Ben, Thanks for your immediate and detailed response. The issues you raise go to the heart of what I was exploring and I could reply at greater length, but I will restrict myself here to some headlines.
> What you seem to be getting at here is that in order to "assume > responsibility for life as a whole on this planet", we need something > like a world market, rather than a world of small economies based on > "the person, the family or local groups". I think it's worth > questioning that idea. Can the relatively recent phenomenon of the > world market, involving impersonal trade on the scale currently > practised, be made sustainable in terms of energy consumption and > environmental impact? I accept the critique of those who say conventional economics leaves out personal, domestic and local perspectives, but I suggest that we also need to get a better handle on the wider horizons of our social experience and connect the two sides more meaningfully. Markets have always been world markets in the sense that their extent is unknowable. Instead of reducing what is going on today to the familiar and everyday, I argue that we also need ways of connecting that level with more inclusive and abstract dimensions of society. Money and markets have traditionally done that, but not satisfactorily in the forms that currently dominate the human economy. It may well be that environmental and energy considerations will lead to a revision of economic forms and of their desirable scale. But I would have thought that global economic issues are bound to remain a matter of common concern. > > There is also the argument that the imposition of the impersonal > economy has destroyed beneficial social relationships, > while failing to provide adequate substitutes. Pierre Bourdieu gives > examples of the violence of the impersonal economy... > > Echoing Polanyi... > > Echoing Mauss... > > He compares what was gained in this transformation with what was lost: > ...To subject all the behaviours of existence to calculating reason, > as demanded by the economy, is to break with the logic of *philia*, of > which Aristotle spoke... > > To me it seems very doubtful that such systems, which are based on the > 'spirit of calculation', can ever compensate for the loss of real > solidarity based on familiarity and trust, i.e. on the refusal of > calculation. Aristotle is indeed the godfather of this position and you are right to cite Polanyi as a faithful adherent of it. It is based upon a fundamental opposition between the self-interested market and a small-scale vision of society based on the family, viewing the former as a threat to the latter. Without being reductionist, it also represents the interests of a military landowning class against those of urban commerce. Much in the history of modern socialism also harks back to this ideology. The Bourdieu argument you cite is similar, contrasting two ideal types of colonial capitalism and pre-existing rural society. One of the main points of my piece was to extract Mauss from being lined up with this tendency. He was quite stridently anti-capitalist, unlike his uncle, but he also insisted that this contrast between commercial self-interest ("the spirit of calculation") and a world epitomised by the gift was itself now a plank of bourgeois ideology. He sought to expose the personal, social and spiritual aspects of the market economy, despite its dominant impersonal institutions, and sought to expand their scope through, for example, a co-operative approach to them. He was not against money or markets as such, only a one-sided emphasis of profit at the expense of wider social interests. If you look at his Ecrits Politiques (1997), you will see that he took a global view of economy and politics; and certainly did not believe a retreat to small-scale familism was possible or desirable in the modern world. Keith # distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission # <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets # more info: [EMAIL PROTECTED] and "info nettime-l" in the msg body # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: firstname.lastname@example.org