Political Theory 35 (4):468 - 493 (2007)
|Abstract||In this essay I recover the juridical applications of 'interest' in Roman law, and examine how their initial relationship to financial practices shifted, for a theoretical appreciation of interest-related subjectivity. Drawing on Hegel's discussion of Roman law, I explore the retrospective narrative of subjectivity constructed by the adjudication of interests before the term 'interest' came to apply to money. Examining Albert Hirschman's argument that rationality of interest derives from its origins as a euphemism for usury, I describe how the verbal change reflects the incursion of money into legal terrain that previously excluded it, representing a moment of categorical erosion within the law. I argue that monetary inflation is a critical context for interpreting the effects of this categorical erosion on interest-related subjectivity. Inflation replaces the retrospective narrative of identity with one that is future-oriented and is no longer determined at any single site of adjudication, and therefore remains contested.|
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