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

Man's activity is basically conditioned by this general movement of life. In a sense, in extension, his activity opens up a  new possi­bility to life, a new space (as did tree branches and bird wings in nature). The space that labor and technical know-how open to the increased reproduction of men is not, in the proper sense, one that life has not yet populated. But human activity transform­ing the world augments the mass of living matter with supple­mentary apparatuses, composed of an immense quantity of inert matter, .which considerably increases the resources of available energy. From the first, man has the option of utilizing part of the available energy for the growth (not biological but technical) of his energy wealth. The techniques have in short made it possible to extend -to develop -the elementary movement of growth that life realizes within the limits of the possible.  (p.35)


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


The Accursed Share, Bataille Citations

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