Radical Philosophy #154 by Radical Philosophy

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This feeding of consumer desire has its correlate in Stringer, an addict too, since the elasticity of demand also feeds his own desire: to accumulate. Giovanni Arrighi teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, although it is by no means certain that Stringer Bell attended his lectures. We might speculate, however, about what might have been the result if, like The Wire, rather than looking to China in his recent study of the contemporary world economy, Arrighi had turned instead to the ‘wired’ territory of the local drugs trade, at Adam Smith in Baltimore, rather then Adam Smith in China (2007 – reviewed in RP 150) – a book probably composed over the same period as The Wire.

These included volumes on the architecture and sociology of shopping, the unprecedented urbanization of the Pearl River Delta in China, and, most notoriously, the African metropolis of Lagos, in the organized chaos of which Koolhaas provocatively found ‘the future of the modern city’: ‘a developed, extreme, paradigmatic case-study of a city at the forefront of globalizing modernity’. Such works continue to promote Koolhaas’s often violently expressed opposition towards what he has called architecture’s ‘fundamental moralism’ about the contemporary, as well as his principled scepticism towards the possibility of any directly critical architectural practice.

Stringer Bell is Avon’s second in command, the manager of the business (he counts the money), a close associate and friend (he advises him to have ‘D’ killed) – indeed, he is the ‘brains’ of the outfit (much like Lester is for the wiretap detail). Avon is a more charismatic leader with a keen sense for the uses of violence as a strategy of power and drugs commerce. Inside the partnership Barksdale and Bell (Stringer eventually dies under a sign for ‘B&B enterprises’) there coexist in increasing conflict two of the above logics of accumulation, associated with commodity exchange, on the one hand, and corporate finance and investment, on the other.

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