Left Forum Panel: Surplus Value vs Surplus Enjoyment

Jun 13th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles, Zero Squared

This week instead of an interview we're bringing you the audio from the Zero Books panel "Surplus Value vs. Surplus Enjoyment." The participants in the debate included Vakhtang Gomelauri from Occupy Psychoanalysis, Mia Vallet from CUNY, Douglas Lain from Zero Books, and Ashley Frawley from Zero Books and Swansea University. The moderator for the panel was Pete Dolack author of It's Not Over.

Here's the description of the panel that ran in the Left Forum program.

There are many definitions of "surplus value" on the left, perhaps too many. This debate/panel discussion will take a look at two approaches to the surplus created under capitalism. One version of surplus value comes to us from Marx and his law of value, while the other emerged from Jacques Lacan's return to Freud. What is the relationship between Lacan and his followers psychoanalytic reinterpretation of Marx and Marx's original theory? Can one hold with both Marx and Lacan?

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2 Comments to “Left Forum Panel: Surplus Value vs Surplus Enjoyment”

  1. John deChadenedes says:

    I’m sorry to say that through much of this podcast I was thinking not only, “What are they talking about?” but “What do they even imagine they are talking about?!” Marx had some good and historically important insights, no doubt of that. But what’s the point of going on about increasingly obscure theoretical points of view on what Marx might have meant, could have meant, should have meant, or would have meant if only? The jargon just makes difficult thoughts virtually impossible to grasp. Capitalism is not based on any theory, so there is really no point in talking it as if it was. Work does not represent “abstract value”. There is no such thing as surplus enjoyment! Bring it down to earth, please. Capitalism is a system where a small number of people rip off everybody else while ruining the planet. There is no possible theoretical basis for that being a good idea. To the extent that conventional economics might be considered a “theoretical basis” for capitalism, it is utter crap. All of economcs’ basic assumptions are false, and quite obviously so. This is why they are never articulated. I would like it if you could find some people who know how to talk about these ideas so that people can see what’s valuable in them and where they should be leading us to action.

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