The code of signification and its domestication of language, of all social relations in representation, is the process of political economy. Postmodernism’s scheme of value and generalized equivalence is not limited to exchange and use, or to production, but invests in the code of signs, language, sexuality and consumption. This political economy of the sign does not appear to have a center of gravity, since it seems to no longer be a part of the direct process of material production. Yet, it isn’t writ anywhere that representation did not comes first before material production. That material production served as a reference, a fundamental one at that, is only of relative consequence, because just as long the functional and structural organization of codes have operated. It isn’t a matter of exchanging one authority over the other: it is not an idealism or a materialism that is naive about the content of production, since the system itself doesn’t concern itself with idealism or materialism. The form proceeds through material, through labor power, language, commodities, representations and signs all at once. That is the terror of the social such that it becomes its own determination.
Perhaps it ought to be called a differentiation of social productivity, which running through both industrial coercion and consumerist disciplinary concentration, integrates and ventilates of all the combines of social control?
Or perhaps just call it the City of Man, which lives only for itself?