Public seminar

Pricing Time: Remarks on the Ontology of Finance

A public seminar by Beirut based philosopher Ray Brassier moderated by Bassam el Baroni

June 23, 2017 19:00Huis Oostpool, Arnhem

With this seminar Open! partner DAI MA Art Praxis inaugurates APRiCot phase 2, an advanced platform for DAI’s Associate PhD Research Collective and its distinguished guests. APRiCot irregularly opens up to DAI’s master students and to other interested audiences. For live coverage of the event, please go to the Open! Blog where DAI's associate PhD researcher David Maroto will share his first impressions and notes with you.

Suhail Malik’s 2014 paper, ‘The Ontology of Finance’, challenges orthodox Marxian accounts of the connection between capitalism, finance, and politics. Drawing on Nitzan and Bichler’s Capital as Power, Malik argues that capital accumulation is not propelled by self-valorizing value but by the differential logic of pricing. In Malik’s words, “administered prices make explicit that price is the medium of capital accumulation qua power-ordering.” In finance capital, price becomes an abstract variable independent of its incarnation in concrete assets: it is no longer a measure of value, only of itself. Thus, Malik argues, financialization is not a species of capitalization; rather, capitalization is a species of financialization. Since the logic of pricing involves a binding of time, it is through pricing as time-binding that capital exerts social power. But capital’s time-binding power cannot be challenged by resorting to extant models of political action: collective human agency does not offer a credible counter-power against the power-ordering exerted by pricing. Since derivatives markets are the medium of pricing, the suggestion seems to be that financial speculation is the proper medium in which to countermand capitalism’s power. This seminar will examine the key moves in Malik’s argument and critically appraise its political ramifications.


Ray Brassier, Bassam el Baroni.


Free entry.

Huis Oostpool, Nieuwstraat 58, 6811 HX Arnhem, the Netherlands, Organised in collaboration with: Walter Books in Arnhem and HEAD CCC Research in Geneva.