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Populist symptoms and the curse of the capitalist fetish

Vighi, Fabio ORCID: 2019. Populist symptoms and the curse of the capitalist fetish. Third Text 32 (5-6) , pp. 674-681. 10.1080/09528822.2018.1558652

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The article begins with a brief discussion of the 2018 Italian elections, which resulted in institutional crisis first, and immediately after in the formation of a populist government. From there, it tackles the global rise of contemporary populism as a symptom of our post-political unwillingness, or inability, to confront the fetishistic core of the capitalist valorisation dynamic, which has long encountered its historical limit and is currently languishing in a state of terminal crisis. The article argues that at the heart of our populist predicament there lies the progressive evaporation of the value-form (economic value originating in living labour), the matrix of all values within capitalist modernity. While discussing the ongoing impact of technological automation on the creation of economic value, and capital’s resulting escape into the financial markets, the article contends that capitalist societies are effectively digging their own grave. If populism is a symptom of this self-destructive condition, what remains to be probed is the role the left in confronting ubiquitous automation and the reinvention of its old ambition to socialize the means of production.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0952-8822
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 08:23

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