Wealth of Nations

Wealth of Nations
(6–14th June, Trg Slobode, )
Conference (7th and 8th June, SNP, kamerna scena)

Wealth of Nations is a part of the Cinema City festival and consists of an exhibition and a conference. The term ‘Wealth of Nations’ is the title of the seminal book by the Scottish economist Adam Smith, in which he establishes and defends the basics of Liberal Economic Policy. Liberal Economics experienced its peak in the 1990s after the concept of Real Socialism had failed and the global free market had been established. This economy, however, has entered a period of deep crisis in the past few months and it might, for a shorter or longer period, affect the stability of societies all over the planet. The topic of ‘Wealth of Nations’ this year will delve into the influences that the Economic and Financial sectors have on society and consequently, on cultural production.

The aim of both the exhibition and the conference ‘Wealth of Nations’ is to bring together Art, Theory, Social Sciences and Economics, Cultural Studies and Finance in order to discuss the phenomenon of money within different social and historical contexts and meanings. According to its definition money is : a) a measure of value b) a medium of exchange and c) a medium of capital accumulation. The fact is that money is never solely money as a measure of economic value. It is a measure of value that participates in the constitution, and the control and regulation of both the material and nonmaterial (irrational or imaginary) social body/subject and its relations. From such a position, money can be viewed as the basis of social power, as the main element or measure of value, or as a symbolic or numerical abstraction.






It is interesting to see that the field of Finance is really an exclusive field which is well known only to a selected group, which, like priests or shamans, functions within the global banking system. Periodical financial crises over the last two centuries (the current global crisis is apparently the thirteenth) arouse our curiosity about the mechanisms, the structure and the rules of the global system. On the one hand, the Internet is there to help with the easy dissemination of information and, on the other hand, it adds tidal waves of various conspiracy and control theories, which act as disinformation when studying the nature and the control of the spirit and the flow of money.

This is what Marx wrote about money in his notes ‘Power of Money’: ‘If I have no money for travel, I have no need — that is, no real and realisable need — to travel. If I have the vocation to study but no money for it, I have no vocation to study — that is, no effective, no true vocation. On the other hand, if I have really no vocation to study but have the will and the money for it, I have an effective vocation for it.’According to Marx, money, in its role of the external universal medium, transforms the real and essential power of man and nature into an abstract concept, and thus into imperfect and disturbing visions. In the same way, money transforms the real imperfections and visions, essential powers that are impotent in reality and exist only in a person’s imagination, into true essential power and capability. In view of the above, money causes a general deformity of the characteristics of the subject and makes its own attributes appear contradictory. Simmel’s Philosophy is a fundamental criticism of Marx’s political economy although both authors agree that money has various functions (measure of value, medium of exchange and medium of capital accumulation). To Marx, money is the embodiment of abstract labour, and its value is determined by the conditions of production.

Marx believed that capitalist production, with its relationship between money, labour and capital, is responsible for the contradictions of the modern, industrial society. To Simmel, on the other hand, monetary economy as such is the reason for social relationships being soulless. Simmel criticises the ‘economisation’ of money, and places money into the wider concept of human experience. To him money is only loosely connected to a material basis and is, instead, a social phenomenon, a form of human interaction. As Poggi claims, to Simmel money is the central structure and symbol in the historical formation of the modern society.

Finance is simply the monetary activity of managing money. Finance is the production of monetary funds. Viewed like that, money constitutes both the means and the aim of Finance, a means that is an aim in itself and an aim without the means. Simmel believes that the ideal point of money, the same as of Law, is to be the measure of other things without measuring itself.

In his book, State of exception, Agamben analyses states of emergency and claims that the means are always independent of the aim they achieve. The means do not stand in relation to the aim, positioned, instead, in relation to their own mediality. Thus Finance becomes a means without purpose and they financialize only their own financialization. The latest research claims that 97% of the total amount of dollars in circulation is virtual, they only exist as numerical information and only 3% of dollars circulating in the world is real paper money, real cash.

Money as capital and capital as money operates easily within the concepts of commodification, gets integrated into life itself and slowly grows into the wider context of material, into nature and energy (ecocapitalism, energy politics). Marazzi claims that the sectors of accumulation of capital, such as Health, Education and Culture, are the ones which today generate the most revenue and create the most jobs. It is due to the fact that these services, which used to be state owned, are currently undergoing transition into the private sector. On top of that there is Ecology with its privatization and financialisation of nature.

The current situation reflects the new classes and satisfactions, among which is the class of priests, brahmans, who know the secrets, the laws and the processes of the financial world. How long this has been going on without change is clear from the latest researhes into money in Antiquity. William H. Desmonde writes about money bearing divine insignia that was made in temples. Rene Guenon speaks of the symbolic elements of druidic doctrines on Celtic money. The social system has two options in this situation: either the goods and monetary system will fundamentally change or the subjects will have to start learning about the basics of Economy and Finance. Therefore it is essential to build understanding of this complex field of Finance through educating and motivating those who are not privy to financial science and its applications. The question is whether the financial system would collapse if a critical mass of subjects got to understand financial laws, if they understood the system which is based on self-reference and the resulting mystification.

