Organising Destruction: A Derivative Logic?
journal contributionposted on 23.03.2017, 12:43 by Geoff Lightfoot, Simon Lilley
In this paper we attempt to better understand war’s preponderance by exploring its relation to something we commonly see as ever present: the economy and the institutions of finance through which it is enacted. We delineate histories of warfare and finance, rendering our present as one of ‘war amongst the people’ (Smith, 2006) in which finance is exemplified by the logic of the derivative (Martin, 2007). Through detailed examination of an infamous comment by Donald Rumsfeld, then then US Secretary of Defense, and the US Defense Department’s short lived Policy Analysis Market, we explore the management of knowledge enabled by the derivative as emblematic of our times in both military and financial circles, and draw upon the work of Randy Martin (2007, 2015) to suggest that this logic is increasingly imperial in its reach and ubiquitous in its effects, becoming in the process the key organisational technology of our times. At the core of the functioning of the derivative we contend, in all of the domains in which we witness it at work, is an essential indifference to the underlying circumstances from which it purportedly derives, leaving us in a world in which we endlessly manage risks to our future security but at the cost of the loss of genuinely open futures worthy of our interest.