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Tricky Money: Auto Italia
Transcript of Tricky Money: Auto Italia
[…] I reflected that there is nothing less material than money, since any coin whatsoever (let us say a coin worth twenty centavos) is, strictly speaking, a repertory of possible futures. Money is abstract, I repeated; money is the future tense. It can be an evening in the suburbs, or music by Brahms; it can be maps, or chess, or coffee; it can be the words of Epictetus teaching us to despise gold; it is a Proteus more versatile than the one on the Isle of Pharos. It is unforeseeable time, Bergsonian time, not the rigid time of Islam or the Porch. The determinists deny that there is such a thing in the world as a single possible act, id est an act that could or could not happen; a coin symbolizes man’s free will.
Jorge Luis Borges
University of Leicester School of Management
Auto Italia South East
February 12th, 2014
Modern secularism, and its companion Protestantism, do not usher in an era in which human consciousness is liberated from supernatural manifestations; the essence of the Protestant (or capitalist) era is that the power over this world has passed from God to God’s negation, God’s ape, the Devil. And already Luther had seen in money the essence of the secular, and therefore of the demonic. The money complex is the demonic, and the demonic is God’s ape; the money complex is therefore the heir to and substitute for the religious complex, an attempt to find God in things.
The most primitive form of trade, "silent" trade, has features which we have already noticed in the cult of Hermes. In "silent" trade the parties to the exchange never meet: the seller leaves the goods in some well-known place; the buyer takes the goods and leaves the price. The exchange generally takes place at one of those points which are sacred to Hermes - a boundary point such as a mountaintop, a river bank, a conspicuous stone or a road junction.
N. O. Brown, 1947, 'Hermes the Thief: The Evolution of a Myth', Vintage.
Anton Fugger 1493-1560
The Flash Crash
'What is Money?' 'Nothing': that's the only possible answer. But it works. Money works because in our heads, yes, we don't think of it as nothing. And because entire networks of institutions – here I'll mention only banks and the pricing system – emerged from this same falsehood and established themselves on its basis, making it their business to hide this nothingness from view.
So money works. And its most important work is to secure its future: in other words to make sure we go on desiring it in [the] future too.
R Willert, in Beuys, et al, 2010, What is Money? A Discussion
Norman O Brown, ‘Filthy Lucre’, in "Life Against Death"
'Mephistopheles', Goethe, Faust
There is a form of divination associated with Hermes called cledonomancy [...]: at dusk as the lamps are being lit the petitioner leaves a "coin of local money" at the image of Hermes, whispers the question he hopes to have answered, puts his hands over his ears, and walks away. When he takes his hands from his ears the first words he hears contain the oracle's reply. All the better if the words are uttered by a child or a fool, someone clearly incapable of calculating an effect.
Lewis Hyde, 1998, Trickster makes this World: Mischief, Myth and Art: 133
The oracle of "Hermes-of-the-Marketplace"
Yet money, and all it symbolizes, is the root of all evil in a deeper sense than this. Viewed from outside the system, money can be seen to do something even more insidious. It subtly eliminates the very concept of evil.
Alan MacFarlane, 1987, The Culture of Capitalism
Erinnre dich: hast selbst es unterschrieben!
Erst heute nacht! Du standst als großer Pan,
Der Kanzler sprach mit uns zu dir heran:
"Gewähre dir das hohe Festvergnügen,
Des Volkes Heil, mit wenig Federzügen."
Du zogst sie rein, dann wards in dieser Nacht
Durch Tausendkünstler schnell vertausendfacht.
Damit die Wohltat allen gleich gedeihe.
So stempelten wir gleich die ganze Reihe,
Zehn, Dreißig, Fünfzig, Hundert sind parat.
Ihr denkt euch nicht, wie wohls dem Volke tat.
Seht eure Stadt, sonst halb im Tod verschimmelt,
Wie alles lebt und lustgenießend wimmelt!
Obschon dein Name längst die Welt beglückt,
Man hat ihn nie so freundlich angeblickt.
Das Alphabet ist nun erst überzählig,
In diesem Zeichen wird nun jeder selig.
Und meinen Leuten gilts für gutes Gold?
Dem Heer, dem Hofe gnü zu vollem Sold?
So sehr michs wundert, muß ichs gelten lassen.
Goethe, Faust, Part 2, Act 1: The 'Paper Money Scene'
Despicable Me, Universal Pictures, 2010
It goes without saying that this history of the devil would be Marxist [...]. The devil alters significantly according to eras, events, classes and class conflicts, peoples and states. His history would uncover the underside of official histories, and much more besides. Right up the present day, every era, every people, every class – and every group, every political party – has had its devil, has seen it, conjured it up, made it, lived it, pursued it and immolated it, only to resuscitate it in order to kill it anew.
Lefebvre, H, 1995, Introduction to Modernity
Trickster, Devil, Fool, Money
Paper money's unholy trinity
Source: Zemon-Davies, 1975, Society and Culture in Early Modern France