Maurizio Lazzarato - The Making Of The Indebted Man
Debt—both public debt and private debt—has become a major concern of economic and political leaders. In The Making of the Indebted Man,
Maurizio Lazzarato shows that, far from being a threat to the
capitalist economy, debt lies at the very core of the neoliberal
project. Through a reading of Karl Marx’s lesser-known youthful writings
on John Mill, and a rereading of writings by Friedrich Nietzsche,
Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Michel Foucault, Lazzarato
demonstrates that debt is above all a political construction, and that
the creditor/debtor relation is the fundamental social relation of
Debt cannot be reduced to a simple economic
mechanism, for it is also a technique of “public safety” through which
individual and collective subjectivities are governed and controlled.
Its aim is to minimize the uncertainty of the time and behavior of the
governed. We are forever sinking further into debt to the State, to
private insurance, and, on a more general level, to corporations. To
insure that we honor our debts, we are at once encouraged and compelled
to become the “entrepreneurs” of our lives, of our “human capital.” In
this way, our entire material, psychological, and affective horizon is
upended and reconfigured.
How do we extricate ourselves from this impossible situation? How do
we escape the neoliberal condition of the indebted man? Lazzarato argues
that we will have to recognize that there is no simple technical,
economic, or financial solution. We must instead radically challenge the
fundamental social relation structuring capitalism: the system of debt.