Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Economies of Scarcity versus Economics of Abundance

There is no doubting that jouissance is very exciting to think, as well as to experience physically. Jouissance resides within the economy of desire/abundance, not the economy of want/scarcity. Whereas economics based upon scarcity concerns itself with controlling, conserving, excluding in order to maximize satisfactions, assuming (in the words of elementary textbooks) that “man’s wants are unlimited,” economics of abundance prioritizes giving, enjoying and consuming. It works with words like benefit, rather than profit; it evaluates rather than counts and it is more impressed with treasure than with wealth. Before anyone says that this sort of idealistic thinking is fine for people who can afford it, but that scarcity will always dominate the thoughts and actions of most human beings, we would like to point to the truism that those with the least material goods often place an emphasis upon mutual support, whilst those with the most often seem fearful of losing them, are worried that their time will be wasted and are mean with their emotions. We insist that it is the interaction between people and things, not the amount or nature of the things, that determines the nature of economic thought,as is well demonstrated in the gift-exchange systems of non-market economies, where feasting and luxury are central to the notion of welfare.
Freud taught us to think of economies in contrast to topographies of desire, though his thinking was firmly grounded in ideas about expenditure and investment of energy

Pamela Shurmer-Smith and Kevin Hannam Worlds of Desire, Realms of Power: A Cultural Geography page 119-20

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