‘Tis the season, and therefore our thoughts are haunted once again by zombies and vampires.
David Castillo and William Egginton see them as being metaphors for different forms or stages of capitalism:
If the modern vampire may have functioned as an apt metaphor for the predatory practices of capital in colonial and post-colonial societies, today’s zombie hordes may best express our anxieties about capitalism’s apparently inevitable byproducts: the legions of mindless, soulless consumers who sustain its endless production, and the masses of “human debris” who are left to survive the ravages of its poisoned waste.
But zombies and vampires haunt us in other ways as well.
Let’s start with blood-sucking vampires. Today, in the United States, as productivity increases but workers’ wages remain stagnant, we continue to be haunted by the image of capital sucking the blood of living labor. What are corporate profits and the incomes of the top 1 percent but the flows of that blood—out of the mass of people who work for a living and into the pockets of those who happen to have sharp teeth and an insatiable appetite for more?
As for zombies, John Powers sees their meaning as having changed in recent years:
Sometime in the years leading up to September 17, 2011, zombies had gone from being associated with a terror of mob rule to the promise of release from an inescapably all-encompassing system. To be clear: Zombies were not being equated with corporate capitalism – they had become the revolution itself. Zombies had become the alternative to the system with no alternative.
We should remember, in Max Brooks’s World War Z novel, when cities were made to be as efficient as possible in order to fight the zombies, the plumber held a higher status than the former CEOs; when the ultra-rich hid in their homes, which had been turned into fortified compounds, they were overwhelmed by others trying to get in, leading to mass slaughter.