La Part mauditeEssai d'économie générale La Consumation


La Part mauditeEssai d'économie générale La Consumation [PDF / EPUB] La Part mauditeEssai d'économie générale La Consumation The three volumes of The Accursed Share address what Georges Bataille sees as the paradox of utility namely if being useful means serving a further end then the ultimate end of utility can only be use The three volumes of The Accursed mauditeEssai d'économie PDF/EPUB ¶ Share address what Georges Bataille sees as the paradox of utility namely if being useful means serving a further end then the ultimate end of utility can only be uselessness In the second and third volumes The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty Bataille explores the same paradox of utility from an anthropological and an ethical perspective respectively The History of Eroticism analyzes the fears and fascination La Part ePUB Ñ the prohibitions and transgressions attached to the realm of eroticism as so many expressions of the uselessness of erotic life.

  • Paperback
  • 200 pages
  • La Part mauditeEssai d'économie générale La Consumation
  • Georges Bataille
  • English
  • 22 August 2016
  • 9780942299113

About the Author: Georges Bataille

French essayist philosophical theorist and novelist mauditeEssai d'économie PDF/EPUB ¶ often called the metaphysician of evil Bataille was interested in sex death degradation and the power and potential of the obscene He rejected traditional literature and considered that the ultimate aim of all intellectual artistic or religious activity should be the annihilation of the rational individual in a violent transcendental.



10 thoughts on “La Part mauditeEssai d'économie générale La Consumation

  1. says:

    This book is generally acknowledged as an attempt at articulating a major theory of political economy out of Nietzsche's ideas with a lethal dose of clarity First however this is a very Heideggerian Nietzsche though no surprise as Heidegger's work was the only major systematic apprehension of Nietzsche's philosophy at the time Heidegger's claim that for Nietzsche nihilism defines some kind of a historical key to understanding all of Western history seems to me to be reproduced in its entirety and fallibility by suggesting that the economy has its own 'will to nothingness' Some of the most interesting ideas further explored in volumes II and III is a kind of positing of Heidegger's 'cleared' stage of authentic pre metaphysical knowledge as refigured through the Hegelian concept of totality certainly used in a much french way thus building up a kind of historical ontology of the material world as dependent on the symbolic order of the economy What is less Heideggerian is a setting up of a dialectic of production and consumption that is materialized in the concept of 'excess' that comes up with its own historical and peculiar incarnations I'd say that as much as Mick Dillon's book Security uses the concept of security to suggest there is a much richer 'lifeworld' of politics that we can start to see if we handle that is deconstruct the term properly here the same could count with respect to the use of 'excess' that as well borders on the now somewhat deflated concept of 'affect' as a key to our economic imagination EDIT Having read Bataille I no longer think this is really the case and I no longer think based on texts prior to the Accursed Share where some of the differences are stated for example a footnote to Method on Meditation that Heidegger marks as much influence on his thought as I did before I actually think that the Nietzsche here is uite different from Heidegger's interpretation on some major and important points I don't think any that Bataille's thinking is nihilistic in terms of the usual binary of 'active' and 'passive' nihilism but it can be refigured as a kind of 'radical' or 'perfect' nihilism I think that comparison to Dillon's book politics of security I've made before are however uite correct as indeed the book gives us a richer deeper and nuanced ie 'extended' view of what we view as the EconomyLast the chapters on Bataille's own views of the Cold War and Soviet Communism Stalinism are to me a fascinating way of suggesting that the Communist imagination conventionally understood of the economy reproduces the same fallacy and narrow understanding of the economy in the form of an obsession with 'primitive' accumulation in Bataille's own words The nicest thing about Bataille however is that despite his fallacies and his own 'brand' of nihilism this conceptual system allows for its own broadening and corrections without a need of falsifying A major and badly 'overlooked' book

  2. says:

    Georges Bataille’s book of um ‘political economy’ begins “That as a rule an organism has at its disposal greater energy resources than are necessary for the operations that sustain life is evident from functions like growth and reproduction” and follows this energy surplus of the terrestrial host animal through to its dissolution “willingly or not gloriously or catastrophically” We receive energy from the sun than can be spent productively; so it must be expelled unproductively Bataille asserts with characteristic puissance that the excess of energy the onanistic inferno of its disposal is the primary process which pulsates through economic systems and activates productive forces rather than demand capital labour power etc This doesn’t necessarily contradict orthodox theories of the market but insists that we understand them as epiphenomenal functions to a solar metaphysics of thermodynamic circulation The energy surplus itself is ‘The Accursed Share’ because its disposal is a volatile process; for every beneficent carnival potlatch and festival amid tight knit social bonds there is also opulent religious wastefulness human sacrifice and the evil wars of bloodthirsty empires special mention to WWI and WWII And this ritual euthanasia of unspent energy is not merely primary to our survival; disbursal of the explosive plethora of solar residue flows into joy art eroticism and transcendence There is uite a lot of historical anthropological data used to support the slightly exorbitant claims which are impossible to prove but interesting to observe in context Still for all its research The Accursed Share will never be taught in an economics class and cannot be arbitrated except by the stiffest criteria of falsifiability which would be seriously missing the point Bataille brought this to speed with the contemporary post war environment and you could continue to do so long after his death Think of our depraved piracy of smaller nations seizing the glut of resources interred there; energy sources converted into a surfeit of corpulent exuberance which are binged to resource our next imperial adventure Only slightly further afield think of modern consumerism proxy drone warfare and I would say certain developments in technology; nanotech automation the AI singularity and other shades of posthuman silicone fetishism may be the final jailbreak of the accursed share My only gripe is stylistic The sentences are really choppy in some places flip flopping between clauses arbitrarily an infelicity which frustrated me with Eroticism and Literature and Evil I don’t know if this is a problem with the translations or is being faithfully reproduced from Bataille’s French but the translations of his literary works especially The Story of the Eye are very lyrical and pleasant to read on the level of style anyway So what gives?

  3. says:

    Weary of “analyzing the complexities of a crisis of overproduction” 13 one of the standard exercises of restrictive economy Bataille’s libertine interest alights on so called general economy “tracing the exhausting detours of exuberance through eating death and sexual reproduction” id This sounds promising The living organism in a situation determined by the play of energy on the surface of the globe ordinarily receives energy than is necessary for maintaining life; the excess energy wealth can be used for growth of a system eg an organism; if the system can no longer grow or if the excess cannot be completed absorbed in its growth it must necessarily be lost without profit; it must be spent willingly or not gloriously or catastrophically 21That last refers us both to Agamben’s discussion of glory in Homo Sacer V and to Dutt’s discussion of destructive waste in Fascism and Social Revolution As it turns out war is only the most obvious form of the necessary waste of surplus and the remainder of the book details different solutions to the problem of excessWe see a smithian confrontation of the wealth of nations against the theory of moral sentiments in how “the extension of economic growth itself reuires the overturning of economic principles – the overturning of the ethics that grounds them Changing from the perspective of restrictive economy to those of general economy actually accomplishes a Copernican transformation a reversal of thinking – and of ethics” 25 That is if a part of wealth subject to a rough estimate is doomed to destruction or at least to unproductive use without any possible profit it is logical even inescapable to surrender commodities without return Henceforth leaving aside pure and simple dissipation analogous to the construction of the Pyramids the possibility of pursuing growth is itself subordinated to giving The industrial development of the entire world demands of Americans that they lucidly grasp the necessity for an economy such as theirs of having a margin of profitless operations 25 26Bataille wants to acknowledge “the dual origin of moral judgments” whereas at one point “value was given to unproductive glory” now “it is measured in terms of production” 29 In that context “The history of life on earth is mainly the effect of a wild exuberance; the dominant event is the development of luxury the production of increasingly burdensome forms of life” 33 We see some left politics in his insistence nevertheless that protest against wealth is made in the name of ‘justice’ 38 which is placed into opposition with ‘freedom’; however “General economy suggests therefore as a correct operation a transfer of American wealth to India without reciprocation” 40 The argument proceeds through chapters that analyze paired mechanisms of handling a general surplusThe first pair is Native American sacrifice versus potlatch The Aztecs’ “wars were created ‘so that there would be people whose hearts and blood could be taken so that the sun might eat’” 49 The Aztecs were nevertheless “not a military society” 54—“A truly military society is a venture society for which war means a development of power an orderly progression of empire” id It is by contrast “a relatively mild society; it makes custom of the rational principles of enterprise whose purpose is given in the future and it excludes the madness of sacrifice There is nothing contrary to military organization that these suanderings of wealth represented by hecatombs of slaves” 54 55 cf Horkheimer in Eclipse of Reason Sacrifices are “surplus taken from the mass of useful wealth And he can only be withdrawn from it in order to be consumed profitlessly and therefore utterly destroyed Once chosen he is the accursed share destined for violent consumption” 59 By contrast with sacrifice is potlatch “one of the functions of the sovereign of the ‘chief of men’ who had immense riches at his disposal was to indulge in ostentatious suander” 63—involving festivals that were “an outpouring not only of blood but also of wealth” 64 “The gift that one made of it was a sign of glory and the object itself had the radiance of glory” 65 “Classical economy imagined the first exchanges in the form of barter Why would it have thought in the beginning a mode of acuisition such as exchange had not answered the need to lose or suander?” 67 “Potlach is like commerce a means of circulating wealth but it excludes bargaining” 67 Aside from gift giving it also takes the form of “a rival is challenged by a solemn destruction of riches” 68 “If he destroyed the object in solitude in silence no sort of power would result from the act; there would not be anything for the subject but a separation from power without any compensation” 69 This leads to the inference that ”present day society is a huge counterfeit where this truth of wealth has underhandedly slipped into extreme poverty”—“a genuine luxury reuires the complete contempt for riches” 76 The next pair is Islam versus Buddhism As a higher development Islam is noted for its “generally despotic nature of sovereignty” 82 which works itself ultimately in war which is permanent 84 “for Mohammed the great holy war is not that of the Moslem against the infidel but that of the renunciation one must engage in against oneself” 83 The pre Islamic moment featured “ostentatious giving and suandering” and we “infer the existence of a ritual form of potlatch from a prescription of the Koran ‘do not give in order to have ’ LXXIV 6” as well as “bloody sacrifices” 85 Bataille connects plainly “the pre islamic arabs” with his prior analysis insofar as they “had not reached the stage of military enterprise any than the Aztecs had” both of which have “ways of life eidos zoe of course” consistent with “a society of consumption” 86 The “pietism of primitive islam” deserves study along Weberian lines because of “the pietist way of thinking in the origins and development of capitalism” 86 This system allowed for a conflation of all functions “the religious leader was at the same time the legislator the judge and the military chief One cannot imagine a rigorously unified community” 88 about which Bataille comments “it was an admirable machinery Military order replaced the anarchy of rival clans and individual resources no longer consumed wastefully went into the service of the armed community” 88 And yet it lacks “Christ’s death on the cross or to Buddha’s rapture of annihilation” 90 “As soon as Islam ceased because of its victories to be a rigorous devotion of vital forces to growth it remained nothing but an empty rigid framework” 90One difficulty is that this rigid framework has no morality of its own but rather “adopted a morality that pre existed it” 93 Not so in Buddhism “In a humanity everywhere prepared to start a war Tibet is paradoxically an enclave of peaceful civilization incapable of attacking others or defending itself” 93 Tibet thus became “the same thing as the monasteries” 104; in Tibet there was a total of 250 to 500 thousand religious persons out of a population of 4 to 5 million”; “the total revenue of the government of Lhasa in 1917 was approximately 720000 pounds yearly Of that amount the budget of the army was 150000 That of the administration was 400000 Of the remainder an appreciable share was set aside by the Dalai Lama for the religious expenditures of the government But in addition to these government expenditures the revenues spent yearly by the clergy income from property holdings of the monasteries gifts and payments for religious services was well over 1000000 Thus in theory the total budget of the Church would have been twice as large as that of the state eight times that of the army 105 The rationale thus for Tibet’s development “Monasticism is a mode of expenditure of the excess that Tibet undoubtedly did not discover but elsewhere it was given a place alongside other outlets In Central Asia the extreme solution consisted in giving the monastery all the excess” 108 “a closed container” id Perhaps he is enad of the radical implications “the lamic enlightenment morally realized the essence of consumption which is to open to give to lose and which brushes calculations aside” 109 And then there’s the great historical irony that the Tibetan system spread to Mongolia at the end of the sixteenth century” a “denouement of the history of Central Asia” 109—“totalitarian monasticism answers the need to stop the growth of a closed system” id The third set of opposed pairs is Calvinism versus Marxism “Calvinism’s zone of influence roughly corresponds to the areas of industrial development Luther formulated a naïve half peasant revolt Calvin expressed the aspirations of the middle class of the commercial cities; his reactions were those of a jurist familiar with business matters” 115 For the medieval economy “its basic principle was the subordination of productive activity to the laws of Christian morality” 117 The Calvinist ideal by contrast was “an economic world independent of the service of the clerics and the nobles having its autonomy and its own laws as part of nature is alien to the thought of the middle ages” id In the old system “the seller must part with merchandise at the just price The just price is defined by the possibility of ensuring the subsistence of the providers” id—“In a sense this is the labor value of Marxism” and one might see “Marx as the ‘last of the scholastics’” id Usury is unlawful because it “would make time pay and time unlike space was said to be god’s domain and not that of men” id Calvinism “gives precedence in the use of the available resources to the expansion of enterprises and the increase of capital euipment; in other words it prefers an increase of wealth to its immediate use” 119 In its war against luxury Calvinism draws certain concordances “idleness the pyramid or alcohol have the advantage of consuming without a return – without a profit – the resources that they use they simply satisfy us; they correspond to an unnecessary choice that we make of them” id – aesthetics management as non production? Overall Calvin “was to the bourgeoisie of his time what Marx was to the proletariat of ours” 123After Protestantism Marxism “which inherited its rigor and gave a precise form to disorderly impulses denies even than Calvinism a tendency of man to look for himself directly when he acts it resolutely excludes the foolishness of sentimental action” 134—describing precisely “what Calvin had merely outlined a radical independence of things of the economy in relation to other religious or generally affective concerns” 135 “Marx’s originality in this regard lies in his wanting to achieve a moral result only negatively by the elimination of material obstacles” id Marx however presents “less the completion of Calvinism than a critiue of capitalism” 136; “capitalism in a sense is an unreserved surrender to things heedless of conseuences” 136 The problem as diagnosed by Marx “to the extent that mankind is in complicity with the bourgeoisie on the whole that is it vaguely consents to be nothing as mankind than a thing” 138 This means that capitalism generalized the reification of the medieval system wherein “wealth was unevenly distributed between those who manifested the accepted values in the name of which wealth was wasted and those furnished the wasted labor” 139; the aristocrats “claimed not to be things but the uality of thinghood verbal protests notwithstanding fell suarely on the worker” id The objection is accordingly that “one cannot expect to liberate man by going to the limit of the possibilities of things and nonetheless leave free as capitalism does those who have no other reason for being than the negation of work which is base in favor of elevated activities” 140 The final opposition is Stalinism versus the Marshall Plan Some notes follow in opposition to Stalinism doctrinally “Stalinism is not at all the analogue of Hitlerism; on the contrary it is not a national but an imperial socialism” 151—“a universal state that would put an end to the economic and military anarchy of the present age” the Soviet Union “is a framework in which any nation can be inserted” id Normally leftwing politics feature “a greater share of wealth devoted to nonproductive expenditure” 154 “whence the paradox of a proletariat forced to impose its will inflexibly on itself to renounce life in order to make life possible” 156 That is “Stalinist policy is the rigorous—very rigorous—response to an organized economic necessity which actually calls for extreme rigor the strangest thing is that it is judged to be terroristic and thermidorian at the same time” 165 Ultimately “the current system of the USSR being geared for producing the means of production runs counter to the workers’ movement of other countries the effect of which tends to reduce the production of capital euipment increasing the objects of consumption” 167In order to fight the left “The Marshall Plan offers an organization of surplus against the accumulation of the Stalin plans”’ 173 though it “is intended to remedy the balance of payments deficit of the European nations vis à vis the United States” 174 it became “necessary to deliver goods without payment it was necessary to give away the product of labor” 175 In the post war world “the Bretton woods agreements gave a precise definition to the impasse of the international economy”—“it had to renounce its founding principles or in order to maintain them renounce the conditions without which it could not continue to exist” 177 Cf Horkheimer “it is the paradox of the capitalist economy that it is oblivious to general ends which give it meaning and value and that it is never able to go beyond the limits of the isolated end” 177 And yet the wheel is come full circle insofar as capitalists are bound together to sacrifice against their own apocalypse

