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For the economists, though, this problem is more apparent the real. Physicists and chemists express all measurements in terms of five fundamental quantities: distance, time, mass, electrical charge and heat. In this way, velocity can be defined as distance divided by time; acceleration is the time derivative of velocity; force is mass times acceleration, etc.

And economists, according to themselves, are able to do the very same thing. Economics, they say, has its own fundamental quantities: the fundamental quantity of the liberal universe is the util, and the fundamental quantity of the Marxist universe is socially necessary abstract labor. Parallel to the real sphere stands the nominal world of money and prices. This sphere constitutes the immediate appearance of the commodity system. But that is merely a derived appearance. In fact, the nominal sphere is nothing but a giant, symbolic mirror. It is a parallel domain whose universal dollar magnitudes merely reflect — sometimes accurately, sometimes not — the underlying real util and abstract labor quantities of production and consumption.

So we have a quantitative correspondence. The nominal sphere of prices reflects the real sphere of production and consumption. How does value theory sort out this correspondence? In the liberal version, the double-sided economy is assumed to be contained in a Newtonian-like space — a container that comes complete with its own invisible laws, or functions, whose role is to equilibrate quantities and prices. However, here, too, there is a clear bifurcation between the real and the nominal.

And here, too, there is an assumed set of rules — the historical laws of motion — that governs the long-term interaction of the two spheres. In this method, discovery takes place through the fusion of experimentation and generalization — a method that liberals apply through testing and prediction albeit mostly of past events , and that Marxists apply through the dialectics of theory and praxis. This difference has two important consequences. In the Marxist case, politics and state are inextricably bound up with production and the economy.

However, since politics and state have no intrinsic rules of their own, they have to derive their logic from the economy — either strictly, as stipulated by structuralists, or loosely, as argued by instrumentalists. To sum up, then, the cosmology of capitalism is built on three key foundations. The first foundation is the separation between economics and politics. The economy is governed by its own laws, whereas politics either is derived from these economic laws or distorts them. The second foundation is a mechanical view of the economy itself — a view that is based on action and reaction, flat functions and the self-regulating forces of motion and equilibrium, and in which the role of the political economist is merely to discover these mechanical laws.

The third foundation is the bifurcation of the economy itself into two quantitative spheres — real and nominal. The real sphere is enumerated in material units of consumption and production utils or socially necessary abstract labor , while the nominal sphere is counted in money prices. But the two spheres are parallel: nominal prices merely mirror real quantities, and the mission of value theory is to explain their correspondence. These foundations of the capitalist cosmology started to disintegrate in the second half of the nineteenth century, with the key reason being the very victory of capitalism.

Note that political economy differed from all earlier cosmologies in that it was the first to substitute secular for religious force. But, like the gods, this secular force was still assumed to be heteronomous; i. The victory of capitalism changed this perception. With the feudal order finally giving way to a full-fledged capitalist regime, it became increasingly apparent that force is imposed not from without, but from within. Instead of heteronomous force, there emerged autonomous power, and that shift changed everything.

With these categories undermined, the presumed automaticity of political economy no longer held true. And with automaticity gone, political economy ceased being an objective science.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

The recognition of power was affected by four important developments. The first development was the emergence of totally new units. By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the notion of atomistic interdependent actors had been replaced by large hierarchical organizations — from big business and large unions to big government and large NGOs — organizations that were big enough to alter their own circumstances as well as to affect one another. The second development was the emergence of new phenomena, unknown to the classical political economists.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, total war and a seemingly permanent war economy had been established as salient features of modern capitalism, features that appeared no less important than production and consumption. Governments started to actively engage in massive industrial and macro stabilization policies , policies that completely upset the presumed automaticity of the so-called economic sphere.

Capitalists incorporated their businesses, and in the process they bureaucratized and socialized the very process of private accumulation. The singular act of labor grew not simpler and more homogenous, but ever more complex, and workers no longer lived at subsistence. Finally, the nominal processes of inflation and finance assumed a life of their own, a life whose trajectory no longer seemed to reflect the so-called real sector. The third development was the emergence of totally new concepts.

