Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Money Wisdom #396

"When Freud writes that 'the two courses of development - both of the ego and of the libido' - are 'at bottom legacies, abbreviated recapitulations of the development which all mankind has passed through from its primaeval days over long periods of time,' (Freud, ILOP 16:354) he accentuates the parallel, which he continually affirmed, between ontogenetic development and phylogenetic development. The broad applicability of the logic of exchange, with its successive forms, seems to confirm the parallel indicated by Freud and Engels. The type of historical structuration illustrated in the genesis of the money form is not simply one type among many; it is the trajectory of historical structuration itself - in other words, history itself. There is an historical peak (I do not say an end point) in the accession to a recognized ratified hegemony of major symbols, the firmly established reign of general equivalents. Now it clearly appears that this reign has taken place. The summit of a certain history has come to pass. It ends in the mode of production based on monetary exchange, and what we are experiencing today is the aftershock of this culmination. This aftershock does not propel us down the other slope; it shakes the very foundations of this history, the very problematics of summit and base, including the very concept of general equivalent."

John-Joesph Goux Symbolic Economies (1990) p.41


Note: It's worth bearing in mind - especially when Goux talks about 'aftershock' - that the first version of this essay was written in Paris in May and June 1968.

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