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By Martijn Konings

The capitalist industry, progressives bemoan, is a chilly monster: it disrupts social bonds, erodes emotional attachments, and imposes an summary utilitarian rationality. yet what if such hallowed reviews are thoroughly deceptive? This booklet argues that the creation of recent assets of religion and appeal is essential to the dynamics of the capitalist financial system. Distinctively secular styles of allure and attachment provide glossy associations a binding strength that used to be no longer on hand to extra conventional kinds of rule. Elaborating his replacement process via an engagement with the semiotics of cash and the family tree of economic system, Martijn Konings uncovers capitalism's emotional and theological content material in an effort to comprehend the paradoxical assets of unity and legitimacy that it instructions. In constructing this angle, he attracts on pragmatist notion to transform and revitalize the Marxist critique of capitalism.

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Capitalism, far from making authority anonymous and indifferent, makes things personal: it gets into our heads, becomes part of our identity, disposition, and desires, our basic sense of self. Such poststructuralist insights push us towards understanding hegemonic signs as iconic in nature: they are productively implicated in the constitution of subjectively meaningful identities and practices. In Foucault’s work the connections between the institutional dimensions and constitutive practices of modern power were not always articulated with sufficient clarity.

It is the pivot of the economic logic through which self and order are internally connected. This connectivity of capitalist life is what a disembedding narrative is not sufficiently attuned to, as it sets too much store by the claims of the dismal science, the idea of an autonomization of financial principles and the fragmentation of social and public life. The immanent character of modern power has been one of the central concerns of Foucaultian theory (Foucault 1991; 1995; Gordon 1991; Dean 1999; Rabinow and Rose 2006; Miller and Rose 2008; Nadesan 2008).

As Zelizer puts it in her more recent work: “Seen from the top, economic transactions connect with broad national symbolic meanings and institutions. Seen from the bottom, however, economic transactions are highly differentiated, personalized, and local, meaningful to particular relations” (Zelizer 2000, 386). This emphasis on the duality of money is crucial: the twentieth century has seen a dramatic proliferation of a wide variety of financial institutions, relations, and instruments that address and shape a bewildering variety of experiences, yet all these connections are anchored in a dollar standard that is more stable than ever before.

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