Download Global Magic: Technologies of Appropriation from Ancient by Alf Hornborg PDF

By Alf Hornborg

Modern inspiration on economics and know-how is not any much less magical than the realm perspectives of non-modern peoples. This booklet finds how our rules approximately development and development forget about how cash and machines all through heritage were used to take advantage of much less prosperous elements of global society. The argument severely explores a center flooring among Marxist political ecology and Actor-Network Theory.

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Additional info for Global Magic: Technologies of Appropriation from Ancient Rome to Wall Street

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This intrinsic asymmetry between market actors, inherent in their divergent assets, applies regardless of whether there are asymmetries in the physical substance of the exchange. A fourth observation on the peculiarity of money is that “it is a form of social power that has no inherent limit” (Harvey 2010: 43). There is always a limit to the amount of physical assets a person can own, but there is no inherent limit to the amount of money he or she can command. Thus, there is no limit to the amount of money a human can desire.

What they refer to): an index relates to its referent through contiguity, an icon through similarity, and a symbol through convention. A money sign, whether a coin, a paper bill, a check, or an electronic digit, does not generally refer to a specific commodity or service in any of these three ways. Although a specific money object can contextually evoke, for instance, the labor or sale that it represents, or its donor, or the monarch or nation whose imprint it bears, or even the purchase it is destined to perform, its fundamental property is its capacity to assume any meaning at all that its owner bestows upon it.

The rationality of such technological progress then as now hinges on the relative prices of labor and resources. The logic of having a water mill built instead of purchasing slaves is essentially the same as using a vacuum cleaner instead of hiring a housemaid. In both cases, we could add, the owners of technology are able to imagine that technological progress has done away with degrading, low-wage toil. In both cases, however, a closer familiarity with the socioeconomic conditions under which the new technology is manufactured and maintained might have given them a different perspective.

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