With the rise of fascism and Nazism, the primacy of class and production was challenged by a new emphasis on masses, power, state, bureaucracy, elites and systems. Science was increasingly challenged by anti-scientific vitalism and postism. The combined result of these developments was a growing divergence between universality and fracture. On the one hand, the regime of capital has become the most universal system ever to organize society: its rule has spread to every corner of the world and incorporated more and more aspects of human life.

On the other hand, political economy — the cosmology of that order — has been fatally fractured: instead of what once was an integrated science of society, there emerged a collection of partial and exclusionary social disciplines. The mainstream liberal study of society was split into numerous social sciences. Although most economists refuse to know it and few would ever admit it, the rise of autonomous power destroyed their fundamental quantities.

With autonomous power, it became patently clear that both utils and abstract labor were logically impossible and empirically unknowable. And, sure enough, no liberal economist has ever been able to measure the util contents of commodities, and no Marxist has ever been able to calculate their abstract labor contents — because neither can be done.

This inability is existential: with no fundamental quantities, value theory becomes impossible, and with no value theory, economics disintegrates. The Neoclassical Golem. The neoclassicists responded by trying to shield their utils from the destructive touch of power. The process was two-pronged.

First, they created a heavily subsidized fantasy world, titled General Equilibrium, where, buttressed by a slew of highly restrictive assumptions, everything still works almost as it should. They excluded from it almost every meaningful power phenomenon — and they did it so thoroughly that their perfectly competitive model now perfectly explains next to nothing.

The problem is that, over the past half century, Game Theory and macroeconomics have grown into a theoretical Golem. Although Game Theorists and macroeconomists rarely advertize it and many conveniently ignore it, their models, whether good or bad, are all affected by — and in many cases are exclusively concerned with — power. But nowadays, with Game Theory increasingly taking over the micro analysis of distribution, and with governments directly determining 20 to 40 percent of economic activity and price setting and indirectly involved in much of the rest, power seems everywhere.

And if power is now the rule rather than the exception, what then is left of the utility-productivity foundations of liberal value theory? The Neo-Marxist Fracture. Unlike the neoclassicists, Marxists chose not to evade and hide power but to tackle it head on — although the end result was pretty much the same. To recognize power meant to abandon the labor theory of value. And since Marxists have never come up with another theory of value, their worldview has lost its main unifying force.

Instead of the original Marxist totality, there emerged a neo-Marxist fracture. Marxism today consists of three sub-disciplines, each with its own categories, logic and bureaucratic demarcations. The first sub-discipline is neo-Marxist economics, based on a mixture of monopoly capital and permanent government intervention. The second sub-discipline comprises neo-Marxist critiques of capitalist cultural. And the third sub-discipline consists of neo-Marxist theories of the state. These include, among other things, a comprehensive vista of human history — an approach that negates and supersedes the particular histories dictated by elites; the notion that ideas are dialectically embedded in their concrete material history; the link between theory and praxis; the view of capitalism as a totalizing political-power regime; the universalizing-globalizing tendencies of this regime; the dialectics of the class struggle; the fight against exploitation, oppression and imperial rule; and the emphasis on autonomy and freedom as the motivating force of human development.

These ideas are all indispensable. But all of that still leaves a key issue unresolved. In the absence of a unifying value theory, there is no logically coherent and empirically meaningful way to explain the so-called economic accumulation of capital — let alone to account for how culture and the state presumably affect such accumulation. In other words, we have no explanation for the most important process of all — the accumulation of capital.

Capitalism, though, remains a universalizing system — and a universalizing system calls for a universal theory. What we do need is a radical Ctrl-Alt-Del. As Descartes tells us, to be radical means to go to the root, and the root of capitalism is the accumulation of capital. This, then, should be our new starting point. The Capitalist Mode of Power. In the remainder of the paper we briefly outline some of the key elements of our own approach to capital.

We begin with power. We argue that capital is not means of production, it is not the ability to produce hedonic pleasure, and it is not a quantum of dead productive labor. Rather, capital is power, and only power.


Further, and more broadly, we suggest that capitalism is best viewed not as a mode of production or consumption, but as a mode of power. Machines, production and consumption of course are part of capitalism, and they certainly feature heavily in accumulation. But the role of these entities in the process of accumulation, whatever it may be, is significant primarily through the way they bear on power.

