by Frédéric Lordon. Paperback; Ebook; Hardback. Paperback. Paperback with free ebook. $$% off. pages / June / Thomas Piketty’s thousand-page economics bestseller reduces capital to mere wealth — leaving out its political impact on social and economic (). Willing Slaves Of Capital: Spinoza And Marx On Desire [Frederic Lordon] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Why do people work for other .
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Structures et affects des corps politiques. Lordon is the author of Willing Slaves of Capital: Spinoza and Marx on Desire amongst many other works.
He greeted the financial crisis with a four-act play in rhyming alexandrines, the bankers explaining the frederric of their subprime losses to the President of the Republic and ministers of state. At the same time, Lordon has been developing an ambitious research fredsric, aiming to renew and re-ground the social sciences on the basis of a Spinoza-inspired materialism. What are the origins of this project, and what have been its results to date? Born inLordon grew up in a prosperous western suburb of Paris, his father an executive in the textile sector.
Here, on his own account, he baulked at what lay ahead and began, for the first time, to read: In the 90s, teaching at Lorfon Po and then researching at the CNRS, he turned his attention to economic-policy formation.
Economist Frédéric Lordon – Biography, Theories and Books
Lacking any founding text, it was in reality little more than an export-oriented project to reduce prices and labour costs, supposedly issuing in a virtuous spiral of rising employment, investment and productivity growth. As Lordon showed, the doctrine owed its status as an orthodoxy to its adoption by both political and financial elites.
Lordon interviewed some of the main players in autumnwhen the wounds were still raw, and incorporated his findings in La Politique du capitalpublished by Odile Jacob: The conatus of capital took two heterogenous forms. For entrepreneurial or industrial capital, by contrast, the drive was for expansion, with profit a means rather than an end. La Politique du capital situates the battle of the banks within the longer-run transformation of Atlantic capitalism.
In the post-war period, Lordon argues, industrial-entrepreneurial capital was hegemonic, financial markets restricted and shallow.
But industrial profits began falling from the s, resulting in a battle over wages; by the 70s, a growing crisis of state debt and high inflation led to a historic compromise between political and financial elites that would put finance capital in command.
The first step was to free up the national savings and pension funds for wide-ranging investment, creating vast new liquid markets in which the state itself could borrow; French funds were deregulated by the Fabius government in —86, not least to compete against the encroachment of big Anglo-Saxon players.
Second, the conatus of these institutional investors drove them to impose their own profit-maximization agenda on industrial capital, through the formula of shareholder value. Firms struggling with slow growth were tempted to expand by mergers and acquisitions, but this put them at the mercy of their profit-hungry investors.
Finally, capital ownership was increasingly up for grabs, presenting firms with the imperative to expand or be gobbled up, in hostile takeovers. This neoliberal transition required the mobilization of the state, at least for its initial coup de force.
It was conducted in martial terms, through strategies of conquest and predation, far from the neo-classical tranquillity of profit-optimization.
Lordon cites the Financial Times: The market response was a violent plunge in bank shares, upon which CECEI reversed its position, to crowing from the financial press.
The eventual outcome was of course the BNP—Paribas merger, creating the mega-bank whose closed windows in August signalled the start of the financial crisis. At international level, post-Cold War structures—the G7 as well as the IMF—WB—WTO nexus—had produced a grederic space for economic diplomacy, in which the power of the Treasury—Wall Street complex was reinforced by subtler pressures of recognition and respectability, indexed by adherence to the canons of liberal modernity.
For the French elites, acceptance involved perpetual atonement for the original sin of state intervention, ideologically constituted in Anglo-Saxon eyes as their collective second nature. As a result, Lordon suggests, the French state response was hobbled by contradictory impulses, unable to move beyond improvisatory and ill-timed gestures when the same high functionaries who had privatized French banks in saw to their dismay that they were now threatened by British, American and German takeover.
La Politique du capital is a remarkable contribution to the history of financialization and to the study of contemporary elites.
This intellectual centaur—empirical inquiry wedded to seventeenth-century philosophy—is less bizarre than it might at first seem. That a Spinozist social science should be of French concoction is no coincidence: The results have been mixed. In recognizing, with Spinoza, the irreducible role of the passions in human affairs, Lordon hopes to bid farewell to the allegedly utopian tendencies in Marx, insisting instead on the, at best, regulative character of communism.
In these essays, against liberal theories of atomized subjects of choice, Lordon develops his proposal for a structuralism of the passions. Unless we follow these thinkers in getting rid of political and social philosophies of the subject, he proposes, no such structuralism can emerge, and we shall continue to treat passionate individuals and impersonal structures as incompatible terms, devolved to separate disciplines. The concern of a Spinozist social science is thus, in his words: Like the Regulationists, then, Lordon is chiefly concerned with periodization: Two central essays attempt to recast the question of institutions, challenging retooled theorizations of legitimacy, with their persistent disavowal of struggle, and exploring with Spinoza the motivational power of the feeling of indignation, culminating in a reflection on French factory occupations of the early s.
In his most recent works, direct responses to the Eurozone crisis, this concern with our collective investments in institutional and state power comes to the fore. Berlin now dominated Europe not through a will to power but, far worse, through needless fright; in a blind pursuit of its own monetary reason, lacking any wider project—and knowing that shared monetary sovereignty was bound to be an open wound. In his latest book, Imperium: Structures et affects des corps politiquesLordon attempts to give that strategy a political-philosophical basis.
A transition beyond the state as we know it would not mean a termination of the state as such. To ignore these minimal traits of political fredeeic is to succumb to illusion. The dictum is especially important in a moment of crisis, such as our own, in which the price of self-delusion is all the greater. Visit New Left Review to read the article in full.
Why Piketty isn’t Marx
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Alberto Toscano 12 April A Structuralism of Feeling? Twin tracks Freferic intellectual centaur—empirical inquiry wedded to seventeenth-century philosophy—is less bizarre than it might at first seem.
Why Piketty isn’t Marx, by Frédéric Lordon (Le Monde diplomatique – English edition, May )
Edited by Daniel LevyMax Penskyet al. The Making of Bourgeois Europe. Willing Slaves of Capital. Politics in a Time of Crisis.