  4. says:

    The overall thesis of the book seems to me to be that as organisms we get energy than we need surplus excess and must profitlessly needlessly uselessly expend this excess and that while other theories of economy focus on production his general economy focuses on this expenditureconsumption Everything in this book seems to build off these ideas and it goes in pretty bizarre directions The chapters on the Aztecs and Soviet Industrialization were very good The last section of the last chapter talks about self consciousness and how it is a different kind of consciousness because it is not a consciousness OF anything but of pure interiority He likens this not yet realized development as the euivalent of the transition from animality to humanity He also admits it associates him with mysticism It was a very strange ending and I can't say I totally understood where he was going with it or if I'm even interpreting it right Still a really enjoyable read and I'm interested to read volumes 2 and 3

  5. says:

    A combination of the Erotic with the Economic How does Georges Bataille combine the two One of the most original thinkers in contemporary 20th Century literature Bataille not only sees economy as a means to exchange goods but also the the extras that are there and how one uses the 'extras' The excess of power exchange and perhaps love itself Difficult at times but also incredibly rewarding A good introduction to Bataille's work is for sure his fiction The Story of the Eye etc but that's not really enough It is like reading just the noir novels of Boris Vian you need to read everything by this man to get a complete picture of who and what he is And that is a very rewarding journey my friends

