Tag: Faustus

Excerpt: Joseph Vogl, The Specter of Capital

This brings us to one of the most important component of the new social law and the oikodicy, a defining feature of homo economicus and his milieu, the market. Economic beings are reliable on account of their very limitations, they are social due to their lack of sociality, and it is only through their self-interested participation in trade that they can be brought to serve a purpose extrinsic to themselves. Above all, they best exercise control over themselves and others if they are left uncontrolled. There is nothing — and this will be one of the leitmotifs of the liberalism to come — more harmful than a government that wants to do good. On the contrary, what is called for here is a Mephistophelian agenda, one that takes its cue from a power “which would do evil constantly and constantly does good,” inadvertently producing what is best for all. Civil society, which constitutes itself as the milieu of homo economicus, is governed by the principle of nontransparency or inscrutability; there is no benevolent political actor, possessed of an all-encompassing overview and piercing insight, who might be willing and able to do what is good for everyone.

Joseph Vogl, The Specter of Capital (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015), p.24.

Excerpt: Joseph Vogl, The Specter of Capital

The failed French experiment in financing state debt led many contemporaries to recall the paper money project devised by the infamous economist and schemer, John Law, to avert state bankruptcy following the death of Louis XIV. Law’s scheme involved a complicated system of land mortgages, jont-stock companies, and paper currency — and in this he is said to have been one of the models for Mephistopheles in Faust, Part II.

Excerpt: Joseph Vogl, The Specter of Capital (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015)