Hors d'oeuvre

volume 2, number 4
November, 2002
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In the opening pages of The Accursed Share, Georges Bataille introduces a distinction between restrictive economy and general economy. The charge is clear: while economics has concerned itself with economic life, this concern has been manifest in relation to a restrictive economy which encompasses only a fraction of life. Against these restrictions Bataille sets out the project of empirical and historical study of the general economy, setting out an ‘economics’ which would not focus narrowly on production or even consumption of goods and services, but would open itself to all that exceeds that economy and is yet integral to it – waste, pleasure, sex, death, and all the other human activities that are life but that do not register under a restrictive conception of the economic subject as homo œconomicus.

... Against this restrictive economy of organization it might be possible to begin to designate a field of what could be called a ‘general economy of organization’. This general economy of organization would not necessarily even mention specific organizations but would be more interested in organization as a basic social and political process. This organization hence both exceeds and makes ‘organizations’ possible.