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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 - Economy, Debt, Inequality, Austerity - November 6.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANT204H1
Professor
Saul Cohen
Semester
Fall

Description
November 6, 2013. Lecture 9 – Economy, Debt, Inequality, Austerity Tense, Event, Ethical Substance  E. Povinelli’s Economics of Abandonment (2011) o Opens with The People That Walk Away From Omelas  Metaphor for the suffering required for others to be happy  The lumpen  The people that accept it and move on with their lives vs. the people that never stop brooding over it vs. the people that leave and opt out o Tense: We are not engaged with the “durative present”, the right now. We are engaged with the “future anterior”, the place in which it will have all been worth it.  No one is bold enough to say that they are right now okay with child labour, poverty stricken homelessness, factory farming, etc. They all claim that one day it will have all made sense. o Event: There is no event. There is no hurricane Katrina, or tsunami, or war. There is just the “ordinary, chronic, and cruddy dispersal of suffering”.  There is no beginning or end to the suffering, there is no specific thing to give money to and then it will be fixed and over.  This is in contrast to the extreme events that we are more likely to pay attention to. o Ethical Substance: Suffering is a “vital organ” in our own happiness means there is no disentangling that. There is no separating that vital organ from our happiness. There is no feeling bad for those who suffer and that being the end of it.  You either remove people from the broom closet under a reorganization of society where you are willing to compromise your happiness and what you have OR  You admit out loud that your happiness is more important than those in the broom closet.  Some people are ethical, some people are the substance of our ethics  The righteous dopefiend cannot be ethical, the people in the broom closet, the suffering Palestinian, etc. etc. cannot be ethical; but the fact that they EXIST and we feel bad about it makes US ethical Debt  David Graeber o Explains the IMF as being a giant institution that goes around breaking people’s kneecaps o Thinks third world debt should be forgiven o Interviewer makes the quote below that prompted him to write a book about debt  “Surely one has to pay one’s debts!” (What are the assumptions here?) o Assumption that the lender and the debtor are equal o Assumption that we always DO pay our debts o The entire system is based on the risk that the debt may never be repaid o Repaying debt, someone gets you out of the broom closet and you kind of owe them, like one owes their parents; you don’t pay this back materially or financially but by reciprocating the system and perpetuating it  70s oil crisis o Countries with oil were flooded with money they didn’t have before, invested them in Western banks o Western banks were flooded with money they didn’t have before,
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