Deleuze and Guatarri Studies 10 (3):336-351 (2016)

Boram Jeong
University of Colorado Denver
In the essay ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’, Deleuze discusses the differences between nineteenth-century capitalism and contemporary capitalism, characterising the former as the spaces of enclosure and the latter as the open circuits of the bank. In contemporary capitalism, ‘[m]an is no longer man enclosed, but man in debt’. Deleuze claims that under financial capitalism, where the primary use of money is self-generation, economic relations are thought in terms of an asymmetrical power relationship between debtor and creditor, rather than an exchange between commodities. Taking up Deleuze's claim, this paper analyses how time functions in the formation of subjectivity under financial capitalism, by focusing on the temporal structure of debt. The indebted are expected to bind themselves to the past, not only in the moment they make a promise to pay back, but from that moment onwards; in this process, a subject finds himself passively subjected to the temporality determined by the condition of indebtedness, and yet he also actively reproduces and imposes the fact of indebtedness on himself by the feeling of guilt. Guilt, arising from the irreversibility of what has been done and resulting in the inability to proceed into the future, is central both to the indebted and the melancholic. Thus a melancholic subject emerges: a subject conditioned by the dominance of the past and the impossibility of the future.
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DOI 10.3366/dls.2016.0230
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