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By Georges Bataille

So much Anglo-American readers comprehend Bataille as a novelist. The Accursed proportion presents a good creation to Bataille the thinker. right here he makes use of his targeted monetary conception because the foundation for an incisive inquiry into the very nature of civilization. not like traditional monetary types in accordance with notions of shortage, Bataille's idea develops the idea that of extra: a civilization, he argues, finds its order so much sincerely within the therapy of its surplus strength. the result's a super mixture of ethics, aesthetics, and cultural anthropology that demanding situations either mainstream economics and ethnology.

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19 As for the objects the "merchants" brought back from their travels, they did not con­ sider them to be mere commodities. On their return, they did not have them carried into their house in the daylight. "They waited for nightfall and for a favorable time. " 20 Ar^ article of exchange, in these^jactices,L was n o t a thing; it was not reduced to^Tie inertia, the lifelessness of the profane world. made of it was a sjgn_ofg_lory, and the "object itself'hadJ:he^adiance_of^jory. By givingjjjnej^hfbited one's wealth and one^s good fortune,-^e*sjowefy^fhe "merchant" was the man-wFo-gives, so much/so thaFRTs first concern on returning from an expedition was with offering a banquet to which he invited his confreres, who went home laden with presents.

It is the stubborn determination to treat as a disposable andjjsable tAingjhat whose essence is sacred, that_whichjs^ completely removed from the profane utilitarian_sphere, where the hand — unscrupulously and for servile'ends — raises the hammer and nails the timber. But ambiguity_encurnbers "rfie"°pfofane''bperatioHjust_as it emptfe<^^re^ ; veb)e^^nc^oJFj^s_meaning and changes it into an apparent^comedy, _,. This compromise given in our nature heralds those linked series of deceptions, exploitations and manias that give a temporal order to the apparent unreason of history.

The acquisition of rank. Doubtless potlatch is not reducible to the desire to lose, but what it brings to the giver is not the inevitable increase of return gifts; it is the rank which it confers on the one who has the last word. Prestige, glory and rank should not be confused with power. Or if prestige is power, this is insofar as power itself escapes the considerations of force or right to which it is ordinarily reduced. It must be said, further, that the identity of the power and the ability to lose is fundamental.

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