Derrida and economics : the economics of depression
Derrida and Economics analyses two essays of Jacques Derrida on the Public and Democracy, alongside other essays reflecting these political works. However, Derrida's political thought will be taken seriously by emphasising Economics before Politics. Economics will be viewed as a detour, a detour inflecting every attempt to present a meaningful political position or stable political realm. For Derrida, economics has the force of an oblique ruse. Derrida ADd BconoDdcs aligns Derrida's view of economics with the Eighteenth Century realisation that a stable SOciety, analogous to the Antique ideal of the Polis, is neither a common goal nor a proper object for Political philosophy. Here, Classical economics emerges as an oblique attempt to construct the conditions for the possibility of a political body through economic relations. This epistemological 'en passant' is familiar, in Britain, as Adam Smith's' Invisible Hand'. For Derrida, the equi valent Continental ruse is distinguished by a faith in 'dialectical idealisation'; a process bent upon securing an idealised po 11 tical space, but unable to limit its more speculati ve drifts. If Classical economics represents an attempt to construct the possibility of the Body Politic, Derrida's political essays deconstruct this possibility. His emphasiS upon the 'possible' highlights the effects of risk and competition in an economy that could never comfortably be identified wi th a stable Polt tical realm. For Derrida, economics is not simply an attempt to secure or rewrite more direct Political discourses. As he argues, its every detour is haunted by the possibility of speculative failure. Derrida argues an enthusiasm for economics can also imply a preoccupation with the finitude of the Body Politic. This observation allows him to comment upon the valorisation of death or redundancy in certain poli tical discourses; i. e. those analyses that, in the throes of Depression, remain devoted to the idea of redundancy as though to the object of a renewed political will.