Money is Time: Thoughts on Credit and Crisis

Taking the implications of Benjamin Franklin’s famous phrase ”Time is money” as its starting point, the article explores the relations of money, credit and time with reference to themes as diverse as Walter Benjamin’s understanding of baroque allegory and the current credit crisis. What is it that allows money, especially in the form of credit, to take on a feature usually associated solely with living beings, namely that of reproduction, and moreover, a certain ability to transcend the inescapable finitude and mortality of those living beings? How is it that under the regime of modern consumer capitalism and its ”theological economy” credit becomes the medium of fulfilling the redemptive promise of Christianity? And is it possible that the crisis we are undergoing could help call into question this system and its way of defining reality in terms of private appropriation of wealth and power, and thus also the notion of indivisible and autonomous individual that informs it – and in this way allow us to see that something the individual is always indebted to, namely the moment of irreducible, differential singularity?

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