Saturday, 7 March 2009

A Haunting Picture

The Financial Times reported that cargo ships are being used as the storage place for new cars because: i) cars are piling up due to lack of demand; and ii) ships are idle due to lack of cargo. Two machines, expressly made for transporting commodities, are forced into a state of idleness – compound idleness, really, one inside the other.

This is beyond allegorical.

Motion is the form of the existence of the matter. It is also the form of the existence of capital; capital could only be understood as a thing in motion. A cargo ship is capital but only by virtue, and in consequence, of its capacity to move. A new car is also capital to the company that produced it. But for the profit to be realized, it must be sold. Unsold cars in idle cargo ships is capital laid to waste through and through. In a Capitalist system that functions on the basis of employment of capital, that is the picture of death on a grand scale, which is why a picture of idles ship is haunting. It is the out-of-ordinariness of a “walking, loitering, hurried” market in the age of destruction.

Palan-doozan who know nothing about these matters pressure the banks to lend. Banks do not need pressure to lend. They are in business for that very purpose. But there is no place for the capital to go, thanks to the destruction of its employment opportunities by speculative capital. Speculative capital moves in and withdraws rapidly, which means that it also destroys rapidly. Hence the suddenness of the current collapse and the unprecedented pace of the job losses.