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Conférences passées . Past Lectures
4 October 2016

An Economy in Crisis – A Crisis of Civilization

Anthropology of Money, Debt, and Time

International Lecture by Prof. Marcel HÉNAFF, Ph.D.

  • Tuesday, 25th of October 2016, 6:30-8 PM
  • University of Luxembourg, Campus Limpertsberg, Bâtiment des Sciences, BS 001
    (162A, avenue de la Faïencerie, Luxembourg)

Marcel Hénaff, is a philosopher and anthropologist, professor at the University of California, San Diego. He has taught at the Universities of Copenhagen, Johns Hopkins, Kyoto and at the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris. He studied anthropology at the University of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

His publications include Sade, the Invention of the Libertine Body (1999); Claude Lévi-Strauss and the Making of Structural Anthropology (1998; 1991); Public Space and Democracy (coed. Tracy Strong, 2001); The Price of Truth. Gift, Money, Philosophy (2010; 2002); Le Don des philosophes. Repenser la réciprocité (2012); Violence dans la raison? Conflit et cruauté (2014); The City in the making (2015; 2008).

His main field of research is political philosophy and anthropology of political institutions, economic relationships, forms of social bond, reciprocity and symbolic practices. His books have been translated from French into English, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Korean. His most important book The price of Truth has received the 2002 Grand Prize of Philosophy of the French Academy.

An Economy in Crisis – A Crisis of Civilization

For more than a century economic crises have been primarily financial crises. Only as a consequence, they become industrial crises. That rather new trend is an expression of the omnipotence of the stock exchange and of speculative capital. Financial bubbles and the catastrophic way in which they burst expose the presence of irrational risks in the manipulation of credit. Our economies dwell in a permanent state of debt whose settlement is endlessly postponed. We now inhabit a culture of debt, programmed, controlled, and renewed by financial institutions that have thus been established as the masters of time.

The culture of debt represents a profound and irreversible break not only with the models of life shared by the most ancient human societies of Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages, organized around the notion of equilibrium, but also with the models of Ancient and Medieval societies (as we called them in the West), which regarded lending with interest with great suspicion and denounced usurers as “thieves of time.” The culture of debt indeed presupposes and develops an entirely different conception of time: time without an end goal other than the growth of profit, and thus devoid of any trans-economic finality, as if a headlong rush into the future had come to be substituted for any true reason for being.

In short: the aim of this talk is to situate the current economic crisis in the global perspective of a shifting paradigm in our vision of time and the very idea of our human collective destiny.

See also:
The Political Bond is not the Social Bond
Alliance, Violence, and Recognition
International Master Class by Prof. Marcel HÉNAFF, Ph.D.
Wednesday, 26th of October 2016, 4-6 PM

Lecture Hénaff – Flyer
PDF 1014.3 kb, 4 October 2016
Voir aussi . See also

University of Luxembourg
Faculty of Law, Economics, and Finance
The Research Unit in Law
Prof. Johan van der Walt, Ph.D.

Department of Public Responsibility
Research Program Financial Responsibility Studies

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