A Note on the Real Economy



[O]ne recurrently tempting alternative has been to offer a theory of economy based on a distinction between real and artificial needs. But the concept of “real” need is itself, as Marx himself showed, twinned indissolubly with that of profit. The notion of the bare minimum, the strict necessaire, emerges coevally with that of surplus value as a “gift of nature.” To found an economic anthropology on such a concept of absolute need, the bare minimum, is to mistake the bare existence of the wage laborer for the very model of life itself.
— Simon Jarvis, ‘Adorno, Marx, Materialism’

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