To explicate our argument, we start with two related entities: prices and capitalization. Capitalism — as we already noted, and as both liberals and Marxists correctly recognize — is organized as a commodity system denominated in prices. Capitalism is particularly conducive to numerical organization because it is based on private ownership, and anything that can be privately owned can be priced. This situation means that, as private ownership spreads spatially and socially, price becomes the universal numerical unit with which the capitalist order is organized.

Now, the actual pattern of this order is created through capitalization. Capitalization, to paraphrase physicist David Bohm, is the generative order of capitalism. It is the flexible and all-inclusive algorithm that creorders — or continuously creates the order of — capitalism.

Immanuel Wallerstein: The Global Systemic Crisis and the Struggle for a Post-Capitalist World

Capitalizing Power. What exactly is capitalization? Capitalization is a symbolic financial entity, a ritual that the capitalists use to discount to present value risk-adjusted expected future earnings. This ritual has a very long history. It was first invented in the capitalist Bourgs of Europe, probably sometime during the fourteenth century. It overcame religious opposition to usury in the seventeenth century to become a conventional practice among bankers.

Its mathematical formulae were first articulated by German foresters in the mid-nineteenth century. Its ideological and theoretical foundations were laid out at the turn of the twentieth century. Now, as Ulf Martin argues in a forthcoming paper, capitalization is an operational-computational symbol. Instead, it is an active, synthetic calculation.

It is a symbol that human beings create and impose on the world — and in so doing, they shape the world in the image of their symbol. Capitalists — as well as everyone else — are conditioned to think of capital as capitalization, and nothing but capitalization.

The ultimate question here is not the particular entity that the capitalist owns, but the universal worth of this entity defined as a capitalized asset. The neoclassicists bypass the impasse by saying that, in principle, capitalization is merely the image of real capital — although, in practice, this image gets distorted by unfortunate market imperfections. The Marxists approach the problem from the opposite direction. They begin by assuming that capitalization is entirely fictitious — and therefore unrelated to the actual, or real capital. But, then, in order to sustain their labor theory of value, they also insist that, occasionally, this fiction must crash into equality with real capital.

In our view, these attempts to make capitalization fit the box of real capital are an exercise in futility. As we already saw, not only does real capital lack an objective quantity, but the very separation of economics from politics — a separation that makes such objectivity possible in the first place — has become defunct. And, indeed, capitalization is hardly limited to the so-called economic sphere. In principle, every stream of expected income is a candidate for capitalization.

And since income streams are generated by social entities, processes, organizations and institutions, we end up with capitalization discounting not the so-called sphere of economics, but potentially every aspect of society. Human life, including its social habits and its genetic code, is routinely capitalized. Institutions — from education and entertainment to religion and the law — are habitually capitalized. Voluntary social networks, urban violence, civil war and international conflict are regularly capitalized.

Even the environmental future of humanity is capitalized. Nothing escapes the eyes of the discounters. If it generates expected future income, it can be capitalized, and whatever can be capitalized sooner or later is capitalized. The encompassing nature of capitalization calls for an encompassing theory, and the unifying basis for such a theory, we argue, is power.

The primacy of power is built right into the definition of private ownership. Of course, exclusion does not have to be exercised. What matter here are the right to exclude and the ability to exact pecuniary terms for not exercising that right.

Adam Smith (1723—1790)

This right and ability are the foundations of accumulation. Capital, then, is nothing but organized power. This power has two sides: one qualitative, the other quantitative. The qualitative side comprises the institutions, processes and conflicts through which capitalists constantly creorder society, shaping and restricting its trajectory in order to extract their tributary income.

The quantitative side is the process that integrates, reduces and distils these numerous qualitative processes down to the universal magnitude of capitalization. Industry and Business. What is the object of capitalist power? How does it creorder society? Using as a metaphor the concept of physicist Denis Gabor, we can think of the social process as a giant hologram, a space crisscrossed with incidental waves. Each social action — whether an act of industry or of business — is an event, an occurrence that generates vibrations throughout the social space.

