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By Georges Bataille

Such a lot Anglo-American readers be aware of Bataille as a novelist. The Accursed percentage presents an outstanding creation to Bataille the thinker. right here he makes use of his special financial idea because the foundation for an incisive inquiry into the very nature of civilization. not like traditional financial types according to notions of shortage, Bataille's conception develops the concept that of extra: a civilization, he argues, finds its order so much in actual fact within the therapy of its surplus power. the result's an excellent mixture of ethics, aesthetics, and cultural anthropology that demanding situations either mainstream economics and ethnology.

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Wealth ^"^ 'ncre^tp it-— THE ACCURSED SHARE tjhat it withdra\vs wealth from productive consumption. rifice withdraws useful products from profane cir'inciple the gifts of potlatch liberate objects that .. „ml:he_start. The industry of archaic luxury is the basis of potlatch; obviously, this industry squanders resources rep­ resented by the quantities of available human labor. Among the Aztecs, they were "cloaks, petticoats, precious blouses"; or "richly coloured feathers... cut stones, shells, fans, shell paddles...

Definitively, men lie; they do their best to relate this liberation to interest, but this liberation car­ ries them further. Consequently, in a sense they lie in any case. As a rule the individual accumulation of resources is doomed to destruction. The individuals who carry out this destruction do not truly possess this wealth, this rank. Under primitive conditions, wealth is always analogous to stocks of munitions, which so clearly express the annihilation, not the possession of wealth. But this image is just as accurate if it is a matter of expressing the equally ludicrous truth of rank: It is an explosive charge.

This system had resulted in the abandonment of military force. Or rather mili­ tary power had died: The fact that a lama carried the prestige of a king took away the latter's ability to resist the pressure from without. He had ceased to have the force of attraction necessary to assemble an army for that purpose. But given this state of affairs, the sovereign who had succeeded him had only done so outwardly: He had not inherited that military power wh ; ch he had destroyed. The world of prayers had prevailed over that of arms, but it had destroyed without acquiring force.

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