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Surplus to Requirement in Ireland By Rik Loose and Susan Mc Feely

Modern science attempts to make the impossible possible by trying to make everything visible. Now that technology more or less superimposes itself on science, we have come very close to believing in the delusion that this can be realised. The problem is, as we know, that there is a real that remains forever outside the grasp of our symbolic effort or scientific law. Science postulates that there is knowledge in the real. However, there is an outside of logos. There is, as Lacan says in seminar XVII, something that remains in excess of logos. This excess of the real of jouissance is what science aims to conquer but what capitalism knows very well how to exploit. Capitalism knows how to use this structural aspect of the human being; that is to say, it knows how to play into the subject’s relationship to the object that was ceded. Capitalism takes profit from this object and how it can function for the subject. It is very good at hiding the object as ceased   by zooming in on the jouissance (surplus-value) as something that can be realised. In that sense we have become subjects of the free market of consumerism.

Indeed, we need objects and we need ideals. In capitalism the ideal has become an object of jouissance away from the object as cause. Capitalism knows the object-cause very well but has replaced it with the object of jouissance. Once we were to a large extent dependent on discourse, now we tend to become more and more addicted to objects. In the discourse of capitalism we are encouraged to flow around in a continuous circuit of jouissance. However, as we said, every discourse has its overflow, its waste-product. So if for whatever (perhaps financial, geographic, social, legal, mental) reason one cannot participate in this discourse one tends to become a waste-product (homeless, addict, migrant, etc.).

In her recent article “The Child of the Global Market”[i] Najles highlights, when considering the false discourse of capitalism that psychoanalysis must take into consideration segregation. It calls everything into question; church, state, and the law as a consequence of the progress of science. And to what cost? Najles states the following consequence: “the path of segregation as a loss of status for the speaking subject, a fall into the status of the object of manipulation by the market” [ii]

In Ireland, last week this was clearly demonstrated when Clerys, a retailer with a long tradition in Irish culture and an institution where some were employed for over 40 years was sold. Within half an hour of this institution being sold to a developer and a hedge fund, the staff was literally locked out of the shop never to come back. These situations were men and women are made into things allows us to think about Lacan’s hypothesis of “an entire world steering onto a path of segregation”[iii], which Najles suggests allows us to “make an equivalent of a pile of human bodies(waste) with one of broken television sets, old refrigerators and cars in a scrap yard”[iv].

[i] Naijles.A.R (2015) The Child of the Global Market, Lacunae, Issue 10, P.173- 191

[ii] Ibid P.177

[iii] Ibid P.177

[iv] Ibid P.177

Translations : Espagnol, Anglais, Italien, Néerlandais