For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Accursed Share

by Bataille, Georges (1988)


For some years, being obliged on occasion to answer the question" What are you working on?" I was embarrassed to have to say," A book of political economy." Coming from me, this venture was disconcerting, at least to those who did not know me well.(The interest that is …

Key Passage

In a fundamental way, the current system of the USSR, being geared to producing the means of production, runs counter to the workers' movements of other countries, the effect of which tends to reduce the production of capital equipment, increasing that of objects of consumption. But, at least on the whole, these workers' movements are responding to the economic necessity that conditions them just as the Soviet apparatus is responding to its own. The world economic situation is in fact dominated by the development of American industry, that is, by an abundance of the means of production and of the means for increasing them. The United States even has, in theory, the capacity to eventually place the industries of its allies in conditions approximating its own. Thus in the old industrial nations (in spite of current con­trary aspects), the economic problem is becoming a problem not of outlets (already to a large extent questions of outlets have no possible answer), but of consumption of profits without compen­sation. It is doubtful that the juridical basis of production can be maintained. In any case, the present world calls for rapid changes on all sides. Never before was the earth animated by anything like this multiplicity of virtiginous movements. Of course, neither did the horizon ever appear to threaten such great and sudden catas­trophes.  (p.167)


Bataille, Nietzsche, French, Political Economy, Economic Theory, Moral Philosophy


The Accursed Share, Bataille Citations

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