Saturday, January 15, 2011

"It's Not About the Money" Clip - Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

"It's not about the money, it's about the 'game' - the 'game' between people."

In Battling to the End René Girard shares his understanding of the closeness of war and exchange. Through the eyes of Carl von Clausewitz (who introduces the notion that humanity is always moving toward an 'escalation to extremes') sees reciprocal action, which covers exchange between people, market trade and bellicose relations, as the equalivance to a duel and that it is the hidden structure of all social phenomena.

Clausewitz established an equivalence between war and monetary exchange - he saw no real difference between the two activities (trade would not be a metaphor for war, but would concern the same reality).

Girard writes: "Trade thus has all the features of war: if smooth settlement of exchanges degenerates into furious competition, a trade war can become a real war."

"We exchange goods so as not to exchange blows. Exchange, whether commercial or bellicose, is an institution, in other words, a form of protection, a simple means. If the institution is seen as an end, we fall back into violent reciprocity. Our emotional and spiritual lives have the same structure as our economic life... Exchanges must not be seen for what they are, in other words, reciprocal. This is the law that has to be complied with in order to live together. Life is livable only if reciprocity does not appear. Many anthropologists have trouble seeing this... (t)hey compete with one another to describe the complexity of the differences and social rules, without seeing that the rules are only there to prevent the return of reciprocity."

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