: The Accursed Share: an Essay on General Economy, Vol. 1: Consumption (): Georges Bataille, Robert Hurley: Books. In George Bataille’s three volume The Accursed Share, he imagines a primitive subsistence society that gathers just a little more food or other. This essay addresses Georges Bataille as a historical thinker by concentrating on The Accursed Share (three volumes, ), the text.

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Therefore expenditure in its most glorious form is potlatch.

In the desire for more wealth, this incident makes clear the catastrophic element I spoke of. We should now be able to fully explicate the simplest and yet most nonproductive expenditure available to us today, gifts of the body. Their choice is instantaneous; no decision is made, it is more bataile a quick jump onto the operating table. But it should be clear, given the accounts of self-consciousness and potlatch, Bataille would not be an advocate of consumer culture.

Touchstone Terms: The Accursed Share

Written between and and collected in volume seven of Bataille’s complete works, it comprises three volumes: Bataille goes through a process of determining the prohibitions and understanding how they bear on economic rationality. Henceforth, leaving aside pure and simple dissipation, analogous to the construction of the Pyramids, accirsed possibility of pursuing growth is itself subordinated to giving: In his view, economic rationality isn’t accrused at all – it effectively amounts to patterns of communication rather like Habermas’s communicative rationality orbiting ‘black holes’ of prohibition, taboo and transgression.

It is the essence which continues our very lives. An Essay on General Economy French: Beyond its defined limits—in time and space—this existence or being no longer exists, no longer is. It’s waste not equilibrium, Bataille argues, that we should focus on – and waste in all forms – not only the destruction of war which seems to keep capitalism on its feet as Marx describedbut extravagant waste by societies on temples, pyramids and cathedrals, or the waste of life in bataillle rituals of human sacrifice the Aztecs of course build pyramids too!


A wedding feast, an extravagant gift, an exhausting effort made to rescue someone lost at sea or in an avalanche, or a life spent in research that brought no profit and perhaps ended in a dead end — all these forms of potlatch get their meaning from death; they are festive and celebratory ways of dying. Remember me on this computer. It could even be said that the profane state is the necessary prerequisite for abstraction of the object from the totality of being.

In other words, an organism in Bataille’s general economy, unlike the rational actors of classical economy who are motivated by scarcity, normally has an “excess” of energy hsare to it. Certainly, at first sight, this seems false. Lewis Hyde, in his book The Giftoften notes the misunderstandings capitalism has had about potlatch.

IMHO, the truth is, money is for all practical purposes infinite so the problem is creating a rate of expenditure that is sustainable and doesn’t foul the planet.

If a part of wealth subject to a rough estimate is doomed to destruction or at least to unproductive use without any possible profit, it is logical, even inescapableto surrender commodities without return. The gift is necessarily thus erotic in the sense Bataille uses the term: When one tries to make productive use of the surplus of energy and wealth the result is often misfortune.

Certainly some people have better or worse lives, some people die later and others earlier. Thus the myth concludes: The text of the accursed share and the study of eroticism, are characteristically interlaced with consciousness of the method. Stoekl argues that energy becomes accessible through organic and fossilized concentration, e. I’m hoping that a regression-type analysis would be able to at least show some interesting patterns. The Short Stories of F. The language of philosophy is transformed into a dissolution of the I, and in this transformation the philosopher discovers he cannot dominate or manipulate language, but instead finds another language which speaks by an articulation of failure and silence: George Allen and Unwin, The Implications of Excess.


Whereas the Marquis saw society as an imposition and limited on a sovereign being, Bataille’s thinks man within society and its current limits. But there is still a hypothetical problem: But when one looks closer, what is the profane if not the sum of objects abstracted from the totality? Giving, by abnegating ownership of resources, puts the giver at risk. Charles E Merrill Publishing Co, With this requirement to give yourself over daily to your partner, I touch on sovereignty, self-consciousness, the moral summit.

The Accursed Share – Wikipedia

I’m currently working on an agent-based model of Nigel Howard’s ‘Paradoxes of Rationality’. How this recognition of limits is made manifest is through their transgression. Each remains 53 Hyde, The Gift, A task is now at hand: And he claims that the modern industrial capitalism has broken all of these coping strategies by creating not just an excess but a growing one, a continual disruption that gets reinvested and accelerates the next crisis of extravagant, opulent luxury.

With pride and satisfaction our friends and 19 Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Accursed Share and Me: If I demand a rekindling of the kind of gift-giving that does not place productive value on objects, and ask to use them, circulate them, and even destroy them for the end of pure expenditure, I fear I may be asking too much. I have touched on how the gift is always a gift of self, and giving up your individualized existence is a confrontation with death. What do we make of those who choose, instead of avoidance, to embrace the crying man on the subway, and fetch blankets and water for the drunkard?

The Americans on the other hand participated in the bad form of expenditure:

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