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money

Friday, 25. January 2013 | 01:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Uselessness, Refusal, Art, and Money (encounters with David Graeber's Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value).

readingbetween_shipping

On Reading  Alone

I report here on an encounter with a book, and an encounter with the problems of reading itself.  The book: David Graeber's Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value.  which I picked up following the trail of Marcel Mauss' The Gift (Graeber's book is a meditation on the differing visions of Mauss and Marx for economic life as read through the lens of anthropology).  If you operate outside of institutions, which I typically do, one book leads to another and another along solitary and idiosyncratic paths.  You often find yourself in a cloud of companionship with people you've never met, some living, some dead, some speaking native languages you have no acquaintance with.  This is thrilling, but a little surreal. As you'll see, Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value was a pleasure to wrestle with and test ideas against, but for me it also represented the moment where I turned from an ideal of books engendering books in the future, to books as a way of making relationships in the present.

 

Sal Randolph

Sal Randolph lives in Brooklyn and makes artworks involving gift economies, social interactions, public spaces and publishing. Her Money Actions in which she gives away money to members of the public as both provocation and invitation have been featured in the 2011 Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the Live Biennial, Open Engagement, and in Cabinet Magazine. She has recently been doing research and teaching on the topic of attention as a visiting fellow at Princeton University and is writing on art for The American Reader.

 

I want time that is NOT money

gotham

As I try to seize the moment after reading Stephen's post: ‘The Fate of Public Time: toward a time without qualities’, I cannot separate myself from my recent trip to the U.S., the place where I was born and raised but do not reside.

The last two weeks of the global economic crisis might be termed as the end of the era of borrowed time. Beginning with deregulation during the 1980's Reaganomics and exascerbated by greed, borrowed money -‘leverage’ has lead to the crash on Wall Street. Central to the bailouts and interrelationship of a networked world are these ‘credit default swaps’ (coined 'weapons of mass destruction' by Warren Buffet). A kind of insurance sold by financial institutions, they insure against a possible default by an issuer of debt. Privately written, in unknown terms, the financial entities are now expecting to cash in. Culminating in the government bail out of the national mortgage company, insurance company, Wall Street firms (not all), the 700 billion dollar bill that doesn’t state the ‘value’ of these assets (though includes an option for a stock injection plan! with preferred stock) was finally passed by the congress. The US government has never been so directly involved in the financial market since the Great Depression. Has America gone social? I doubt it. But look at how time has changed the financial world: the investments of 'long-term' securities, savings and pension plans aren’t secure, contrasted by the banning of short-selling, making a quick buck, futures. Gambling was somehow deemed legal - outside of the casinos, certain Native American reservations and the state of Nevada. Deregulation on Wall Street had reinvented the art of speculation - borrowing shares and betting on the fact that their value will go down in order to pocket the difference, accounting for potentially the largest purchase of nothingness (devalued stock- assets without price) in history. What happened to the coined ‘treadmill of progress’ in the 'United States of Capital?'

Returning to Boym, briefly, one value of reflective nostalgia is its defense of idleness and of recapturing leisure time. ‘Time is money,’ she says, ‘but we want time that is not money.’