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Thursday, January 31, 2008

 

more on baudrillard's market


kevin depew adds to his brilliant earlier commentary on the gradual degeneracy of the marketplace into hyperreality -- and the advent of what may be the inflection point in a long social and psychological cycle, the beginning of a revolt against unreality.

The bottom line is this is all part of a readjustment that has profound consequences for society. What does a revolt against the displacement of the "real" entail? From a consumption standpoint it suggests a shift in focus, a change in patterns of accumulation and the valuation of material objects.

The proliferation of images, reproductions, the sheer volume and excess of signs, of choices, is itself deflationary, and this secular pattern is evident in everything from clothing and textiles to automobiles, home furnishings, technology and media. This is the structural deflationary paradox where the excess of signs and choices, an inflation of everything, literally, actually creates the conditions for imposing limitations and regulations upon the chaos of apparent freedom.

Deflation is simply the market's attempt to unwind and dismantle the confiscatory dominance of the inflationary regime. Inflation in the purest economic sense confiscates money, purchasing power, control. In the philosophical and social sense, however, inflation confiscates something else that will increasingly be valued above all other concepts or materials: Time.


if we have reached as a society and a marketplace the terminus of baudrillard's progression of the image -- where the image has moved from reflecting reality to disguising reality to masking the lack of a reality to (finally) bearing no relation to any reality, becoming an image without a model -- where the precession of the simulacra has gone through the eras of the original, the counterfeit, the mechanical copy and entered into the third order of simulacra ('hyperreality') where the copy becomes the new original and idealized fantasy is indistinguishable from reality -- what remains?

confusion and apathy -- the hallmarks of postmodernity -- and of course irresponsibility and disintegration. this is what makes the fear of the banking system that "homeowners" (a term of simulation itself steeped in unreality) will simply ignore the contractual obligations which they never truly understood in the first place and do not care enough to try to meet. as depew hints, for these people the concept of "home" is being unmasked as an image without a model, a simulacra signifying neither security nor safety nor sentimentality -- these precepts of the original (now lost in time and space) which reflected a (now vanished) reality are vaporous and illusory -- the referent is dead.

baudrillard posited no action and no remediation from this point. indeed, there may not be any.

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