Saturday, December 28, 2013

Money Wisdom #240

"What I want to focus on here is the peculiar role of objects in situations of historical agency - in particular those which, like money, serve as the medium for bringing into being the very thing they represent... ...Money , in a wage labor system, represents the value (importance) of one's productive actions, at the same time as the desire to acquire it becomes the means by which those actions are actually brought into being. In the case of capitalism, this is only true from the particular, subjective perspective of the wage-earner; in reality - that is, social reality - the power of money is an effect of a gigantic system of coordination of human activity. But in a situation of radical change, a revolutionary moment in which the larger system itself is being transformed, or even, as in the case of West African fetishes or so many Malagasy charms, a moment in which new social arrangements between disparate actors are first being created, this is not the case. The larger social reality does not yet exist. All that is real, in effect, is the actor's capacity to create it. In situations like this objects really do, in a sense, bring into being what they represent. They become pivots, as it were, between the imagination and reality."

David Graeber Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value - The False Coin of Our Own Dreams (2001) p.251

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