Landscapes of Global Capital
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The handshake of capital
Precapital deals
What are we doin' here?
The global handshake
Signifying possibility
Gestures of human concern
Hands of parental care
Hypersignifiers of expressivity
The finger of knowledge
The panoptic finger

A Dow commercial a farmer greets a Dow representative with a handshake. Perhaps he's thanking him for the chemicals that made possible the bountiful corn crop in the background. The handshake reaffirms the presence of the corporation in the farmer's life. But where is the moment of exchange? Perhaps we should also see a handful of cash being handed over to the Dow representative. This side of the exchange relationship is invisible. We see the flow of commodities or the consequences of using those commodities or services, but we do not see the flow of capital that returns nor do we see the labor that produces that capital. As Marx observed, capital reduces all commodities and relations to exchange value. The handshake transforms a formal contractual relationship to a personalized Gemeinschaft relationship. It adds a human touch to the cold hard logic of capital. It connotes neighborliness and friendship and brands the corporation with these meanings.

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© Copyright 1998-2003
Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey