Young and Keil 2009

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Architecture and transport in the service of commerce reduces life to an artless repetition of capitalism calculation


The restructuring of the entire urban space and surrounding landscape thus corresponds to the need to rationalize the total organization of the urban machine:on this scale, technological structures and transportation systems must constitute a unitary image. Le Corbusier to uses the technique of schock: the “objects a reaction politique, however are now connected with one another within a dialectical, organic whole. Corbusier used the secondary effect the indirect stimulus. In his lowest level the cell the goal was to gain maximum flexibility, interchangeability, and possibility of rapid use. Freedom was important in his designs also in the production Le Corbusier worked like an intellectual in the strict sense he did not become associated with local government powers. And he also worked just the opposite way of the Weimer intellectuals, from the specific and particular to the general and universal. His models have all the characteristics of laboratory experiments, and in no case a laboratory model can be translated wholly into reality. But the failure of Algiers and Corbusier in general cannot be understood when seen in the context of the international crisis of modern architecture. Capitalist Development Confronts Ideology: Modern historians put the blame of the crisis of modernism on Fascism and Stalinism. Although, the initial hypothesis of Tafuri is that ideology of the plan is swept away by the reality of the plan the moment the plan came down from the utopian level and became an operant mechanism. Art was called to give the city a superstructural face by trying to dissimulate the contradictions of the contemporary city, resolving them in polyvalent images, figuratively glorifying the formal complexity. Art that refuses to place itself in the vanguard of the cycles of production, demonstrates well beyond all verbal challenges, that the consumption process extends to infinity, and that even rubbish, when sublimated into useless or nihilistic objects can assume a new use value, thus reentering, if only by the back door , the cycle of production and consumption. Yet this rear guard is also the indication of the capitalist plan’s refusal­perhaps only temporary­to fully resolve the contradictions of the city and transform the city into totally organized machine without archaic forms of waste or generalized dysfunctions. In such a phase as this, one must act to convince the public that the contradictions, imbalances, and chaos typical of the contemporary city are inevitable­that such chaos in itself, in fact, contains unexplored riches, unlimited possibilities o be turned to account, bright and shining values to be presented as new social fetishes. critique of art and architecture" Marcusian mythology is used to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve a vaguely defined collective freedom within the current relations of production, and not through their subversion. With the reassertion of art’s role as a mediator one may again assign in the naturalistic attributes that enlightment culture had given it. The destiny of the capitalist society with its order and disorder is not at all extraneous to the project. The ideology of the project is essential to the integration of modern capitalism, with all its structures and super structures, into human existence, as is the illusion of being able to oppose that project with the tools of a different project or with those with a radical anti­ project. It may even be that many marginal and rearguard roles exist for architecture and planning. Of primary interest to us, however, is the question of why, until now Marxist oriented culture has denied or concealed the simple truth that, just as there can be no such thing as a political economics of class, but only a class critique of political economics, likewise there can never be an aesthetics, art or architecture of class, but only a class critique of aesthetic, art, architecture and the city


Capitalism guarantees economic collapse—mature capitalism doesn’t guarantee adequate private investement guaranteeing increasing recessions and sub-par growth

Beitel, currently conducting research for Service Employees International Union, May 2008

[Karl, The Subprime Debacle, Monthly Review Vol 60 Iss 1, Proquest]

A financial crisis in a capitalist system is often seen as serving to bring an ultimately unsustainable credit expansion to a halt when it has run too far in advance of the rate of accumulation. By forcing lenders to write off the value of these nonredeemable loans from their balance sheets, crisis places a periodic "check" on the inherent propensity toward the excessive creation of credit. Once nonperforming loans have been charged off and cleared from the bank's portfolio and losses written off, the stage is set for a renewed cycle of credit-fueled reflation, provided, of course, that the distress does not erupt into a full-scale financial meltdown. The role of the central bank is to balance the need to contain euphoric bouts of speculative excess once the credit expansion threatens to push asset prices to unsustainable levels (typically by raising the interbank loan rate), while standing ready to provide liquidity and fulfill its function as the lender of last resort in the event that a looming repayment crisis threatens to cut off the supply of credit if banks panic and start hoarding funds. If the Fed can balance these two functions, the result is an oscillating pattern of (semi)-controlled deflations and reflations of the credit structure over the course of the business cycle. While debt deflations are always full of unwelcome and nasty surprises, several factors are currently at work that will in all likelihood prevent the subprime debacle from turning into a full-scale financial meltdown. Most notably, balance sheets of nonfinancial corporations are in a generally strong condition. Because firms have used strong internal cash flows to lower their debt-equity ratios as opposed to increasing investments in physical capital, they are presently less directly exposed to shifting conditions in the financial markets. Given the generally strong profit position in the nonfinancial corporate sector the U.S. monetary authorities will probably find a way to muddle through the present crisis. Despite this fact, economic activity will slow, and a recession, followed by a protracted period of subpar growth, looks likely.21 As has been noted many times in these pages, in a capitalist system characterized by industrial maturity and markets dominated by large oligopolistic corporations, there are no endogenous mechanisms that insure that capitalists will collectively invest at a level required to keep the system humming along at anywhere near full capacity. This points to one of the system's most fundamental, and ultimately irreconcilable, contradictions: mature capitalism has no endogenous means to guarantee an adequate level of private investment, yet by the same token it cannot tolerate any rise in wages that would erode the profits of the owning class. This has left the system dependent upon debt-fueled consumption. The internal contradiction shows up in the form of subpar growth and economic stagnation, or credit-driven booms and bubbles followed by crisis once the expansion of financial claims on earnings collides with the realities of wage stagnation for the majority of the U.S. working class. While debt-fueled bubbles provide a temporary solution to problems of overaccumulation, they cannot be assumed to do so forever. The ability of households to continue to increase their debt loads at anywhere near the rate observed over the last two decades appears tapped out at present. This implies limits are being reached in the ability of debt-financed household spending to serve as a panacea for stagnation. Restoring a higher rate of accumulation will thus require the emergence of a new dynamic technology or growth sector able to absorb massive sums of capital investment and reignite the engines of long-term growth and accumulation. Absent this, the system looks poised to enter into a period of protracted stagnation. The wild card in the current conjuncture is the fact that the subprime debacle is unfolding in an international context characterized by a deepening crisis of confidence in the dollar. Recent booms in U.S. consumer spending have driven a steady increase in the U.S. trade deficit, currently at just under 5 percent of GDP. The United States has been able to sustain recent debt-fueled consumer spending booms despite this burgeoning trade deficit in large part because of foreigners' willingness to use their surplus dollar reserves to purchase dollar-denominated financial assets, particularly U.S. government debt that still serves as the "gold standard" of international finance. Capital inflows from abroad have similarly provided the means through which the United States has financed its massive and growing fiscal deficits. While the dollar's position as the world's preeminent international reserve currency appears secure at present, the Federal Reserve's ability to reflate the U.S. economy through periodic injections of cheap credit could at some point encounter an external financing constraint should foreigners become less willing to buy and hold U.S. government debt. Concerns are emerging in many foreign quarters over the ongoing loss of the value of their dollar-denominated financial holdings. Any longer-term move away from the dollar through a sell-off of U.S. Treasury debt would put pressure on U.S. interest rates and limit the policy options available to the Fed. How these events will ultimately play out is impossible to predict. What is certain, however, is that other crises await, and the ability of the central bank indefinitely to defer the underlying problem of overaccumulation is far from guaranteed.

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