The Office Complex

The office has become the defining workspace in late modernity. While administration and bureaucracy have been ubiquitous features of all forms of economic activity historically, the central position of the office as the coagulating core of such activity has become especially important in post-industrial landscapes and trade hubs that link an interconnected globe. Coagulation is more than just a metaphor here. The distinct feature of the modern economy is the extent of flows and processes that intersect and define socio-economic activity, from workplace relations to governing structures. The office complex acts as a solidifying feature both architecturally – as office space becomes the prime form of urban building and city administrations clamber to create vast expanses of office parks, skyscrapers and glass facades to house business activity – and economically – as commercial real estate is foundational for city taxation and central for employment growth in economies dominated by the service and administrative sectors[1].

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The Logistical State

“Logistics is the beginning of the economy of war, which will then become simply economy, to the point of replacing political economy”[1]. Logistics, the flow of goods, information and wealth beyond the space of the state and the temporality of the human. Constant movement emerging as an autonomous force that recircuits and undermines spatiotemporal institutions. Sovereignty, as the essence of spatiotemporal configuration through territorial contiguity and temporal-institutional solidity, is revolutionised and fractured into these flows. A duality emerges, concatenating in antagonism sovereign power and logistical flow.

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Down the Warpath: The Ukrainian Front

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has precipitated the re-emergence of Western warmongering after the lull of covid and the American disengagement from Afghanistan. A foreign policy establishment has regrouped out of the chaos of the Trump presidency and into the settled situation of the Biden administration, where an entrenchment of liberal imperialism pushed by figures like Victoria Nuland and Anthony Blinken is on the cards. And Ukraine is the perfect theatre through which to push such imperial ambitions, becoming centre-stage for expanding American energy interests and maintaining the encirclement of Russia (and by extension maintaining a foothold in the Eurasian rimlands).

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The Conservatism of the Left

On describing postcapitalism as an emerging ideological proposition attempting to constitute itself as a force, I noted that “whether basing postcapitalism within the world of information flows or within the developments of automation, an assumptive rationality emerges that suggests a unidirectional travel”[1]. Postcapitalism as a pre-constitutive force aims to transcend the dialectic through the peaceful acquisition of power brought forward by production technologies and the new classes they inhere. It is paradoxical in implementing itself through indeterminacy, that being its strength and its weakness as it can both exploit capitalist dynamics but also be exploited (and expropriated) by them. Such exploitability is evident in the direction postcapitalism attempts to cohere a transformational moment (or series of moments), eschewing violent revolution, democratic arbitrage or shadow sectors in government or civil society in favour of a post-political moment of automation, where the forces of the fourth industrial revolution prove beyond the control of capitalist forces, producing societal contradictions in the form of automation-based mass unemployment and goods abundance on such a scale that the cognitive workers that undergird these systems become the modus operandi for transformation.

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Political Liquidation

Oscillations of political power, the expansion and contraction of sovereign and elite control, define the nature of conflict and cycles of politico-economic activity. Elites will always exist as political power is always in grasp so long as dynamics of status and wealth gains and the consolidation of support bases are possible. “The tendency in both the hard and soft managerial regimes has been for managerial forces to pervade all areas of political, economic, social, and intellectual life”[1]. Such consolidation is the hallmark of any elite structure. It must dominate and control so as prevent subversive elements and sub-elites from marking out their own territory and developing their own powerbases. The circulation of elites as Pareto called it is a consistent game of governance and power. Much of modern political thinking has concerned itself with the transformation and supersession of such conditions, forging a revolutionary moment or a balance of power so as to either destroy or nullify elite power structures.

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The Covid Caste Structure

The cultural narrative that the pandemic has birthed has provided new cleavages for the dissemination of social and political actions. While the underlying class structure and the power of an overarching managerial-capitalist elite remain intact, covid has created new vectors for culture war conflicts and an overlying caste structure delineated by educational attainment, one’s position in administrative hierarchies, and one’s views on current cultural battles.

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Frontierless

All the frontiers have been closed. The expansive homogenisation of modernity and the incipient repetition of postmodernity have turned exits into loops. Closed cycles through which recurrence within set parameters becomes the primary mechanism of social action. Exits, where they do exist, are largely transitory and minimal, providing a small degree of separation from the wider machinations of civilisation. Where alternative ideologies or lifeways do appear, they are quickly colonised and inverted by processes of commodification and reconciliation with the prevailing managerial ideology.

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Big Government Libertarians & Biomedical Tentacles

The libertarian movement “consists of a loose network of libertarian and free-market think-tanks, national ones that include lobbying groups, who gravitate inside the Beltway, and state or regional think-tanks, who necessarily remain in the heartland in body if not alas in spirit. There are now legal organizations that allegedly pursue cases in behalf of liberty and against government tyranny”[1]. As Rothbard notes regarding issues like NAFTA, welfare and taxation, this type of libertarianism became little more than a lobbying arm for big businesses and elements of the government apparatus. Rather than a serious critique of the status quo (the size and scope of government, the capacity to exit, the lobbying power of businesses), it devolves into low tax liberalism that defends established interests. Replacing the income tax with a sales tax or flat tax does nothing to challenge the power of the state, but rather redistributes the tax burden onto a wider range of the working and middle classes. Privatisation usually empowers a cadre of individuals deeply intertwined with the state in the first place rather than introducing market forces into sclerotic bureaucracies.

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Hitting Breaking Point: When Does the Pandemic End?

With the Omicron variant causing farcical panic levels within government and public health responses, and the introduction of lockdowns in Europe and Plan B in the UK[1], the length to which bureaucratic and medical institutions will hold onto the pandemic powers they’ve accrued is extensive. This isn’t so much a slippery slope as a blatant power grab as the “necessity” of emergency powers is extended to all corners of life, irrelevant of the actual health concerns that coronavirus raises. Through a combination of short-term planning and long-term incompetence, as well as a desire to avoid any form of scrutiny, governments and their biomedical authorities across the world are bolstering police powers and emergency legislation to limit rights to civil action and protest, as well as prevent legitimate speech through curtailing “disinformation”.

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The Pandemic Rolls On

The UK HSA data for weeks 46[1] and 47[2] continue to show both the strength of vaccines in limiting hospitalisations and deaths (even though breakthrough cases are increasingly prevalent) and their weakness in failing to prevent case growth. Confirming what I[3] and others have written about before, this data shows both the problems of the prevailing narratives around vaccination and why greater targeting of vaccines should be focused on, rather than the current strategy of vaccinating anyone and everyone.

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