Review Winston’s Problem and Our Own – why might we be eager to identify the agent of social and historical emancipation? – in what world would that agent have been formed? – in what world would we (who recognize that agent) have been formed?
Review The Subject-Object of History –Aristotle (Hegel/Marx): free thought and action are predicated on substantive freedom –I Kant (Lenin/Lukács): freedom is transcendental and needs to be objectified/historicised
Review Winston’s Problem and Our Own –What is the cause for Winston’s despair? –How does Winston solve the subject- object problem? –How might Winston have solved the subject-object problem?
Review Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room –What is Mark-to-Market Accounting? –What mechanisms mediate social relations in Enron’s world? –What mechanisms mediate social relations following the largest bankruptcy in world history?
Preview Directional Dynamism in History –Long-Term Cycles –Short-Term Cycles –The Post-War Epoch and Our Pessimism
Preview Endgame –The characters –The story –What does it mean? –What might it mean?
Preview Walmart: the high cost of low prices
Directional Dynamism Long-Term Cycles
Directional Dynamism Short-Term Cycles
Directional Dynamism What happens when the piston in a combustion engine seizes? What happens in history when the tension between forces and relations of production disappears?
Directional Dynamism Resistence or opposition does not give rise to determinate directional movement
Endgame Who are the characters? - Ham - Clov - Nagg - Nell
Endgame What happens in the story?
Endgame What does it mean?
Endgame Let us say that victory in WWII was purchased at an inconceivably high price in personnel, material, and surviving infrastructure But let us say that one power emerges almost unscathed, enjoying unprecedented wealth and productive capacity But let us say that there is no one left to benefit from this wealth and productivity
Endgame If WWI and WWII were products of shifts in cycles of capital accumulation What might have been “the solution” to these cycles and the resulting wars? Were these solutions anywhere on the horizon in the 1960s?
Endgame Did the “failure of reason” to address the causes for mass death prevent these causes from expanding? Did either our pessimism or continuing war and conflict cause the “engine of history” to “seize”? Did it bring the dialectical dynamic of history to a stop?
Endgame Even in the absence of a subject-object, an Agent, to drive history, history is nevertheless unfolding Even in the absence of an emancipatory agent or subject, history continues to proceed forward Where is it going? Who is driving it? To what end?
Endgame Let us say that we can recognize the pattern of history Let us say that we can also recognize the limited character of this pattern And let us say that we can therefore appreciate why our “endgame” is not THE ENDGAME
Endgame Is there a way out? Is there a way through?
Endgame If value is structured in our society by the self-domination of labor... If freedom would entail the conditions that make for freedom... And if freedom would entail the end of labor... Is there a way through?
Endgame What kind of “freedom” did Cold War artists, writers, and intellectuals foreground? In what ways did this foregrounding of “empty” or “negative” freedom promote repression in the “West”?
Endgame If freedom entails the reduction of labor and the conditions that make for freedom, what does this make of... ? - race - ethnicity - nationality - religion - gender - gender preference
Preview Walmart: the high cost of low prices Office Hours: MW, 10-Noon, Urban Open University, M 1-4, American Corner: Karl Marx in America