But there is a fundamental difference between the vibrations of industry and the vibrations of business. Industry, understood as the collective knowledge and effort of humanity, is inherently cooperative, integrated and synchronized. It operates best when its various events resonate with each other.

Its goals are achieved through the threat and exercise of systemic prevention and restriction — that is, through strategic sabotage. The key object of this sabotage is the resonating pulses of industry — a resonance that business constantly upsets through built-in dissonance. Political economists, both mainstream and Marxist, postulate a positive relationship between production and profit. Capitalists, they argue, benefit from industrial activity — and, therefore, the more fully employed their equipment and workers, the greater their profit.

But if we think of capital as power, exercised through the strategic sabotage of industry by business, the relationship becomes nonlinear — positive under certain circumstances, negative under others. This latter relationship is illustrated, hypothetically, in Figure 1. The chart depicts the utilization of industrial capacity on the horizontal axis against the capitalist share of income on the vertical axis.

Now, up to a point, the two move together. After that point, the relationship becomes negative. The reason for this inversion is easy to explain by looking at extremes. If industry came to a complete standstill at the bottom left corner of the chart, capitalist earnings would be nil. But capitalist earnings would also be zero if industry always and everywhere operated at full socio-technological capacity — depicted by the bottom right corner of the chart.

Under this latter scenario, industrial considerations rather than business decisions would be paramount, production would no longer need the consent of owners, and these owners would then be unable to extract their tributary earnings. For owners of capital, then, the ideal, Goldilocks condition, indicated by the top arc segment, lies somewhere in between: with high capitalist earnings being received in return for letting industry operate — though only at less than full potential.

Figure 2 shows this relationship for the United States since the s.

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The horizontal axis approximates the degree of sabotage by using the official rate of unemployment, inverted notice that unemployment begins with zero on the right, indicating no sabotage, and that, as it increases to the left, so does sabotage. The vertical axis, as before, shows the share of national income received by capitalists. And lo and behold, what we see is very close to the theoretical claims made in Figure 1. The best position for capitalists is not when industry is fully employed, but when the unemployment rate is around 7 percent.

Differential Accumulation. For this reason, both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of capital accumulation have to be assessed differentially — that is, relative to other capitals. And that makes perfect sense.

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  • To beat the average means to accumulate faster than others; and since capital is power, capitalists who accumulate differentially increase their power. The gray bars show positive differential accumulation — i. The black bars show negative differential accumulation; that is, the percent by which the oil companies trailed the average. Now, conventional economics has no interest in the differential profits of the oil companies, and it certainly has nothing to say about relationship between these differential profits and regional wars.

    Differential profit is perhaps of some interest to financial analysts. Middle-East wars are the business of experts in international relations and security analysts. And since each of these phenomena belongs to a completely separate realm of society, no one has ever thought of relating them in the first place. And yet, as it turns out, these phenomena are not simply related.


    In fact, they could be thought of as two sides of the very same process — namely, the global accumulation of capital as power. This research opened our eyes, first, to the encompassing nature of capital; and, second, to the insight that one can gain from analyzing its accumulation as a power process. Notice the three remarkable relationships depicted in the chart. First, every energy conflict was preceded by the large oil companies trailing the average. In other words, for an energy conflict to erupt, the oil companies first had to differentially decumulate — a most unusual prerequisite from the viewpoint of any social science.

    Second, every energy conflict was followed by the oil companies beating the average. Third and finally, with one exception, in , the oil companies never managed to beat the average without there first being an energy conflict in the region. In other words, the differential performance of the oil companies depended not on production, but on the most extreme form of sabotage: war.

    Needless to say, these relationships, and the conclusions they give rise to, are nothing short of remarkable. First, the likelihood that all three patterns are the consequence of statistical fluke is negligible. In other words, there must be something very substantive behind the connection of Middle East wars and global differential profits.

    Second, these relationships seamlessly fuse quality and quantity. In our research on the subject, we show how the qualitative aspects of international relations, superpower confrontation, regional conflicts and the activity of the oil companies on the one hand, can both explain and be explained by the quantitative global process of capital accumulation on the other. Third, all three relationships have remained stable for half a century, allowing us to predict, in writing and before the events, both the first and second Gulf Wars.

