Summarizing The Desire for Mutual Recognition

Chapter 6: The Economic System as a Network of Alienated Reciprocities

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This chapter shows how the characterization of the so-called "economic system" is actually an over-objectification of lived processes shaped by the "rotating otherness" of circulating patterns of alienation that the book has been describing up to this point. The chapter begins by critiquing the idea of an economic system itself as reflecting a standing-outside of lived reality itself and looking at it as if it were a moving entity. The chapter then shifts to going inside the consciousness of a single person--a waiter--and shows how the so-called institutions of the economy are flows of alienated reciprocities that to each actor within them appear "real" owing to the deference that each other actor in the patterning or flow of alienation gives to them. Thus economic analyses such as those of Marx, which is discussed specifically in the chapter, are shown to be no more than approximations of circulating alienated routines made "real" and thing-like by the the flattening effects of the collective false self. The implications for social change of this view are shown as well as being far greater and more hopeful than narrow and often mistaken perspective generated by over-objectified thinking that itself reifies the lived reality of socio-economic processes. 

Peter Gabel