New Criticals


The contention that the logic of debt structures or conditions the existence of money is structurally related to Jacques Derrida's work on the relationship between writing and speech. Derrida famously argued that Western philosophy had privileged speech over writing throughout its history:

I would wish rather to suggest that the alleged derivativeness of writing, however real and massive, was possible only on one condition: that the "original," "natural," etc. language had never existed, never been intact and untouched by writing, that it had itself always been a writing. [8] 

Describing the hierarchical structure that subordinated writing to speech, Derrida systematically traced the organizing binaries from Plato to Freud, extending through philosophy, history, society. Derrida eventually tied to all instances of secondarity to a cultural preference for all things immediately present. Similarly, the desire for a fully present, face-to-face commercial exchange influenced the centrality of money to economic theory and history.