  6. says:

    This is a somewhat paradoxical book of speculative anthropology Bataille warns us right from the start that acuisition of knowledge can only consummate itself in the annihilation of the object of knowledgeThis curious observation follows from the fact of what he calls general economy as opposed to particular or resticted economy such as the capitalist economy presupposing scarcity that use is subservient to the ends beyond it namely useless or nonproductive expenditureloss From the viewpoint of general economy the founding axiom is excess not scarcity The Sun is the model for this economySo if accumulation must ultimately terminate in pure expenditure does the same law apply to the very knowledge one acuires of the torturous circulation of solar energy on the terrestrial surface and its ultimate fate in otther words precisely the knowledge supplied by the book?Despite this practical impasse Bataille insists that Man can no longer afford to be ignorant of the volatile gift of solar energy which throbs and pulsates in excess of the use he can make of it and learn to dispose of this excess on his own terms excess does not accumulate until all the available space for the growth of the system is saturated We must find if not invent sacred outlets to dissipate this built up of excessFailure to carry out this urgent task of glorious operationuseless consumption interestingly enough Bataille sees inklings of the so called general approach in historical Bretton Woods Agreement and Marshall Plan will result in nothing less than our annihilationThere is enough anthropological datastatistics to support the general thrust of Bataille's argumentation in this book but many of his rather brilliantly provocative claims are decisively non empirical in character This book will interest anyone looking for heteredox interventions into mainstream economics

  7. says:

    Bataille's philosophy of History Totally cogent and elegant More legible than his theories of erotics

  8. says:

    Not gonna be a long review here because I think I'll need to read Volumes 2 and 3 before I can really say I understood this book Bataille's general economy is based on a simple premise the Earth receives essentially unlimited energy from the sun Living beings use this energy to grow and compete with each other but humans specifically can use this energy to accumulate wealth that is capital or whatever you want to call it The problem is that there is always what Bataille calls the accursed share the surplus of energy that is destined to be suandered wastefully Earlier societies engaged in grand festivals of sacrifice or ostentatious gift exchanges but nowadays what with all our modern industry and lack of interest in eating one another we're poised to suander the excess by exterminating each other in grand acts of war instead unless we come up with an alternative solutionWhat makes it hard to judge this text is ultimately the fact that I can't tell if Bataille is being serious about his proposed solution which is basically to look to raise everybody's living standards and redistribute wealth instead of directing economic activity towards profitaccumulation of military weapons The idea that a radical economy of solar flux and Dionysian excess gives way to a feeble endorsement of social democratic globalism rubs me up the wrong way even if the idea is nice After all does this not just kick the problem of accumulation down the road? There's no way that states will sit in peaceful euilibrium or dynamic peace by which Bataille means that everyone is scared of fighting each other because they'll all die forever Human error or just good old fashioned irrationality or the contingencies of nature guarantee that things eventually break down However just as the book was winding up leaving me with a vague sense of disgust and disappointment the final line seemed to suggest that Bataille was in on the joke In the end everything falls into place and takes up its assigned role Today Truman would appear to be blindly preparing for the final and secret apotheosis But that is obviously an illusion More open the mind discerns instead of an antiuated teleology the truth that silence alone does not betraySo then what is that truth? Could it be that we ourselves are the excess to be spent? That we are the accursed share?

  9. says:

    Ritual sacrifice potlatches conuest festivals opulence and luxury lavish public works avenues through which given social formations must expend their surpluses or risk descending into famine imperial wars genocide mass unemployment etc Focusing on consumption in this first volume Bataille traces societal mechanisms of expenditure through their archaic medieval capitalist and communist iterations and offers a model of a solar economy based on excess rather than scarcity Bataille's prose here is lucid lacking the sometimes overwrought style of some of his earlier work on eroticism

  10. says:

    Though Bataille continues to deal with religion and ritual in this book his concerns are classically Anthropological than in Theory of Religion population growth scarcity social structure etc The project he sets out in the introductory chapters is the development ofa general economy a system that not only accounts for thedevelopment and exchange of goods but of all energy on the Earth From the perspective of general economy life is a terrific excess that cannot be fully utilized due to the limits of growth and reproduction Instead of this excess building up pressure as in a closed container and exploding it is instead suandered as heat for example and disposed of in a useless manner The accursed share is this remainder that escapes utility yet is always present Through the examination of historical data Bataille proposes that the definitive structure of human cultures can be found in how they deal with this primary excess

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