Aleksander Buzgalin
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Andrey Kolganov
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The totalitarian market
Networks and simulacra
in Twenty-first-century capital
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In this chapter, analysis of the literature and data provides the main argument validating the authors’ conclusion that the market has not only become global, but also has become a totalitarian force that is no longer a ‘socially neutral mechanism of coordination’. The market is now a product of the hegemony of corporate capital, featuring the intensive and extensive growth of new types of commodity – information, simulacra, and so forth. The authors demonstrate the new qualities acquired by value, use value, prices, and commodity fetishism within this new market, while exploring the contradictions of new non-limited resources (such as knowledge) and the commodity form of their existence.

The authors indicate what is changed in the isolation of the producers, in the division of labour, and in its content, while showing how this leads to partial qualitative transformations of the market. The latter is transformed, gradually and nonlinearly but steadily, into a total market of networks. This market of networks (1) is locally controlled and regulated by the competing large corporate structures that manipulate most of the actors of this market; (2) covers all (and not only the economic) spheres of human life; and (3) involves the production not merely of goods but of their brands, ‘multiplying the falsehood of the forms generated by commodity fetishism’. An important outcome of our work, we believe, is that it reveals the political-economic nature of commodity-simulacra: their value and use value, prices, and the mechanisms through which their fetishisation is multiplied.

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Twenty-first-century capital

Critical post-Soviet Marxist reflections


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