Inflation is when you need more money to buy fewer things, so semio -inflation is "when you need more signs, words, and information to buy less meaning. It is a problem of acceleration. It is a kind of hyperfuturism when the old accelerative concept of the future is the crucial tool for the capitalist goal." (96).
He is referring here to the acceleration of cognitive labor and "semio-capitalism" which saturates the info sphere. If overproduction is an effect of capitalism, what happens with the overproduction crisis - when there is an overabundance of semiotic goods produced by cognitive labor?
As he notes wryly, the 1990 dot-com era was a decade of Prozac. "One cannot understand what Alan Greenspan calls 'irrational exuberance' without taking into account the simple fact that millions of cognitive workers took tons of cocaine, amphetamines, and Prozac during the 1990s." (8)
So that…the crash came with a disempowerment of cognitive labor and massive denial. "The ideology that fostered the Internet in the 1990s was based on a premise of infinite energy, infinite expansion, infinite resources….Because the net is an ever-expanding sphere of immaterial substance (information), because intellectual productivity is not limited by material constraints the networked economy was expected to last forever…" (114)
I particularly love his merger of abstract finance and parthenogenesis (virgin birth): "The financial economy …is a parthenogenesis process." 105
We are living in a period of les passions tristes (The sad passions). Miguel Beasayag and Gerard Schmidt reflect on their experience as psychoanalysts working with young banlieusards of Paris for whom the future is not a promise but a threat. "The field of desire has been invaded by anxiogenous flows: the acceleration of the info sphere has expanded expectations, semiotic stimulation, and nervous excitement up to the point of collapse." (109)
Semio-inflation deflates us.