Objects of the Archive

Is it any wonder, then, that the “discourse of the miser” has emerged as the dominant mode of being among the world’s economic elite and their underlings? What does $7 000 000 000 000 look like? Is it even an object of possible experience? Or is it, like the Kantian “noumenal object,” something that is known (or suspected) to exist, even though it cannot be experienced directly through the senses? (For example, the universe AS A WHOLE is known to exist yet cannot be a sensible object; likewise, but also somewhat dissimilar, is the existence of God, which is entirely negative, that is, the existence of God takes on the contours of positivity in proportion to the level of doubt: it is not belief in God that makes God exist, it is doubt.) The crucial difference between $7 000 000 000 000 and the universe as a whole (and, even, the existence of God) is that $7 000 000 000 000 is entirely fictional: it is purely an object of the archive, each dollar is a byte of information in the collection. The fictional status of money in no way detracts from truth-value or truth-effects—in fact, this is what sustains the monetary system: the truth, after all, is structured like a fiction (Lacan). The idea of the miser is compatible with the notion of the archive put forth: today’s miser is busy collecting information that resembles money. (Also, the deregulation of banks has allowed money to pass into this new form of “spectral-information;” essentially, banks no longer need to have money in order to loan money, which has resulted in the shift from the good old fashioned “discourse of the capitalist” to “the discourse of the miser.”)

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