From: schumacher.2@xxxxxxx (Thomas Schumacher)
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 14:30:10 -0400 (EDT)
>"We define social formations by machinic processes and not by modes of
>production (these on the contrary depend on the processes) ... But
>precisely because these processes are variables of coexistence that are
>the object of a social topology, the various corresponding formations
>are coexistent." ATP 435 - one of my favourite ATP quotes at the
>Which means that capitalism, like the other social formations is a
>machinic process(es) not a mode of production. Primitive forms ward off
>the State, State forms ward off capitalism, nomadic forms evade/destroy
This is a very interesting point, but it seems that you are reading their
reworking of marxism (now using a language of machines rather than m.o.p.)
as if they are saying that there is no "economy" or "production" at all.
There is social production which is desiring production under particular,
historical conditions. Sure, this presupposes the process of desire, but
it does not stop them from describing the particularity of the capitalist
abstract machine. The move to talk about "social formations" rather than
"modes of production" is a way of distancing themselves from economism (a
la Althusser, it seems), but they're not saying that there is no more
economic production or that one cannot do economic analysis (cf.
>There is no such thing as over-production - either relative or absolute.
>Over-production is a concept which requires an idea, however theoretical
>or abstract (but not yet abstract enought), that there is a fixable,
>definable quantity of demand. A fixable, definable quantity of lack in
>other words. A "natural" lack, a "natural" need that is pre-existant and
>the moment more than that is produced then there is a crisis of
>But consumption is always a matter of the production of consumption.
>Demand is always a matter of the production of demand.
I'm not sure that the concept of overproduction presupposes lack or a
natural demand. Of course, demand is produced (this was Marx's point,
after all) -- advertising is a way of doing this -- but anyone can see
examples of the process not working (see under "Unemployment"). The
problem is that this line of argument seems to miss the distinction between
the schizo and the paranoid pole of production (including the production of
consumption), between the molecular and the molar (in A-O). Your position
sounds very close to Lyotard's in Libidinal Economy where he is valorizing
demand, consumption, and exchange (the market) because it feels good and
look at all the neat stuff we get to play with and you know there's no
transcendental position from which to say it's not fun so there. He also
distances himself from D&G and their Nietzschean/Spinozist ethics/politics.
Lyotard noticed that D&G do not accept all production and consumption of
goods as schizo (which is why G. later said he went to the "postmodern dead
end"). Deleuze's ontology is selective, and I think their understanding of
desiring production is, too.
>Anti-production - I understand this in Bataille=EDs sense of
>non-productive expenditure (although I=EDm still thinking this through,
>particularly in terms of the BwO which they write is "the
>anti-productve") but I don=EDt really see how advertising whose function
>is the producion of need could be seen as "unproductive expenditure" it
>seems to have a definite utility; nor arms production - so long as it is
>profitable for the companies that make them (and there aren=EDt that many
>arms firms going bankrupt). Is anti-production to be seen only in firms
>that fail to make a profit? Firms go bankrupt other firms take over -
>the machine only works by breaking down ... Does this sound right?
I'm not altogether sure about this, but isn't one of the features of the
molar machines that they try to *not* break down? Hence all the stuff
about displacing and moving their limits? Social machines aren't breaking
down, aren't anti-productive in the same ways as desiring machines (hence
the threat of the nomads, right?). Capital stockpiles wool, and if that
ain't enough, they'll start a war, or colonize Africa, or go into space, or
put advertisements on fruit in the grocery store. Anything for a little
expenditure! But these ways of keeping the process moving require that
desire be machined in ways that make it molar, becoming-paranoid,
becoming-computer-geek. Spend, spend, spend -- because the ads tell you to
(Oh, so that's what I wanted!). Capitalism still has its repressing
representations. They may not be in the family, they may not be on the
analysts couch, they're on tv or in magazines. I'm not putting this in the
most precise terms, but my recollection is that the anti-production of the
molar machines under the capitalist social formation (nee mode of
production) is not nomadic or a threat to the survival of capital.
>Could you expand some more on the idea of waves, cycles and the Eternal
>Return. I must admit to have never understood the Eturnal Return - and
>to have lived and worked happily without understanding!
I'm not sure how much I'd be able to back up the claim that business cycles
are the cycles of the return -- my point was just to say that talking about
cycles is not anathema to Deleuze. For Deleuze's take on the return, I'd
look at his Nietzsche & Philosophy, esp. pp. 24-29, 46-52. The last
chapter of that book is also important for getting at how D&G are able to
distinguish between the molar and the molecular in A-O, between productive
and unproductive expenditures.