So here’s a fun parlour game. (NP is best at it :-P). Spot the many different ways in which philosophers attribute to Being the properties of capitalism, or of capital. Here’s a good one, from Heidegger’s A Dialogue on Language:
We say ‘correlation’ also when talking about the supply and demand of commodities. If man is in a hermeneutical relation, however, that means that he is precisely not a commodity. But the word ‘relation’ does want to say that man, in his very being, is in demand, is needed, that he, as the being he is, belongs within a needfulness which claims him.
Doesn’t this demand for man “as the being he is” (and the attentiveness to this demand required for an authentic relation to the two-fold of presence and presence of beings) sound a lot like the capital-labour relation?
“J: Man stands ‘in relation’ then says the same as: Man is really as man when needed and used by…
I: … what calls on man to preserve the two-fold.” [Those aren’t my ellipses – they indicate great minds finishing each others’ sentences.]
“[M]an who by nature stands in relation to, that is, is being used by, the two-fold.”
It is only when man is made into a use-value, when man is used (or used up ) in the relation to Being – that is, when man is used by capital in the relation to and production of capital (or, if you prefer, in the preservation of the two-fold) – it is only in this scenario that man truly is. That which uses man can only be preserved if man maintains his relation to it – capital depends on the capital-labour relation for its reproduction. Therefore it is our ethical duty, above all else, to attend to capital/Being’s demand.
It’s probably not a coincidence that this dialogue between “a Japanese and an Inquirer” also thematises what Heidegger calls “the complete Europeanization of the earth and of man”; the “modern technicalization and industrialisation of every continent.” I ought to say more about this – the way in which Heidegger’s romantic anti-capitalism reinscribes the production of the capital-labour relation within its (manifestly troubling) discourse of authenticity – but I think the parlour-game fragment will do for the moment…