The Society of the Spectacle: a Poetical Depletion of Life

The Society of the Spectacle: a Poetical Depletion of Life

  • Submitted By: Job707
  • Date Submitted: 11/11/2008 6:02 PM
  • Category: Philosophy
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  • Page: 26
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The Society of the Spectacle: A Poetical Depletion of Life

By Mohamed Mbaye

Our realization that the recent paralysis of our credit systems threatens to destroy our society’s economic base has frightened many of us but also caused some of us to wonder why the “best and brightest” among our economic managers, who benefit the most from the system but who also should have the necessary competency and ethical skills to manage, regulate, and supervise it either utterly failed to stop or actually encouraged economic practices they knew to be socially harmful? That is, we ask why was it the case that their expert manipulations of ingenious speculative strategies designed to maximize profits actually blinded them to the terrible risks and consequences that would follow from founding our basic financial systems on investment practices they knew to be fraudulent? This paper of course lacks the scope necessary to provide an adequate critical analysis of the most important factors that compelled our financial systems to take a cannibalistic turn. We can only at this time offer an examination of the nature of one aspect of our economic system that will help shed light to some of its inherent irrationalities: our pathological relation to the commodity world or the ways in which our effort to shape our lives according to the norms embodied in commodities cause us to ignore their destructive impact on our person and society. In other words, Guy Debord’s concept of the “society of the spectacle”[i] will provide the intellectual vista for delineating the logic of economic arrangements whose highest fulfillment actually constitutes a serious depletion of our society’s material and spiritual resources. This critical project obviously constitutes only an initial step in our attempt to tackle the economic uncertainty and crisis of confidence that now plague our society;...

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