Phil Graham on 12 Sep 2000 18:11:53 -0000

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Re: <nettime> draft article on WTO

This is a very interesting problem that I'd like to spend more time
talking about. Unfortunately I'm trying to leave the country for a week.
What I want to say is in reference to this comment:

At 01:10 PM 12/09/00 +1000, wrote:
>the recent movements against 'Globalisation and
>Corporate Tyranny' - a thoughtless attribution of
>humanity to instruments of capital that are not only
>purely inhuman, but are obviously and explicitly so.
>this unthinking anthropomorphic approach is
>characterised by the common claim that it is "People
>that are working for these corporations at the end of
>the day".  this is true but immaterial.

Fair enough comment. But it is not exactly immaterial. One could also say
the same of society "there is no such thing ..." (Adee and Frisbee I
think), i.e., "it" is just the sum of people living at any one time
defined at law as such -- as an abstraction. But that is clearly an
untenable position. We need to think about the fact that corporations like
societies are living systems, but ones of a different order, existing on
longer time scales than individual people. They have histories longer than
any one person. These metaorganismic living systems inscribe upon the
individuals that constitute them the various discourses that carry them
through social history. Corporate discourses are hybridised by the
discoursal constitution of the very individuals who constitute *them*; the
socio-historical environments in which they (corporations and their
constituents) are embedded; and the other people "outside" the systems who
also define them (if only by not being "in" them). In the end the living
corpses are defined at law as persons and that must be stopped for
precisely those reasons. IG Farben, Bayer, Deutsche Bank, etc etc all of
these, if they were people, would have been stripped of their assets and
jailed for war crimes forever. They continue to exist as corpora --
living, parasitic systems that consume theor constituencies.

There is also the increasingly weird problems of ownership and control ---
the two are not synonymous anymore, especially with the rise of "social
capital" (socially owned businesses -- shareholders etc, not the
neo-fascist meaning of communitarian "social capital" that is currently
being bandied about so vaguely by the new "left" or whatever the hell that
is). This is no longer capitalism anyway. It's something else.

I'd like to say much more but I have to run.

regards and thanks,

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