Can The Market Speak?
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It is said the market has moods and desires. It is said that we must listen to it and must anticipate how it will respond to our actions. What is the significance of these peculiar forms of speech? This book investigates the conceptual underpinnings of the idea that the market has intentions, consciousness and speech, and identifies the social and political consequences of this attribution to the market of capacities generally thought to be uniquely human. At once a work of philosophy, a cultural and social archaeology and a diagnosis of one of the central ideologies of our times, this book cuts to the heart of the linguistic forms through which our collective futures are decided.
anthropomorphism or personification in which human capacities are attributed to the market. Sometimes the market seems perfectly human, but it is also not uncommon to find the market given great powers that exceed those that are thought to belong to human beings. The range and capacity of powers that have been attributed to the market leads to the idea that there is a quite different metaphorical substitution at play. Instead of the market looking like a human being, the market takes on
the worldly. It is thought that the divine can act not only through words but also through the physical force of touch. Jesus cures through touch and has a material agency in which it is hoped that just to touch him might effect a cure. In Michelangelo’s painting of The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel the finger of God reaches out to create the first human being. In much the same way, the market plays in such interstitial spaces. The market is something outside of this world but also
that part as the whole. In full flight, the leather boot fetishist is only stimulated by leather boots, in real or imagined form. In such a fetish, one potential object of desire metonymically covers the whole scope of desire. The concept of fetishism has held a particular pride of place in the critique of political economy since Marx took up this idea in his critique of commodity fetishism. In commodity fetishism, one part of the existence of a commodity is taken as its entire existence. This
austerity and fiscal restraint. When in late 2011 the elected governments of Italy and Greece were deposed by unelected financial technocrats, it was said that the markets had demanded such action. The markets then variously ‘responded cautiously’ or ‘responded positively’ to actions such as the installation of a technocratic government in Italy and the refusal to allow a referendum of the Greek people.57 Above all of this talking it was often hard to hear the many challenges that were being put
greatest Alchymists could never fix its mercury, or find out its Quality; it is neither a Soul or a Body; it is neither visible or invisible; it is all Consequence, and yet not the Effect of a Cause; it is a Being without Matter, a Substance without Form.62 Defoe was writing at the moment of the rise of the market and the financial markets in particular. He and his work are important for the insight they offer into the nature of the mysterious character of the market, and the simultaneous