By Anna Kornbluh
In the course of a tumultuous interval while monetary hypothesis begun swiftly to outpace business construction and intake, Victorian monetary reporters normally defined the instability of finance by means of criticizing its inherent artifice drawing power consciousness to what they referred to as "fictitious capital." In a shift that naturalized this artifice, this critique of fictitious capital nearly disappeared via the 1860s, being changed through notions of fickle investor psychology and psychological equilibrium encapsulated within the interesting metaphor of "psychic economy."
In shut rhetorical readings of monetary journalism, political economic system, and the works of Dickens, Eliot, and Trollope, Kornbluh examines the mental framing of economics, one of many 19th century's so much enduring legacies, reminding us that the present dominant paradigm for figuring out monetary quandary has a heritage of its personal. She indicates how novels light up this displacement and ironize ideological metaphors linking psychology and economics, therefore demonstrating literature's targeted facility for comparing rules in procedure. Inheritors of this novelistic venture, Marx and Freud every one enhance a critique of psychic financial system that refuses to naturalize capitalism.
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Additional info for Realizing Capital: Financial and Psychic Economies in Victorian Form
If those millions of people began to argue, it would not be easy to persuade them to obey Queen Victoria, or anything else. Effectual arguments to convince the people who need convincing are wanting. Just so, an immense system of credit, founded on the Bank of England as its pivot and its basis, now exists (69). The retroactive effect of disavowal, its agency in securing contracts financial and social (“I know I did not agree to obey the Queen, nonetheless I will act as if I agreed”/“I know credit is non-grounded; nonetheless I will act as if it is sound”) extends Bagehot’s insights that “in true metaphysics .
Bagehot links this logic of the collective disavowal to what later goes by the name of “ideology” chez Althusser, by explicitly analogizing participation in the financial system to political cohesion: Queen Victoria is loyally obeyed—without doubt and without reasoning—by millions of human beings. If those millions of people began to argue, it would not be easy to persuade them to obey Queen Victoria, or anything else. Effectual arguments to convince the people who need convincing are wanting. Just so, an immense system of credit, founded on the Bank of England as its pivot and its basis, now exists (69).
The contrivance of this displacement, I maintain in coming chapters, provoked Victorian novels to elaborate on the shifting grounds of financial and psychic economy. 24 Fictitious Capital / Real Psyche Capital Poetics To understand how the putatively natural foundation of psychic economy compensated for the unfounded artifice of fictitious capital, it is first necessary to examine in greater detail precisely what “fictitious capital” signified for financial journalists in the mid-Victorian moment.
Realizing Capital: Financial and Psychic Economies in Victorian Form by Anna Kornbluh