The Sun Gives without Receiving<sup>1</sup>

in Walter Benjamin's Grave

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780226790039
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226790008 | DOI:
The Sun Gives without Receiving1

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This chapter presents an essay that depicts the peasant image of a large-scale capitalist enterprise in Colombia as awesomely scaled and endowed with the ability to destroy life as well as bestow riches. The essay takes the readers into the heart of George Bataille's contribution to twentieth-century thought, which entwined excess with transgression to create a radically different history and science of political economy, capitalism, and communism that focused not on production but on spending. Bataille termed excesses such as expenditures on luxury, war, cults, the construction of sumptuary monuments, games, spectacles, arts, and perverse sexual activity as “unproductive.” He insisted that expenditure, when defined as unproductive and nonutilitarian, clearly accents loss “that must be as great as possible for that activity to take on its true meaning.”

Keywords: capitalist enterprises; George Bataille; political economy; capitalism

Chapter.  10427 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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