Look at any news outlet today and you will find references to the financial bailout of large corporations. While it is restricted right now to financial and automotive sectors, I won’t be surprised if it expands. There are a number of arguments in support of and against this bailout; however I want to take a different stance altogether: it isn’t happening at all.
Most people reading this are at least familiar with the factors that led to this: collapse of the financial market due to poor choices from most parties involved as an attempt to get more money. Some have argued it goes back to subprime lending in the1990s. I will suggest a specific date: 15 August 1971. What was important then? This was the date that the US, under President Nixon, began to move away from the “gold standard” of Bretton Woods. I am not against this action, but its most important action was the dereferencing of the US dollar. The dollar became a free-floating object without a fixed reference; it became a simulated identity. As other monetary values (British Pound, Deutsche Mark, etc) became dereferenced as well, the financial market became both simulated and fragmentary. The system became self-referential and self-perpetuating. As the money flowed, monetary value was no longer limited to some externally-imposed “Real.” Because of this dereferencing, we saw an increase of trade and stocks to the point where the total “value” of the US (measured by the GDP) was traded roughly every 3 weeks in the markets. The amount traded annually far exceeded not just the GDP of a particular nation, but that of all nations combined, and this was just for one system!
The problem, however, happens to be found in the desire to recreate external references to this simulation. The product of this recreation of reference is not a return to the original object, but rather a new simulation. We have gone through so many simulations and simulacra that we are unable to relate to the original object and can only see it as another simulation in a procession of simulacra. The”bailout as well as the financial crisis is not real. It is just another game of simulation which results in the production of more simulations and the production of more desire. The crisis is a non-event. It cannot be avoided, yet it is not real either.
Some want to use this non-event as a call to socialism (e.g. Badiou and even Bush). Others want to argue for capitalism and free-market. I would like to argue that the only true “solution” to the bailout is to take the dereferencing of monies to its ultimate conclusion: the removal recognizing the lack of their value. Since 1971, money has bean meaningless outside of the financial market. It was an illusion created to produce more money. It serves no purpose except to perpetuate itself. In a money-less society (yes, it is another simulation), there would be no financial crisis. It is in this society that we today live, but like the death of God in Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, it has not yet been recognized. There is no bailout because there is no financial crisis. There is no financial crisis because there is no economy to have a financial crisis.