Measure, machine, money


22 Jun , 2020  

The aim of the text is to clarify why machines are economically productive only in capitalism and therefore in our society are capitalistic machines. They are capitalist not only because they increase the productive power of the capitalist valorisation, but this valorisation first of all is producing these machines, or at least it produces their productivity and hence ‘the machinic’ of machines. To understand this production of the machinic, we must understand them, as, for example, Heidegger, Simondon or Deleuze and Guattari have shown, from their context: from their non-technical essence, from their connection with other machines and from the social essence of the machinic. But in this context, first of all and in the last instance, we have to understand with Marx their entanglement with the capitalist valorisation. This can be shown for three different types of machines:
the physical machine, the calculation machine and the social machine: money. What all three have in common and almost defines them as machines is that all three naturalise relations by quantifying them. The classical physical machine quantifies the relation of nature, the calculation machine quantifies information and meaning, and the money machine quantifies the relations of our society. I will concentrate on the physical and the money machine only. The technique to quantify is for both the same: measurement. This quantification and naturalisation by measurement is why both are – although or especially because they are opposed types of machines – interfaces to the capitalist valorisation process, and in this functioning as interfaces, we have to search their non-technical essence.

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