world, the marriage between politics and the economy will be definitively consecrated, and the mutation of capitalism will materialize, with disastrous consequences for society. After all, we have seen the ills arising from this courtship in the last four decades.

In this sense, when I said that the final objective of the commodity (re)producer system (capitalism) escaped the first three thinkers mentioned, it means that it is an active intermediate subject of the ontological transformation of the human being. Indeed, we are no longer talking about the usual capitalism in digital molds, nor even about a techno-feudal archetype of capitalism, but about a transhumanist mutation of the human being.

In fact, if the marriage of politics and economics is consummated, totalitarian populism, no matter what the bias, will provide a small part of the world's population with benefits that we still cannot even imagine. However, unfortunately, these blessings are promised to only a minority of humanity, if Homo Deus de Harari (2016) actually succeeds.[7] This is capital's real mutation and the very source of its anguish: what new Frankenstein (Shelley) will emerge from this marriage? Will it last this time, or will it be even more ephemeral and destructive than its predecessor? Will it fulfill the Promethean guarantees it provided to supersede the common good society?


Martin rees

However, despite so much anguish, it is necessary to acquiesce that grandiose promises are not lacking, even if riddled with distrust and failures. For example, the British astrophysicist and professor, Martin Rees, wrote, at the beginning of this century, a book warning about the dangers of an environmental disaster for the future of humanity.[8] Despite being very important alerts, the book also reveals the belief of this convinced humanist in the almost divine potential of the human race.

Not by chance, right at the end of the book he asks himself: “The broader cosmos has a potential future that could be defined as infinite. But will these vast expanses of time be filled with life, or will they lie empty like the earth's first barren seas? The choice may depend on us, in this century” (p. 205). In this perspective, if life does not become extinct on planet Earth, especially by human action, Martin Rees seems to corroborate the idea that human beings can (and should) make every possible effort to colonize space.

But this understanding is essentially ambiguous, not to say contradictory, because, as he himself writes in the book, the cost of this galactic exploration for the planet, so to speak, could also be fatal for life on Earth. In fact, a simple miscalculation, if the human being obtains enough knowledge for such an undertaking, can simply explode the terrestrial globe.

It is not surprising, therefore, that anguished capitalism is clinging to what it has always seen as its lifeline, at times of crossroads: war. As the scenario that Martin Rees described still seems quite distant, big capital is left with a warlike conflict of great proportions to try to get out of the “nose snooker” that the digital mutation has been causing in everyone's daily life. This without forgetting the possibility of this mutation escaping capital's control, which seems, indeed, to be confirmed.

 Jürgen Habermas

That's why the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas is so desperate in a recent article about the war in Eastern Europe.[9] By accepting the alternative of tolerable compromises, Jürgen Habermas seems to foresee the specter that haunted the two previous world wars, where the sleepwalking of the main actors of that time almost led the world to collapse. Despite his total condemnation of the horrors of this conflict, Jürgen Habermas is pragmatic enough to understand that there will be no winners and losers. So he pleads for an end to the war, even if that means, as he puts it, "saving both sides' skins."

Despite the commendable attitude of Jürgen Habermas, he left aside precisely the fundamental point of this conflict that we are clarifying: the mutation of capital. In addition to the predominance of forces among nations, something very obvious, there is the ability of the winner to manage technological advancement according to his interest. In this sense, it is no longer a matter of how many markets capitalism will continue to explore or develop, nor the new ones that it may add.


Julian Huxley

How the new ultraliberal digital creature (Frankenstein) killed its creator, just as the former Frankenstein (industrial capitalism) killed its former creator, namely mercantilism, from monsters to monsters, the system of expropriation and appropriation of big capital The international community seems to have arrived at the crossroads of a new dawn, of a type of transhumanism that began way back with the first steam engines. In fact, with several decades of delay, the totalitarian capitalism of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley has been ruling since the beginning of the XNUMXst century, but with a guise more similar to that presented by the Altered Carbon series.

