The Economic Blob That Ate the World: Jean-Pierre Dupuy on the “Markets”


Modern societies, entirely dominated by Economy, are in grave and imminent danger of perishing from an evil that they themselves have produced. Politicians, no matter that every last one of them is bewildered and bamboozled, ought at least be able to grasp one key insight of economic thought, which worked out a theory of self-organizing complex systems long before this type of explanation became part of the standard repertoire of the physical and biological sciences during the second half of the twentieth century: self-organizing complex systems are capable of producing what are called emergent phenomena. These phenomena give the impression of being intentional, but in fact they are subjectless processes. It is altogether remarkable that the same expression, “subjectless processes,” should have been used by both the champion of economic neoliberalism, Friedrich Hayek, and the father of structural Marxism, Louis Althusser. At the outset I likened “the markets” to a sluggish, craven, and dumb beast. But they might also be pictured as a gelatinous and porous blob (The Blob was a famous horror film, as it happens), dumb as well, but extremely dangerous, always lying in wait, ready to swallow up individuals and whole peoples— without, however, having the least ill intention toward any of them.1

1. Dupuy, Jean-Pierre (2014-10-01). Economy and the Future: A Crisis of Faith (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) (Kindle Locations 2718-2727). Michigan State University Press. Kindle Edition.

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