Monday, December 7, 2009

caught up: Reading on Product Capital based on Tsing's Investment Capital Theory

Although, Tsing’s assessment of the global economy is most concerned with investment capital, some of the theory can be applied to product based capital.

In order to gain investors, start up companies and potential tourist locations use performance as “a necessary aid to gathering investment funds” (57). “Profit must be imagined before it can be extracted; the possibility of economic performance must be conjured like a spirit to draw an audience of potential investors” (57). Performance of economic potential is integral to investment capital.

Ciroc, Sean Comb’s vodka brand, is heavily advertised to an audience that is both supposedly hip and urban or would desire a hip and urban lifestyle. The product is a package deal; a lifestyle is included with buying a bottle of Ciroc vodka. This concept is relates directly to Terranova’s discussion of microsegmentation. She states that in network culture difference has been packaged and sold as part of the capitalist system.

A similar exchange is made when investing capital. The instant return is the promise of capital (a promise that is dependent on performance through advertising). The long-term investment is hopefully more capital. An imagined promised is packaged with the actually capital.

An imagined lifestyle accompanies a bottle of Ciroc vodka. Imagined capital accompanies actual capital. In product capitalism, the imagined return of the product (the Ciroc Urban lifestyle) can never be measured while the promise of investment capital can be realized.


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