The Displaced Object of Critique: From the Mode of Production to the Mode of Indebtment
This discourse aims at a displacement of the object of critique of any future ‘critique of political economy’. The first part addresses the nature of critique in general and of ‘critique of political economy’ in particular which has traditionally been conceived as a critique of a mode of production in Marxian terms. The displacement of this object of critique - the mode of production - requires an understanding of the problem of the unity of this mode of production. The second part of our discourse addresses the problem of the money commodity, of credit and debt in relation to the unity of the mode of production. We deny, contrary to Marx, that money is a commodity and affirm instead the importance of a categorical analysis of credit and debt. Adducing an argument advanced by the Italian economist Augusto Graziani, we affirm that money is credit and debt in the initial phase of commodity production. The unity of the Marxian ‘mode of production’ comes to depend on credit and debt and thus a ‘mode of indebtment’ must be postulated. This consequence we name Lazzarato’s problem in honor of Maurizio Lazzarato. We finally affirm that any future ‘critique of political economy’ must address both the analysis and the treatment of Lazzarato’s problem.
Subjectscredit and debt, mode of production, money, the indebted man, critique of political economy
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