topp8564 at mail.usyd.edu.au topp8564 at mail.usyd.edu.au
Tue Dec 10 02:03:59 PST 2002

> If power-to and power-over are so dissimilar, how come they're both
> specifically/definitively modes of "power-"?
> Catherine

How is this a serious problem, as opposed to an unfortunate consequence of language?

Supposing the distinction holds, are there many forms of power-to which are not at the same time some variation of power-over?

As for Carrol Cox's talk of the bizarreness of talking about personal relations between a bomber and his victims 10,000 metres below him or her, well, it takes very serious training to get people to do that without personification. Formal training, the technicalization of the murder and informal training, the depersonalization of the victim, propaganda, racism, etc... I am surprised by this example. Bombing people obviously involves some really serious psychological factors on both sides of the deed. I very much doubt that people who are bombed fail to take it personally. You shound't get blinded by the fact the token of the transaction is a bomb. If I was feeling like I nice praeterito I'd suggest that you are buying the bomber's ideology here. (I am also thinking about Fanon's observations that Algerians tended to personalise _all_ Frenchmen as _enemies_, which is a completely different thing from regarding them as non-people.)

As for commenting that firing workers is the outcome of tons of nonpersonal transactions because the fired worker never had any dealings with the consumer who failed to spend, the only relevance of this (criticism?) is that the chain of personal connections takes a different and more circuitous route than this straw construction would impute. There may be many problems with using this as the sole mode of analysis of an economy (who would dream of doing this? That is surely not the point being debated) but the fact that relations between fired workers and non-consumers is complex surely isn't one of them, since the relation is complex any which way you look at it.

The point, in my opinion, is not to look at this debate as an either/or choice between looking at power relations as personal and looking at them as structural formations, but rather that these are (dialectically situated?) complementary projects. Keynes would not be Keynes without a sound dose of psychology, and if he had dreamed this up in a Hebridean island without acute observation of the personalities of investors, it would be worthless trash. Conversely, it is pointless to deny there are structured forms of intepersonal relations, and forms of socialisation which try to control or even prevent the recognition of such relations, structured hypocrisy as it were - the analysis is ever so much poorer if one makes some crazy statement like that. The bomber and his finely constructed and expensively maintained non-regard for the bombed people below is a perfect example of that.


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