Was Rimbaud An Economist?

L'Horreur économique, by Viviane Forrester.

"L'Horreur Economique" has been a best-seller since its first release in 1996 in France (350 000 ex. In France), also translated in Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian, Korean ... (1). An incredible success-story for a strange book, a hostile pamphlet that seems to be written in one go out in the spirit of anger. Even Forrester's publishers are surprised by the sales in non-western countries. Could its success be due to the particular mood at the end of the millennium? "Globalization has had a consistently bad press in Europe, associated in the public mind with economic ills for which it is not responsible. Bookstores in London, Berlin or Paris carry such titles as "Has globalization gone too far?" [...] A French journalist, Viviane Forrester, entitled her book on the subject: "L'horreur Économique". It is the age-old reflex of shunning the unfamiliar" said Maria Livanos Cattaui (2).
Well, of course, she has not read Forrester. What is the book's first aim? "Just" to try to decode the "pensée unique" (unique thought) and the resolute trend to define the world only by the economic system.
One of her major arguments is the end of employment as we know it (maybe the core of her argument was taken from Jeremy Rifkin, The End of Work, Putman's Sons, New York, 1995). She argues that the so called 'Crisis' is not a crisis at all, but a change of civilisation, a change everybody –economic leaders, politicians, the whole society –fails to recognize, nobody wants to see. We prefer to continue to believe in an unchanged world view world with "work" as its sacred axis. Society persists in humiliating the unemployed by forcing them to look for work when, statistically, it is proven that none will be found.
V. Forrester deconstructs ideologies and tries to dismantle propaganda from the political and economic elites. Especially our economic elites. Political nations, in the worldwide arena, are more and more reduced to mere "municipalities", losing their prerogatives. Through a new definition of its sphere of action, wide as the world, economy is an anarchical (and virtual) free market run by a privileged, computer-literate "caste", new fearless and merciless super-heroes.
What is interesting in Forrester's book is not really in this depiction, but rather in the critique of this dominant ideology i.e. the neo-liberal theory and practice. Even if she does not use this term, she highlights processes of "naturalisation" of socio- economic facts through some "effects of reality". In this regard, Forrester can be said to popularize one of Pierre Bourdieu's fundamental ideas, namely his notion of ideologies' "symbolic violence" (3). "Symbolic" can be very concrete since Viviane Forrester is not reluctant in dealing with elimination or perhaps genocide. For the first time in History, human beings are no longer needed; needed to sustain the profit producing machinery. (4)
Viviane Forrester, this "Nitro-Chanel" (dixit the daily newspaper Libération), was born in 1927 in Paris. She lived through WWII, and has related her experience of Jewess during this period (Ce soir, après la guerre). She's a novelist, an essayist and a literary critic for Le Monde, Le Nouvel Observateur, la Quinzaine litteraire (5) and a member of the Jury Femina.

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L'Horreur Économique
by Viviane Forrester.
Fayard, 1996, 215 p.

(1) According to the publisher Fayard: 300 000 ex. in non- French-speaking publications –about 50 000 in German (Paul Zsolnay Verlag), 50 000 in Italian (Longanesi), etc., and to be released next spring in English (Polity Press).
2) Maria Livanos Cattaui is Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce.
(3) The last three years, Bourdieu becomes willingly engaged in a violent critique of neo-liberalism. See for example Bourdieu P. Contre-feux, Propos pour servir à la résistance contre l'invasion néo-libérale, Paris, Ed. Liber Raisons d'Agir, 1998.
(4) "Overemphasis?  It is what is said "before", when it is still time to know that one fingernail, one strand of hair, one outrage can already constitute the beginning of the worst.  And crimes against mankind are always crimes of mankind.  By it committed." (p. 201, French edition, translated by me)
(5) Bibliography:
Ainsi des exilés (1970, novel, Gallimard et Folio)
Le Grand Festin (1971, novel, Denoël) Virginia Woolf (1973, essay, Quinzaine Littéraire)
Le Corps entier de Marigda (1975, novel, Denoël)
Vestiges (1978, novel, Seuil)
La Violence du calme (1980, essay, Seuil et Points-Seuil)
Les Allées cavalières (1982, novel, Belfond)
Van Gogh ou l'enterrement dans le blés (1983, biography, Seuil et Points-Seuil)
Le Jeu des poignards (1985, novel, Gallimard)
L'OEil de la nuit (1987, novel, Séguier)
Mains (1988, essay, Séguier)
Ce soir, après la guerre (1992, narration, Lattès et Livre de Poche, 1997 Fayard)
L'horreur économique (1996, essay, Fayard)