It is more a joint mutation between machine/market and human that will only succeed if, in fact, the human animal manages to escape from its terrestrial cocoon. For, as Rees rightly pointed out, the earth's resources will be almost exhausted when (and if) we achieve this feat. What will remain for the unfortunate ones who stay here, relegated to mere survivors in a world without pulsating life, could be a kind of zombie apocalypse, as in The Walking Dead series.

By incessantly looking for alternatives to increase human intellectual, physical and psychological capacities, to overcome their fundamental limitations and to impel the eradication suffering from illness and gaining immunity to the effects of time (such as aging and death), and the ability to transform into different beings with highly expanded abilities from the natural condition, this only conscious animal (until proven otherwise) has used the powerful forces of the market, albeit mostly unconsciously, to transcend To yourself.

As the biologist Julián Huxley, considered the founder of transhumanism, indicated: “Until now, human life has generally been, as Hobbes described it, “unpleasant, brutish and short”; the vast majority of human beings (if they haven't already died young) are stricken with misery... we can justifiably hold to the belief that these lands of possibility exist, and that the current limitations and miserable frustrations of our existence can be, in largely overcome. The surpassed human species can, if it so desires, transcend itself – not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity.”[10]

Even so, while this marriage between politics and the market does not concretely result in the “Big Brother” world Orwellian, we have one hope left. Personally, I am part of the pessimistic group that understands that we have already exceeded the return limit for a sustainable life on our planet. Indeed, there is no lack of evidence “popping up” in serious articles by intellectuals in this regard. But I also do not agree with the defeatist thesis of a minority that has already given up without a fight. If there is no other reason, this thesis is very useful for holders of large digital capital in the consummation of the final project of abandoning what remains in these parts.

At this point, capital's real anguish lies in what conditions it will reach at the end of this mutation. If it manages to maintain an army of alienated zombies sufficient to consume terrestrial resources – either more quickly in times of war, or more rhythmically in times of pure spectacle – without interrupting the chains of transformation of the human being in the closest stage possible of “homo deus”, then capitalism will have realized the man-machine prophecy way back behind Marx.

If it fails to maintain a minimally structured society (increasingly more ferocious) divided into very antagonistic classes, regarding the final result of this expropriation and appropriation of capital, however homogeneous in its alienation from the instantaneous pleasure of producing and consuming disposable goods, then the system ( re)producer of infinite goods runs the risk of, so to speak, reaching a free-for-all, a save-the-who-can, which would jeopardize the intergalactic life project of those who really matter to him: the owners of the power.

Just as a virus mutates to survive longer in the host's body, and provide more life for it to continue its genetic updates in search of a balance that guarantees its permanence in nature (recently see COVID-19 with its innumerable mutations), big capital has undertaken recurrent mutations in its way of surviving in the human host. Despite the balance never being reached, just as in nature the viral balance is very tenuous, it survived the bumps of wars, revolutions and, why not, peaceful times. But capitalist angst suggests, as does COVID-19, that the train carrying the human adventure on earth may be derailing. It is not possible to be sure of anything yet.

* André Márcio Neves Soares is a doctoral candidate in social policies and citizenship at the Catholic University of Salvador (UCSAL).





[3]ágs. 187 e 188;



[6] BROWN, Wendy. In the Ruins of Neoliberalism. São Paulo. Publisher Politeia. 2019;

[7] HARARI, Yuval Noah. Homo deus: A brief history of tomorrow. São Paulo. Companhia das Letras, 2016;

[8] REES, Martin. End time. Environmental disaster threatens the future of humanity. São Paulo. Company of Letters. 2005.


[10] Huxley, Julian (1957). “Transhumanism”, June 25, 2016, Wayback Machine. Retrieved February 24, 2006;

*André Márcio Neves Soares is a doctoral candidate in Social Policies and Citizenship at the Catholic University of Salvador – UCSAL.

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  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich