Advanced Capitalism

I want to thank my friend Robert van Hennik for introducing me to Rosi Braidotti. I am fascinated by her work.

There is no doubt that capitalism and consumerism have contributed to the depletion of earth’s resources. According to Braidotti, there’s worse to come. Technological advances, combined with capitalism has created what she calls “advanced capitalism” (Braidotti, 2006). She describes this as the “capitalising of all that is living… human and non-human life forms”. It has even led to the commodification of difference for the sake of profit. An example that springs to mind is China’s once inconceivable ‘one country, two systems’ constitution.

Conversely, it has created new binaries such as the distinction between ‘insured’ over ‘uninsured’ people; and the injustice of the developing world not having access to patented medicines because of copyright.

For Braidotti, the management of the living and the dying is integrated into the advanced capitalist system of the management of life processes. I.e. the management of the living requires the management of the dying – what she pointedly describes as a social context where there are “corpses that matter and corpses that don’t”. At the height of the Ebola crisis, I heard this sad lament from a colleague… “Ebola is 5 white deaths away from a cure”.

Needless to say there is an urgent need to think creatively about an alternative to what she calls the “posthuman” challenge. It is scary what is at stake if a humane alternative is not found because globalisation will make advanced capitalism ubiquitous. For Braidotti, advanced capitalism is about:

  • structural injustices in ‘post-industrial/colonial/communist’ societies.
  • the becoming-third-world of the first world, while continuing the exploitation of developing countries.
  • the militarization of the technological and also of the social space.
  • the globalization of pornography and the trafficking and prostitution of women and children, in a ruthless trade in human life.
  • the feminization of poverty and the rising rates of female illiteracy, as well as the structural unemployability of large sectors of the population, especially the youth.
  • the difficulty of the Law to cope with phenomena such as the new reproductive rights, ranging from copy-right laws in the use of photocopiers, video-recorders, and internet, to the regulation of surrogate motherhood and artificial procreation.
  • the problem of environmental control.


BRAIDOTTI, R. 2006. Transpositions : on nomadic ethics, Cambridge, UK ; Malden, MA, Polity Press.

One thought on “Advanced Capitalism

  1. Please do try to explain things in simple language and not in jargon. it is so much easier to have a dialogue i=f we all speak the same dialect.
    Anyway it may be that the problem is a simpler in that lawlessness has increased exponentially. Is this because we have taken on evolutionist and survivalist morals leading to the Sumnerian and Spencerist belief, espoused by Thatcher, in a ‘free’ market economy where competition makes everyone more efficient. It does not make things efficient, it makes them ruthless and therefore willing to use more cruel and rapacious methods to get their own way, regardless of the feelings and rights of others.
    Indeed together with the rise of survivalist ideas has been the Post Modern phenomenon and the Nietzschean idea of making one’s own vlaues and willing them into being. This in fact is the world capitalist system willing its questionable vaues into being. Hence more lawlessness.
    Only a return to the Judeo-Christian ethic can put the clock back to a less exploitive age. Yes I know exploitation always went on but the Judeo-Christian system as worked out in Britain put a measure of restraint on it. I cannot see and anti-Slavery movement being very effective today, Nor the concerns for the poor and suffering as with Booth and the salvation Army.
    Cruelty and exploitation rule and will only get worse,until we end up with a unified capitalist system and an Overman as in Nietzsche.
    An overman has always been the world’s answer to problems of this magnitude, as Napoleon, Lenin et al.

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