on creatively destructing

Rethinking Marxism 26 (4):581-591 (2014)
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Capitalism—as Marx has shown and Schumpeter has reminded us—has always promoted creative destruction practices. What in fact helps capitalism survive is the constant renewal of its products, modes of production, and needs through its own self-destructiveness. Capitalist destruction is a clearing out, a maneuver, a revaluation, and the presupposition for creation, all at once. It is a unification, the embracing of multiple and seemingly incompatible activities whose common component mainly consists in positivity: in their ability to reverse, to beautify destruction and its products. Capitalism's destructiveness gains its “literal meaning” in real space—interestingly involving biological metaphors into its analysis. It then presents itself as regeneration, as a natural, organic condition, and—in its purest manifestation—as life itself. At the antipode of capitalist creative destructions stands yet again a destructive practice, negatively charged and described by an allegoric, historic, frightening name:“vandalism.”

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Konstantina Kalfa
National Technical University of Athens


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