Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Now we see the violence inherent in the system

It has been said (often by me) that one of the critical moral flaws of capitalism is that it results in the creation of money for the sake of money. Capital allows us to store up the surplus labour from one enterprise and then use it on another. This is a good feature of capital and one that is not to be underestimated. Such a general equivalent means that we can combine the efforts of a group for some shared goal.

However, when there is no shared goal, the system is then turned back on itself so that money is used to make money, and not to benefit the people who helped make it in the first place. Rather than using the billions of dollars in profit earned around the world to fund schools, hospitals or research into clean energy, it is used to make more money. This loop of money only to make more money is the evil side of capitalism and it has some nasty side effects.

Take, for example, the recent “ambush fashion parade” in Sydney.
As Australian Fashion Week continued in Sydney today, security guards stepped in to physically stop a so-called ambush fashion parade outside the fashion week headquarters.

The fashion parade exists to promote the designer so that people will buy from that designer, not because the clothes are good, but because the designer is famous. However, it is not enough that this designer is promoted by the merit of the quality of clothes that have been designed. The competing designers must be removed from public awareness. In this case, private security guards were employed to ensure that the competition was silenced.

In what manner is this different from someone setting fire to a competitor’s shop? Violence, physical force, has been used to ensure that one fashion designer may continue to advertise in their sanctioned space whereas another is removed from the adjacent space. This is the result of capitalism without direction. The pursuit of money for the sake of money has resulted in violence that has been legitimised by that pursuit of money.

It must also be said that the competing designer also employed a kind of violence. It was an interruption to a planned event. The ambush was launched with the specific intent to create a break in the normal operation of the space. Again, for the sake of promoting the business, a physical act, a kind of violence has been employed.

Money for the sake of money. It’s not about art, it’s about money. Now do you see the violence inherent in the system?

Of course, Zizek would probably have said that the violence took place because they wanted to destroy what contained an even greater beauty in order to possess that beauty, but I'll leave that to him.

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