The axioms of capitalism are obviously not theoretical propositions, or ideological formulas, but operative statements that constitute the semiological form of Capital and that enter as component parts into assemblages of production, circulation, and consumption. The axioms are primary statements, which do not derive from or depend upon another statement. In this sense, a flow can be the object of one or several axioms (with the set of all axioms constituting the conjugation of the flows); but it can also lack any axioms of its own, its treatment being only a consequence of other axioms; finally, it can remain out of bounds, evolve without limits, be left in the state of an “untamed” variation in the system. There is a tendency within capitalism continually to add more axioms. After the end of World War I, the joint influence of the world depression and the Russian Revolution forced capitalism to multiply its axioms, to invent new ones dealing with the working class, employment, union organization, social institutions, the role of the State, the foreign and domestic markets. Keynesian economics and the New Deal were axiom laboratories. Examples of the creation of new axioms after the Second World War: the Marshall Plan, forms of assistance and lending, transformations in the monetary system. It is not only in periods of expansion or recovery that axioms multiply. What makes the axiomatic vary, in relation to the States, is the distinction and relation between the foreign and domestic markets. There is a multiplication of axioms most notably when an integrated domestic market is being organized to meet the requirements of the foreign market. Axioms for the young, for the old, for women, etc. A very general pole of the State, “social democracy,” can be defined by this tendency to add, invent axioms in relation to spheres of investment and sources of profit: the question is not that of freedom and constraint, nor of centralism and decentralization, but of the manner in which one masters the flows. In this case, they are mastered by the multiplication of directing axioms. The opposite tendency is no less a part of capitalism: the tendency to withdraw, subtract axioms. One falls back on a very small number of axioms regulating the dominant flows, while the other flows are given a derivative, consequential status (defined by the “theorems” ensuing from the axioms), or are left in an untamed state that does not preclude the brutal intervention of State power, quite the contrary. The “totalitarianism” pole of the State incarnates this tendency to restrict the number of axioms, and operates by the exclusive promotion of the foreign sector: the appeal to foreign sources of capital, the rise of industries aimed at the exportation of foodstuffs or raw materials, the collapse of the domestic market. The totalitarian State is not a maximum State but rather, following Virilio’s formulation, the minimum State of anarcho-capitalism (cf. Chile). At the limit, the only axioms that are retained concern the equilibrium of the foreign sector, reserve levels and the inflation rate; “the population is no longer a given, it has become a consequence.” As for untamed evolutions, they appear among other places in the variations in the employment level, in the phenomena of exodus from the countryside, shantytown-urbanization, etc. – Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (chapter 13, ‘Apparatus of Capture’)


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