I’ve been meaning for a long time go back and read the three part Aufheben article on decadence theory. (This piece played a role in Aufheben’s exchange with Theorie Communiste, which I’ve still not read except in a very cursory fashion.) One of these days (after ch25 of Capital! and after my latest round of Hamerquist’s writing!) I’m going to have to dig into this stuff.

For now, Hardt and Negri in Commonwealth:

a “symptom of capital’s illness: its failure to engage and develop productive forces. When Marx and Engels describe the centuries-long passage from feudal to capitalist relations of production in Europe, they focus on the expansion of productive forces: as feudal relations increasingly obstruct the development of productive forces, capitalist relations of property and exchange emerge to foster them and spur them forward. “At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange,” Marx and Engels write in the Manifesto, “the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organization of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.” Every mode of production, capital included, at first powerfully expands productive forces but eventually holds them back, thereby generating the foundation of the next mode of production. (…) Capitalist relations of property are becoming increasingly such fetters today.” (298.)

Capitalism, from once helping to now hindering progress. From progressive to decadent social formation.