Reference:
Simmel, Georg, The Philosophy of Money (1900) / Ed. by D.Frisby.- L., N.Y.: Routledge. 1995
Deflem, Mathieu ,“The Sociology of the Sociology of Money: Simmel and the Contemporary Battle of the Classics.” (2003) Journal of Classical Sociology 3(1): 67-96
Guénon, René, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (1945), Sophia Perennis, 2001
Marazzi, Christian Measure and Finance (2007) / presented at ‘Measure for measure: a workshop on value from below’, Goodenough College, London, 21st September 2007
Agamben, Giorgio, State of Exception, (2005), University Of Chicago Press
Marx, Karl, Power of Money, (1844) http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/power.htm

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Wealth of Nations

LISTS OF THE PARTICIPANTS:

Izložba / Exhibition:

1.    Daniel Andujar / Street access machine *1996.
2.     Derivart / Hipotecadoria *2007.
3.     Heath Bunting / Skint, the internet beggar *1996.
4.    Heath Bunting / In a possession of the post office credit card
5.     Hempmen / Zaboravi money *2006.
6.     IRWIN (M. Abramović, B. Brecelj) / Namepickers *1988.
7.     Islamsko bankarstvo
8.   Kate Rich / Feral trade *od 2003.
9.     K Foundation / Burn a million quid *1994.
10.    Likvidirane krune
11.    Luchezar Boyadjiev / GastARTbeiter *2000.
12.    Max Kaiser / Hollywood Stock Rxchange *od 1996.
13.   Metahaven / Sealand identity project – Grey cards *2003–2004.
14.    Michael Aschauer / 0EURO *2009
15.     Mladen Stilinović / Kineska posla *2009.
16.    Natalie Jeremijenko and The Bureau of Inverse Technologies / Despodency index
17.    OlaPehrson / NASDAQ vocal index *2003–2004.
18.     Shu Lea Cheang / Agliomania
19.     Slavko Bogdanović / Porez na promet *1970.
20.     Vladimir Todorović / Nildegree *2008
21.    Zajam za privredni preporod Srbije *1989.

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INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “WEALTH OF NATIONS”
7 – 8 June, 11 am – 5 pm
SNP, Chamber Stage

Finances and monetary policy are mostly a matter of interest exclusively of a small circle of devotees. Even the social sciences, broadly speaking, avoided exploring the mutual relation between finances and other aspects of social activities. However, with the serious development of financial crisis some questions, which go behind the narrow sector of economy and finances, have been emerging.

Having experienced the Great Depression in the 30s of the 20th century, and its implications for the beginning of the Second World War, there are many of those who are worried about the further development of the present state of capitalism’s global crisis. The development of so called criticism of finances, is trying to explore other models of economies and relations which bypass the so called monetary ideology and praxis, as dominant form of economic conversion, within the context of symbolic trade.

Syntax “Wealth of Nations” (Adam Smith) is on one hand, an ironic theme for today’s state of liberal economy in crisis, and on the other hand, raises a serious question: what really constitutes value? Is it social interaction, beliefs and fears along with market indexes? To what extent is money nature or culture? Is money equivalent of goods, labour, or is it self-referential?

At the conference participants and speakers, including economists, sociologists, artists, activists, philosophers and culture theoreticians, will try to answer these questions and provoke a wider debate on finances, as the social praxis, and its wider implications in domain of rational and irrational.

June 7th, Sunday

11:00 – 13:00
MAN-DEATH-CREDIT

Slavko Bogdanovic
Stefan Heidenreich
Ralph Heidenreich

15:00 – 17:00
RESOURCES-WEALTH-PROPERTY

Konrad Becker
Matteo Pasquineli
Marko Rakic

June 8th, Monday

11:00 – 13:00
VALUE-ALGORITHM-MAGIC

Darko Pantelic
Felix Stalder

15:00 – 17:00
ART-INVESTMENT-INDEX

Luchezar Boyadziev
Mar Canet
Shu Lea Cheang

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WEALTH OF NATIONS – izložba i konferencija / exhibition and conference
(Bogatsvo naroda)

Programski direktori / Program directors:
, Kristian Lukić

Kustosi / Curators: Vladan Joler, Kristian Lukić,

Urednici konferencije / Conference editors: Kristian Lukić, Gordana Nikolić

Izvršni direktor / Executive director: Natali Beljanski

Produkcijski tim / Production team: Jana Katić, Igor Zarol

Koordinator / Coordinator : Ibis Ćerimagić

IT podrška / IT support: Predrag Tegeltija

Tehnička podrška / Technical support: Pajica Dejanović, Đorđe Popić

Stejdž menadžeri / Stage managers:
Anton Bereš, Ivan Dervišević, Kristina Kaćanski, Dušanka Stepanov

Produkcija / Production:
STATE OF EXIT & THE CREATURES, Novi Sad

Ko-produkcija / Co-production:
Muzej savremene umetnosti Vojvodine, Novi Sad / Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, Novi Sad www.msuv.org

Institut za fleksibilne kulture i tehnologije-NAPON, Novi Sad / Institute for flexible culture and technologies-NAPON, Novi Sad www.napon.org

Umetnička asocijacija-INBOX, Novi Sad / Art Association-INBOX, Novi Sad www.inbox.rs

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