Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Machine Fetishism, Value, and the Image of Unlimited Good: Towards a Thermodynamics of Imperialism

Alf Hornborg
Man
New Series, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Mar., 1992), pp. 1-18
DOI: 10.2307/2803592
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2803592
Page Count: 18
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($20.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Machine Fetishism, Value, and the Image of Unlimited Good: Towards a Thermodynamics of Imperialism
Preview not available

Abstract

The accumulation of industrial infrastructure within restricted sectors of the world system indicates that world market prices obscure more fundamental measures of `value'. The thermodynamic concept of exergy (or negative entropy) is offered as a measure of `use value' geared to the reproduction of industrial `technomass', and it is established that the logic of industrialism sets price and exergy content in inverse relation to each other. This paradox reveals the role of money as an instrument of socially restricted, techno-economic growth, which rewards an escalating dissipation of order in the biosphere. As a consequence of a circular flow of symbols vainly represented as matching linear flows of exergy, structurally inescapable money deficits propel industrial growth and imperialist expansion. Conventional economic ideology underpins these processes by promulgating an abstract notion of `utility' and by misrepresenting industrial `production' as a generative process. A global, thermodynamic view of industrial technology reveals the fetishim in our tendency to distinguish between the material and the social existence of the machine.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[1]
    [1]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
2
    2
  • Thumbnail: Page 
3
    3
  • Thumbnail: Page 
4
    4
  • Thumbnail: Page 
5
    5
  • Thumbnail: Page 
6
    6
  • Thumbnail: Page 
7
    7
  • Thumbnail: Page 
8
    8
  • Thumbnail: Page 
9
    9
  • Thumbnail: Page 
10
    10
  • Thumbnail: Page 
11
    11
  • Thumbnail: Page 
12
    12
  • Thumbnail: Page 
13
    13
  • Thumbnail: Page 
14
    14
  • Thumbnail: Page 
15
    15
  • Thumbnail: Page 
16
    16
  • Thumbnail: Page 
17
    17
  • Thumbnail: Page 
18
    18