In the first place biopolitical production means that people living today are in the process of being ‘produced’ in such a way that they can adapt successfully to the way that capitalism functions. Think of the manner that mainstream psychological counselling enables one to ‘cope’ with the demands of consumer society; and compare this to Lacan’s opposition (captured in the phrase ‘against adaptation’; see Van Haute 2002) to mainstream psychology, which merely assists the subject to ‘adapt’ to an alienated and alienating society. If this seems far-fetched, ponder the implications of the familiar exhortation, to ‘brand’ or ‘rebrand’ yourself; that is, deliberately turn yourself into a ‘commodity for sale’. Only people who have been thoroughly brainwashed by consumerist capitalism would fail to realise that this surrender to the cynical ‘anthropology of competitiveness’ reduces their human freedom to virtually zero. And yet, people seem to be quite happy to market themselves as commodities, blissfully unaware of the fact that they are participating in their own liquidation as ‘human’ beings capable of freedom of thought and action.

Bert Olivier

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