The Sublime Perversion of Capital: Marxist Theory and the Politics of History in Modern Japan
The Continent of History and the Theoretical Inside
The analysis undertaken by Uno Kōzō on the question of the (im)possibility or “nihil of reason” (muri) characterizing the commodification of labor power operates as a theoretical pivot that exposes two exteriorities, two suspensions. On the one hand this moment discloses the theoretical physics of contamination between the logic of capital as a putatively closed circle and the history of capitalism as a developmental process. On the other hand the fact that this (im)possibility is always “passing through” or “traversing” the gap of logic and history reveals another exteriority in the form of the apparatuses that allow or permit this “traversal,” a suspension that ruptures the apparently smooth cycle of exchange. The leap or inversion-reversal of capital past its developmental boundaries, and the leap of the commodity into the form of money within exchange, are two moments that are coextensive on a planar surface, implied or interlocking within each other. What seals together these moments is the volatile and hazardous undercurrent of capitalist dynamics that operates under the name of “the agrarian question.” In turn, this historical pivot leads us back into the unstable logical core of capital. Placing Uno’s theoretical innovations into divergent lexical and genealogical sequences, I attempt to reread and rewrite his theoretical work as a critique of political economy by means of the dynamics that inhere in this (im)possibility.