Human Material in the Communication of Capital

The purpose of this article is to interrogate Marx’s analysis of the circulation of capital through the ‘new materialist’ communications and media theory of Friedrich Kittler. It explores the connections between Marx’s commodity fetish and how Kittler posits human beings as components of an information systemalongside technologies and institutions. Te article ask whether a ‘non-human’ Marxist theory is possible, i.e. if it is possible to remove the human being from its privileged position in Marx’s political economy. Specially the paper argues that human beings are programmable human matter that serves to aid thecommunication of value through capital’s circuit. This stance necessitates adopting the point of view of capital and the fetish, bracketing the social and moving away from categories such as labour, production and classconsciousness in favour of the value form, circulation and programmability.

Capital as a concept is thus the unity-in-process of the stages and particular forms;if this unity is not maintained capital is negated and devalued. Capital is thus perpetually becoming. Movement is life; stasis is death, and ideally capital circulates as it does in the mind, at the absolute velocity of speed of thought or light. Capital is a material process, however. When capital assumes an economicform, it must also “invest itself in matter, something that may in fact be resistant to it.” Capital’s movement (its communication) depends on the economic and material form that it assumes, and transmission is always faster than transportation.

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