Quora answer: What are the most subversive ideas in the academic economics literature?

The most subversive idea that has not gotten into the academic economics literature yet, as far as I know is that of Bataille in Accursed Share concerning the difference between the “General Economy” and the “Restricted Economy”. All economics today are based on restricted economies. No one I know is studying the General Economy as Bataille defines it yet. Batille posed his problematic at the level of Political Economy, i.e. the original from of the discipline that combined Politics and Economics before the two disciplines split. The idea of the General Economy is that there are many economic systems that function that are not rational, which do not serve the interest of their participants, and which are governed by other forces than those assumed to be operating in normal Economics. Bataille starts with the Potlatch of the Northwest Indians who would work all year creating things to destroy the items made on a particular day. The one who destroyed the most earned the most transcendental value within the community. Thus value is determined by how much you can waste not by use. Bataille goes through a whole series of seemingly irrational economic systems that were self sustaining and then proposes a general theory of the General Economy which includes all the restricted economies and also all these out lier cases as well that are not considered in normal economics, but which actually exist for instance as Piracy on the high seas in International waters, or in black markets etc.


By the way I have taken his theory and created a systems theoretical version that contrasts the system as restricted economy with the meta-system as general economy, where the two are considered inverse duals of each other. See http://archonic.net for more information. Also I have applied this new theory to economics at http://bubblenomics.biz

An excellent reference on this is Arkady Plotnitsky’s book Complementarities.




Posted January 29, 2011 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: