Devin Shaw on Stiegler’s Critique of Political Economy

He has a review on Symposium‘s web site (and to be published in its pages). Here’s his conclusion:

Stiegler is emblematic of a conservative French republicanism masquerading as radical theory: political questions, on his account, are subordinated to technological questions, and reformism replaces popular struggle. In sum, for Stiegler, the system carries risks, but these can be corrected if we just care enough, that is, if we create the proper institutions to handle our investments, libidinal and otherwise. When Stiegler argues that “new apparatuses of production of libidinal energy must be conceived and instituted” his examples are, embarrassingly enough, “the ecclesiastical institution and its care-ful [curieux] inhabitant, the curé [and] the school and its master, the teacher.” (108) If this is a new critique of political economy, then long live the ‘old’ critique! Combating capitalism today requires analysing how neoliberalism is a project of re-entrenching capitalist class power, as well as conceptualising how the techniques of this project (expropriation, privatisation, financialisation, accumulation by dispossession, and the uneven deployment of production across the global north and south) serve to reinforce that goal. For this task, there are more tools in Marx’s contributions than in Stiegler’s.

Re: Stiegler, Devin and I seem to be in a battle to see who can introduce the most philosophically appropriate snark about Stiegler’s epochal claims and republican solutions. I give this round to Devin, though I thing I deserve points for going point by point through Stiegler’s empirical claims and showing them false.

(Also, I would think Devin would question some of the Marxian categories he introduces–the task of some of his current work–but I think he’s brings them up not to say Stiegler is wrong because he’s fallen afoul of doctrinaire Marxism, but simply that if you’re going to critique Marx, you better get him right.)

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