Capitalism and the state: A new materialist perspective

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This article considers how the relational, post-anthropocentric and monist ontology of the new materialisms can inform a theory of the contemporary capitalist state, and how this perspective offers a distinctive resolution of some of the negative consequences of a capitalist mode of production. It summarises Deleuze and Guattari’s analysis of capitalism as an international/ecumenical social formation, founded upon a ‘capitalist axiomatic’: namely, the free flows of capital and labour required for the everyday workings of the capitalist market. The state is a material realisation of this capitalist axiomatic. The article then undertakes a more-than-human analysis of capitalist production and markets, supply and demand, in terms of affects and assemblages. The article invokes the metaphor of a ‘black hole’ to suggest that capitalism is not merely exploitative of workers, but a formation from which neither worker nor entrepreneur can escape once a participant. Furthermore, it is these more-than-human affects that produce undesirable consequences including uncertainty, waste and social inequalities. This second analysis further refines a monist understanding of the capitalist state and suggests immediate measures to counter the unintended consequences of a market economy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Theory
Early online date3 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Nov 2023

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