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Chanan, M. (2015). Loaded Subjects: Psychoanalysis, Money and the Global Financial Crisis Edited by David Bennett. Pp. 258. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 2012, £16.99. Free Associations, 16(2):59-63.

(2015). Free Associations, 16(2):59-63


Loaded Subjects: Psychoanalysis, Money and the Global Financial Crisis Edited by David Bennett. Pp. 258. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 2012, £16.99

Review by:
Michael Chanan

Delivering a televised lecture recently on the topic of Free Music in a Capitalist Society, Iggy Pop said he didn't become a musician in order to get rich: ‘I only ever wanted the money because it was symbolic of love’.1 Should we hear this simply as a naive confession? Or is it symptomatic of an imbrication between two psychological zones which are both subject to the excessive, accumulative, unsatisfiable desire that Jacques Lacan called jouissance? After all, Iggy Pop would hardly be the only one to think this way.

The problem in a nutshell is that money is not valued for what it is as much as what it stands for. But the money symbol is highly promiscuous and may stand, or stand in, for many things, real and illusory. Love measured in terms of money is not love any more, but say, an illusion of commodified celebrity. Or a plot device in some TV detective show where money becomes a motive for murdering a relative, in which love is negated. The rapacious desire for money can be murderous in many different ways, but the moral of such tales is that the culprit unmasked is also bound to lose the money for which they have murdered, not just because the criminal may not profit from their crime, but because money and love are incommensurate, and they have transgressed by acting on an impossible exchange of value in the unconscious. As Stephen Frosh writes in these pages, ‘the intervention of money and economics into psychoanalysis shows the impossibility of a pure relation of love in a society that is structured around dominance and inequality’ (p. 224).


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