    This stability suggests that the patterns of capital as power — although subject to historical change from within society — are anything but haphazard. This type of research has gradually led us to the conclusion that political economy requires a fresh start. At about the same time, in , Paul Sweezy, one of the greatest American Marxists, wrote a piece that assessed Monopoly Capital , a deservingly famous book that he wrote together with Paul Baran twenty-five years earlier.

    In that piece, Sweezy admitted that there is something very big missing from the Marxist and neoclassical frameworks: a coherent theory of capital accumulation. His observations are worth quoting at some length because they show both the problem and why economics cannot solve it:. Why did Monopoly Capital fail to anticipate the changes in the structure and functioning of the system that have taken place in the last twenty-five years? Basically, I think the answer is that its conceptualization of the capital accumulation process is one-sided and incomplete.

    In the established tradition of both mainstream and Marxian economics, we treated capital accumulation as being essentially a matter of adding to the stock of existing capital goods. But in reality this is only one aspect of the process. Accumulation is also a matter of adding to the stock of financial assets. The two aspects are of course interrelated, but the nature of this interrelation is problematic to say the least.

    Capital as Power: Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism

    The traditional way of handling the problem has been in effect to assume it away: for example, buying stocks and bonds two of the simpler forms of financial assets is assumed to be merely an indirect way of buying real capital goods. This is hardly ever true, and it can be totally misleading. This is not the place to try to point the way to a more satisfactory conceptualization of the capital accumulation process. It is at best an extremely complicated and difficult problem, and I am frank to say that I have no clues to its solution. But I can say with some confidence that achieving a better understanding of the monopoly capitalist society of today will be possible only on the basis of a more adequate theory of capital accumulation, with special emphasis on the interaction of its real and financial aspects , than we now possess.

    Sweezy , emphases added. It is just as absurd to fancy that a philosophy can transcend its contemporary world as it is to fancy that an individual can overleap his own age, jump over Rhodes. This new context, though more favourable to their interests, did not allow the Hazaras to unite politically. We can at present identify four trends within the Hizb-i Wahdat: that of Abdul Karim Khalili and his Hizb-i wahdat-i islami; that of Mohammad Akbari and his Hizb-i wahdat-i islami-i Afghanistan; that of Mohammad Mohaghegh and his Hizb-i wahdat-i islami-i mardom-i Afghanistan; and that of Erfani Yakawalangi and his Hizb-i wahdat-i islami-i mellat-i Afghanistan.

    In , the tumultuous appointment of Tahar Zohair to the post of prefect by President Ashraf Ghani, with the support of Abdul Karim Khalili, showed that the antagonisms were still intense. Four Hazara MPs, including Mohammad Akbari, opposed the appointment by organising a sit-in outside the prefecture lasting sixteen days 7 to 22 June.

    On 19 June, young academics organised a counterdemonstration. The arrival of Tahar Zohair on 1 July did not calm matters as the protesters locked the premises of the prefecture while the supporters of the new prefect marched by holding bouquets of flowers. Since the late nineteenth century, the Hazaras had indeed been considered Mongols by Tajik, Pashtun and Sayyid elites, and some of their physical characteristics, such as their flat noses, had been the subject of daily jokes.

    Third, a musical renaissance, promoted by Radio Hazarahgi in Quetta from onwards. And lastly, the fact that in the US military intervention paradoxically allowed the celebration of Nowruz and the public commemoration publicised in the media of Ashura to be resumed in Afghanistan—these rituals had been perpetuated by Hazaras living in Quetta or in Iran Monsutti, Beyond their different backgrounds and inequalities in terms of education, wealth, and gender, they have been divided politically since the coup.

    As we have said, some joined the Sazman-i Nasr of Mohammad Abdul Ali Mazari while others supported the Hizb-i harakat of Ayatollah Mohseni Mohaghegh, , thus leading to the break-up of the Hizb-e Wahdat a few years after its establishment. In some ways, the war gave the Hazaras an opportunity to emancipate themselves socially from the domination of the Sayyids, as well as from the Pashtuns and the Tajiks. This process followed a pattern partly comparable to that observed in Lebanon, in that Abdolali Mazari, its ideologue, was close to Chamran, the Hizbollah leader, and absorbed this experience alongside other Iranian or Palestinian anti-imperialist fighters.

