§ the political-economic context of Deleuze’s concern with the concepts of difference and repetition: an ontology of synthetic capital; towards a theory of value (overview of Introduction)
When reading the Introduction to DR, we should observe that Deleuze is situating his forthcoming analysis of the ontological status of the synthetic within the broader tradition of political economy. He does this for two principal reasons, but to a single effect.
First, the Introduction is principally concerned with convoking the conceptual framework of the political economist who most notably initiated the ontological study of objects in their course of exchange: we call such objects economical objects; and that political economist is Marx. Marx’s name is more of less absent from Deleuze’s opening convocation of political economy when contextualizing his ontology of the synthetic; we suspect this is at least partially the case for two reasons: On the one hand, Deleuze is obviously not actually writing a book of political economy, though we must later both establish what this means, and precisely what this means for us as readers of DR as a book of heterodox political economy. On the other hand, Deleuze most likely understands that his future critical evaluation of Hegel will equally apply to Marx, i.e. the Hegel that resided more deeply inside Marx than even Marx was aware. We will later discuss that for methodological and political reasons which yet originate in the surreptitious presence of a moral imperative, Marx chose to back away from the extended implications of his own original detection of a virtuality characterizing economical objects. Nevertheless, we should be aware of Marx’s quiet but patent presence, residing in the opening moment of this text. Deleuze will identify Marx as political economist whose sedentary and Euclidean methodological prejudices towards flat space equivalence classes of exchange, and thus whose economic myopia towards classical symmetry, go hand-in-hand with his morally-motivated objective to purge exchange of its imagistic, synthetic, monstrous nature. We will begin to elaborate the meaning and significance of this assertion immediately below, and more thoroughly throughout our Guidebook.
Secondly, we are alerted right away in DR that one of Deleuze’s principal points of concern from among the veritable modalities of Being is the modality of finance capitalism: in fact, for our purposes this is Deleuze’s chief concern with the concepts of difference and repetition; and so among the various loci of Deleuze’s philosophical preoccupations with an exposition of an ontology of the synthetic, is specifically an exposition of the ontological properties of capital in its synthetic-systemic incarnation. As we will see, Deleuze believes that his analysis of the ontology of synthetic finance provides us with the conceptual tools necessary for constructing a radical revaluation of value –one founded on difference and repetition, and therefore unconstrained by what Deleuze labels ‘the four shackles of representation’. Indeed, that Deleuze is performing a critique of representation already begs the question for him of “to what effect, and in which modality of Being?” As the title of our book indicates, there is at least one answer to this question that interests us herein: the modality is finance capitalism, and its effect is for purposes of a new speculative materialist concept of value.