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narrative arc

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Written by adswithoutproducts

August 16, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Posted in form, markets

2 Responses

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  1. I think you’re really blogging brilliantly of late; the marketwatch surely does make good fodder.

    The discourse of the unregulated/self-regulating market really is the leading edge of ideological lunacy; it’s always a pleasure to note to undergrads that the “free market” is the most regulated object in the world.

    There may be a logical slippage between all the narrrative charts and the “story of the market” (as opposed to the stories people tell about the market’s current state). I would argue that the story of the market begins where narrative ends.

    By which I mean: all those narrative shapes are tales of disorder rising and then resolved; the peak is, as one has it, “maximum confusion.” The stories end when forces of disorder are brought to heel and then successfully contained by the act of narrative itself.

    The market, over its long durée, is meant to take the same shape as “progress”: not an arc but an endless ascent, which has peaks and valleys only when one looks at little slices. The market’s great dream (at least from Smith and Ricardo to Keynes and Dexter White) lies exactly in its non-narrative movement. The true market is post-historical, in some technical sense. It desires to unfold its logic after disorder has been resolved.

    But of course there are other ways to narrativize the market: by focusing on specific intercapitalist conflicts, Kondratieff cycles, world-empires of accumulation, or periodic crises of overaccumulation. One might say there is a tension between the narrative and non-narrative accounts of the market, and that this tension is one of the things that gives charge to (and is, one hopes, given charge in return by) culture. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, just sort of thinking this morning; this may just be a way of rephrasing the inherent contradictions of capitalism within the frame of “narrative.” But we can see that there are two kinds of economic histories: narrative and non-narrative, the historical and the post-historical, the Robert Brenner and the Gary Clark kinds — and that the latter has, whatever its empiricism, a very particular ideological payload. The former too, I suppose…

    jane

    August 18, 2007 at 11:47 am

  2. Jane,

    Excellent point. And of course you’re right. The next step to to make explicit the rhythms and counter-rhythms that together compose this situation. But the conflict of narrativity and non-narrativity defines the song, for sure…

    More soon…

    CR

    August 21, 2007 at 7:36 pm


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