By Filip Vostal (auth.)
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Here, drawing on the Futurists again and also on Virilio, he points out the relationship between some of the cultural values associated with machine speed and warfare: ‘The deployment of fast machines is obviously rational in so far as they enable the rapid, efficient and cost-effective prosecution of war’ (2007a: 57). So on the one hand, there is a notion of transgression and liberation associated with the comforts, energies and excitements of speed. On the other, there is a dark connection with the modern technological development of weaponry and war tactics and their deployment.
At the centre of this ‘project’ lies the possibility of autonomy and self-determination, an individual and collective ability and capacity to ‘define the goals, values, paradigms and practices of a good life as much as possible independently from external pressures and limitations’ (Rosa 2010a: 80). This type of politically promoted emancipation is an integral and in a sense a dialectical component of the modernization process. It only makes sense once ‘the world moved beyond a supposed ontologically fixed social order in which social classes and estates (the political and religious authorities) are defined once and for all and simply reproduced from one generation to the next’ (Rosa 2010a: 79).
The basic political-economic definition could be expressed as follows: capitalist competition is organized around the need to extract surplus value from labour and subsequently recast this value as profit. To be competitive simply requires being faster than capitalist rivals: The capitalist firm … is … necessarily in competition with other capitalist firms. If it cannot out-compete them, eventually it will be forced out of business. To out-compete means keeping ahead in developing new, more productive techniques – only in that way can it ensure that Temporal Dynamics of Capitalism 37 it is not going to be driven out of business by rivals producing and selling goods more cheaply than it can.
Accelerating Academia: The Changing Structure of Academic Time by Filip Vostal (auth.)