Nick Srnicek: A Review of Platform Capitalism

Nick Srnicek in Platform Capitalism emphasizes capitalism’s dyanamism, its need for innovation and “constant technological change,” along with this he provides a history in “deskilling technologies,” or what many term the dumbing down effect of standardization and conformity within all technics (i.e., the replicability and interchangeability of skilled for unskilled labour or machines).  Modern Corporations and businesses in their bid to “cut costs, beat out competitors, control workers, reduce turnover time, and gain market share, capitalists are incentivised to continually transform the labour process. This was the source of capitalism’s immense dynamism, as capitalists tend to increase labour productivity constantly and to outdo one another in generating profits efficiently.”1

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Nick Srnicek: Toward an Immanent Ontology

“Bring something incomprehensible into the world!”
— Gilles Deleuze (A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia)

Commenting on Charles Taylor’s, The History of Secularization, Nick Srnicek tells us that this “work holds interest to me insofar as he defines religion in terms of a belief in transcendence. The history of secularization, therefore, is the story of the emergence of immanence over time.”[1] Now Srnicek is a bonafide member of that new breed of thinker who questions the humanistic post-Kantian traditions in political, religious, secular, and philosophical thought as it pertains to our grasp of the Real, which has emerged under the – not so tranquil – umbrella of speculative realism. In his Master’s Thesis, Assemblage Theory, Complexity and Contentious Politics, which he has published freely on his blog, The Accursed Share he follows a trajectory set out by the philosophical and political writings of  Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. His main thesis is based upon Deleuze’s concept of assemblages as “particularly powerful ways to conceptualize the complexity, dynamism and differences that are inherent to the political world” (ibid.).

He quotes Deleuze who defines assemblages as a text that produces real material effects, rather than solely transmitting information:

An assemblage, in its multiplicity, necessarily acts on semiotic flows, material flows, and social flows simultaneously (independently of any recapitulation that may be made of it in a scientific or theoretical corpus). There is no longer a tripartite division between a field of reality (the world) and a field of representation (the book) and a field of subjectivity (the author). Rather, an assemblage establishes connections between certain multiplicities drawn from each of these orders, so that a book has no sequel nor the world as its object nor one or several authors as its subject. In short, we think that one cannot write sufficiently in the name of an outside. The outside has no image, no signification, no subjectivity. The book as assemblage with the outside, against the book as image of the world.

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