#Fracketeering: Solutions for the Society of Control


My colleague Adam Briggle has been very active intellectually and politically with local bans on fracking in my hometown of Denton. In a dialog we had recently, I mentioned to him that fracking bans–and the ban on bans–could be read differently than helping the oil and gas industry at the expense of local townships. This could be more about the Society of Control and the maxim that globalized financial networks must be kept open at all costs.

According to Gilles Deleuze, the Society of Control is about constantly modulating networks, ultra rapid systems regulating exchange built along the model of investment banking. The lines of power in our world are not so much about making profitable products as capitalizing on solutions to problems that have the most return on investment. The alchemy of control, I submit, is that all these solutions more specifically arise from tranlating all issues into accounting problems. And what is taken into account, what is made accountable, are our very lives.

This idea of describing our world as a Society of Control makes a lot of sense once you think it through. And it throws light on what we are seeing happen with things as diverse as energy exploration and renting an apartment. Ian Martin at the Guardian does a great job of collecting instances of what he is calling fracketeering. What a wonderful word!

Both gas explorers–who very well may still be thinking in terms of “producing energy”–and rentiers–who very well may still be thinking in terms of land lord and tenant–are discovering solutions to issues that fundamentally are treated as accounting problems by governments and corporations. They are fracketeering our formerly private spheres of life; in a real loopedy-loop of thinking, moreover, they fracketeer their own view of what they may be doing: taking advantage of every accountable opportunity.

Government officials and corporate officers want to keep investments flowing into and out of every region they can. Any region that has no accountable return in the ledger books is a problem region.

Looking at this from the point of view of solutions, we should reconsider old notions about local political autonomy versus outside hegemonic interference. If those attempting to move through the global networks see an area as problematic, the only real defense that regions may have is to speak in terms of their own security: the right to maintain the ecosystem and protect the social cohesion of their local area networks (LANs). After reading the referenced article below, I would say it is not about banning fracking anymore… it is about pinpointing and regulating fracketeering.

A new article that Adam co-published with Matthew Fry and Jordan Kincaid on who benefits economically/financially from drilling in Denton probably offers data that supports this solution/control reading of the situation. (Since writing this blog, I have learned of a new solution put forward by pro-fracking networks in the North Texas region: FRACKFEED. Really, a definitive example of a Society of Control solution.)

Here are a few highlights from Martin’s article. I recommend the whole thing to folks who want to think about how fracketeering may be the solution mechanism to account for new lines of financial gain under the regimes of control.

Fracking. Could there be a more perfect model for how we’re getting rinsed by this current conspiracy of government and commerce? In a world turned upside down, “conservative” now means the absolute opposite of “leaving things as they are”. Conservative means changing everything…

Redefining citizens as frackable units … Illustration: Leon Edler

…Welcome to capitalism’s late late show. If you can power-hose the last drop of value out of something, you now have an amoral imperative to do it. Fracking is the chief inspiration for today’s entrepreneurs…

The world of fracketeering is infinitely flexible and contradictory…

But once you’ve mined the earth and milked the service industries, what is there left to frack? Us, that’s what…

I don’t want to sound overdramatic but fracketeers are faceless evil wizards and algorithms are their flying monkeys, dispatched from the anonymous castles of corporate service providers…

We are already living in a capitalist sci-fi horror story, where masters of the universe are trading stuff that doesn’t even exist yet. Future grain harvests in Canada, milk yields in Wisconsin, next year’s batch of Japanese whisky. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange has a wide variety of “weather derivatives” available for trade if you’re interested including “temperature ranges, snowfall amounts and frost”. If fracketeers can think it, they can monetise it. There are no moral boundaries. The only limit to fracketeering is imagination…

Sex, sunshine, sleep, singing. The best things in life are currently free. We’d better make the most of them, because in a frackable future they’ll all be metered and chargeable. Libido International or whoever would be alerted to any sexual activity via, I don’t know, some sort of monitored hormonal “thinkernet” and would shut it down after 60 seconds unless you authorised a debit or had a prepaid sex account.

In the future it will probably be best to stay celibate, in the dark, awake for as long as possible and quiet. So let’s live a little now, before we’re all fracked.

Fracketeering: how capitalism is power-hosing the last drops of value out of us all | Money | The Guardian.

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