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Communist capitalism – Giorgio Agamben

The capitalism that is consolidating on a planetary scale is not capitalism in the form it took in the West: it is, rather, capitalism in its communist variant, which combined an extremely rapid development of production with a totalitarian political regime.

This is the historical significance of the leading role that China is assuming not only in the economy in the strict sense, but also, as the political use of the pandemic has eloquently shown, as a paradigm of human governance.

That the regimes established in the self-styled communist countries were a particular form of capitalism, especially suited to economically backward countries and classified for this as state capitalism, was perfectly known to those who can read history; it was quite unexpected, however, that this form of capitalism, which seemed to have exhausted its task and therefore obsolete, was destined to become, in a technologically updated configuration, the dominant principle in the current phase of globalized capitalism.

It is possible, in fact, that we are today witnessing a conflict between Western capitalism, which coexisted with the rule of law and bourgeois democracies, and the new communist capitalism, from which the latter seems to emerge victorious.

What is certain, however, is that the new system will unite in itself the most inhuman aspect of capitalism with the most atrocious one of statist communism, combining the extreme alienation of relations between men with unprecedented social control.

December 15, 2020

Source: Giorgio Agamben – Quodlibet