So after re-reading most of The Condition of Postmodernity (Harvey) and finishing Neo-Bohemia (Lloyd), I came up with the following table, which is after a similar, though not equivalent, table by Hassan, quoted by Harvey:

Industrialism---> Post-Industrialism
Material Commodity Production---> Social Value Production (via aesthetics)
Use Value---> Exchange Value
Fordism---> Individualism
Republicans---> Democrats
Biological Antogonisms (apparent)---> Class Antagonisms (hidden)
Nationalism---> Delusional Nationalism
Welfare: preserver of reserve army of labor---> Welfare: legacy
Internal Market---> External Market
Alienated Subject---> Self-fuffilment
Mass Politics---> Lifestyle Politics
Group Actualization/Ambition---> Self-actualization/Ambition
Oppositional Culture---> Commodified Culture (at base, ie Baudrillard, simulation without simulated)
Fixed Accumulation---> Flexible Accumulation
Reality precedes Perception---> Perception precedes Reality
Hard Control ---> Soft Control
"Masculinity"---> "Femininity"
Structural Critique---> Psychology
Underclass: reserve army of manual labor---> Underclass: reserve army of aesthetic labor
Mental Discipline---> Social Discipline
Physical Strength---> Physical Stamina
Rote---> Creative
Gentrification---> Mediation
Modernism (new space for exploitation)---> Retro (reclamation of old space for re-exploitation)
Working Class---> Middle Class
Love Before Sex---> Sex Before Love
Disciplined Exploitation---> Voluntary Exploitation
Grey Flannel Suit---> Jeans
Blue Collar managed by White Collar---> White Collar managed by No Collar
Poor: "useful idiots"---> Poor: useless
High School---> College

So I don't make any claims for brilliance, for accuracy, for novelty, or anything else when it comes to the above. The table is just something to keep my own thoughts organized., a way of framing the world that is necessarily incomplete because the picture within is so complex. But it did lead me to hypothesize something. Which is that Retro is a structural necessity within the new formation of capital.

Although industrial capitalism can never be eradicated completely given that material commodity production is also what reproduces human existence on its massive scale, as a focus of policy and self-perception, industrial capitalism has receded from the imagination, and even the physical landscape. If I recall correctly, most large American corporations who manufacture goods not only do so offshore, but also sell these goods mostly to non-Americans. A lot of the supposedly "wrong" economic policy practiced recently at the Federal level, especially staring in 2008, seems "wrong" because the person perceiving it be wrong does not understand the reality described above and sees the period that could be  described as the "Fordist social contract" aka the welfare state as somehow being a proper equilibrium, when in fact it was, at the time, a necessity for the perpetuation of capital accumulation, not a concession to social justice by the elite. Regardless, that "concession" is no longer necessary. The internal market is no longer a growth market (in fact, it has been based on the abuse of credit for decades, credit that may never be available again at the previous scale).

So we now have, at least in my perception, two simultaneous capitalist systems. The Industrial system, which, at least in the United States, is now embodied in disinterested manufacturers, who, as noted, no longer need Americans, neither as producers nor consumers, and the former reserve army of labor of this system, who now have no place, neither physically, nor economically, nor culturally, in the new system. The new system, is, of course, the Post-Industrial system. This system, which places a premium on education and cultural fluency, no longer needs the race and gender-based antagonisms of the past because, first, it is not in this new system's benefit to prevent new ideas, new fashions and new aesthetics from developing (the formation of new markets is contingent), but also because the direct exploitation of  the factory has been replaced with indirect exploitation. As Lloyd notes, the creative class generates far more money for real estate speculators, bar owners (taking advantage of virtually free labor and the hipness of the neighborhood in which their businesses operate), and, of course, media conglomerates, than members of the class will ever see. In fact, most are open to this exploitation, invite it even (think of reality TV at the extreme end of this process). There is no selling out anymore, neither as a possibility or as a stigma. Or rather, there is the possibility of feeling served or not served by the new organization, but it is not possible to create and not participate at the same time.

(This is not to say, at all, that "hipsters" suffer like, say, Latino workers at food processing plants. We are talking about relations in capital, not social status and the material conditions of an individual's life.)

So how does this lead to the idea that retro is necessary? Well, it doesn't, at least, it doesn't in terms of what I have written above and how much more needs to be filled in between this paragraph and the last. Maybe I don't quite understand it yet. Maybe I am wrong. Here's what I have so far:

The loss of the alienated subject, structural critique, mass opposition (through the fracturing of markets via flexible accumulation) the loss of biology-based antagonisms (which persist but are no longer "beneficial") which form groups out of necessity, instead of deliberate taste, has caused the production of new cultural material to exploit to come to a standstill (or at least, to become so slow as to not be able to keep pace with the speed of commodification necessary to provide the necessary profits). The structural need for perpetual growth (you gotta spend money to make money) has reopened past forms to exploitation. The new underclass, no longer alienated, no longer antagonistic, only concerned with personal growth, is only too happy to repurpose older cultural product for the new market. This repurposing is the stripping of any referents or cultural baggage that belonged to the older form of social and economic organization.

(I think I am getting at something but can't quite prove the necessity thing. Sometimes I can't type as fast as my brain writes - there's more here but I already forgot it - we'll see if it comes  back to me. I think another important thing to note is that - well, I've felt in myself, and have written about, a real frustration with the way that social issues continue to dominate the mainstream political discourse and I think some of the above has a lot to do with it. Within the new socioeconomic context, a huge swath of gender-, race- and sexuality-based critique seems to have somehow lost its politics, and has become a distraction from deeper issues instead of a view into them. That's not to say that I disagree with the fundamental goals... it's more that the noble language of those movements somehow seems now to be deployed towards less-noble ends. To be brutish about it, I believe that abortion should be legal, but find no solace in the liberal discourse around the issue, which reeks of privilege [in the "new world" there is no figurative poor and uneducated female "victim" upon which to build a moral foundation] and the mediated alienation from the self and the body that is so much a part of the post-industrial mental landscape [the phrase "getting in touch with yourself" seems to me like it has two subjects].)

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