TODAY, MONEY RULES THE WORLD—literally, as Joseph Vogl argues in his forthcoming book, The Ascendancy of Finance. Here, Artforum presents an exclusive excerpt, in which the media theorist demonstrates how the market has overtaken the state. The finance sector—with the unprecedented rise of financialization, debt, and speculation—now thoroughly dominates governance, social relations, and daily experience. In response, Vogl suggests, we need new ways of resisting the unbounded influence of the financial regime on modern power and public life.

Workers at the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Washington, DC, June 26, 1929. Photo: Library of Congress.

IN TODAY’S FINANCIAL REGIME, new forms of social control are combined with a renunciation of the welfare-state consensus that moderated postwar capitalism. Since the middle of the past century, it has been discussed how the laws of the market and the capitalist economy can be made to harmonize with those of social reproduction. Market laws, it is argued, need not apply to market phenomena alone; the aim should also be to “organize the economy of the social body according to the rules of the market economy.” The principles of optimized social productivity are premised on a greater need for integration into the fabric of economic relations; generally, it is about establishing a form of government in which economic dynamics determine social process. This not only means restructuring institutions and designing an axiomatics whose formal—in other words, legal and institutional—structures

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