    Inspired by the experts of the International Security Assistance Force ISAF , the constitution also drew on a primordialist vision of ethnicity and sectarianism to explicitly recognise the rights of ethnic groups, who found themselves reified as a result. Given their historical subordination, the Hazaras, now for the first time the objects of affirmative action rather than of discrimination, were the major beneficiaries of this policy of allocating public resources on an ethno-sectarian basis, while continuing to experience this policy in a sorrowful way.

    As we know, they achieved the legitimisation of the Jafari legal school through the constitution and the ahwal-i shakhsiya law passed in But their age-old rivals, the Kuchis, were also given the status of an ethnic group in their own right; a group whose living conditions and education the constitution seeks to improve Tapper, This position was successively occupied by Mohammad Rahim Aliyar in , Habiba Sarabi in —the first woman to hold a position of this significance in the country, Gholamali Vahdat in , and finally, not without difficulties, Tahar Zohair in July These appointments have therefore had an immediate impact on the policy of land allocation, the recognition of land rights and the allocation of state resources in favour of Hazaras and to the detriment of Tajiks and Sayyids Adlparvar, , Chapter 5.

    Beyond politics and administration, ethnicisation has thus been extended more clearly to encompass the economic sphere, including the issue of land and the control of the bazaar of Bamyan, which now counts only a small minority of Tajik traders instead of the 2, or so who ran the old bazaar at the foot of the Buddhas in the s and s. Moreover, Hazara consumers buy only from Hazara traders.

    When elections take place, Afghans can immediately identify among the candidates the fighters who resisted the Soviet occupation—those who, in Afghanistan, are referred to as jihadis—and the migrants who have returned home mohajer. Similarly, they distinguish economic actors depending on the origin of their fortunes and their projects. Everyone is familiar with the career of a given hotel owner, residential development promoter sharak or bazaar trader. For example, the influx of NGOs with Western and Japanese financial support in the prefecture of Bamyan, anxious to meet the needs of one of the poorest regions of the country and to rescue its women, was immediately configured in accordance with interethnic and inter-religious relations as the war had redefined them Anjoman-i nevisandegan-i Bamyan, As we have seen, the Hazaras in Bamyan are divided.

    Indigenous Hazaras watani now live together, in a state of some tension, with Hazaras who came from Ghazni, Herat and Mazar-i Sharif after the fall of the Taliban to enjoy the windfall of the Hazarajat, as well as with the zawari Hazaras back from Iran. Like other ethnic groups in the country, the Hazaras as a whole are ultimately driven by progressive internal divisions that are less part of identity in the abstract sense than of social inequalities, starting with inequalities in gender and education. As shown by the case of the village of Fatmasti, the situation is even more complex on the micro-local level of historical lands.

    In this fragmented social landscape, generally governed by the twin principle of lineage qawm and locality manteqa , Olivier Roy was among the first to demonstrate the need to keep in mind that the ethnicisation of Afghan society is a fluid process, situated historically and politically constructed, at least since the centralising reign of Abdurrahman.

    In the regions, the bulk of land speculation focuses on plots that would have little market value outside this mountainous country, as they are located on steep terrain, are hard to sustain and are exposed to rainwater run-off, erosion and landslides. Sometimes donors exploit this for strategic, religious or cultural reasons of their own, as is the case with Iran which promotes the Hazaras , Pakistan the Pashtuns , Turkey the Uzbeks and the Aga Khan Foundation the Ismailis.

    But beyond these political approaches, the operational requirements of the land are self-evident. While most foreign actors endeavour to remain politically correct by recruiting several Hazaras, they must in all cases rely on Pashtuns to work in the south, or Tajiks or Uzbeks in the north.

    Numéros en texte intégral

    Of course, the same reasoning applies to the Hazarajat, where it is essential to use Hazaras. Despite this, the NGO labour market initially benefited the Sunnis, if only because they form the majority and are often better trained and more commonly English-speaking. As for Pashtuns, they are irreplaceable in the crucial area of telecommunications, for obvious reasons of security—only they can travel confidently in Pashtun areas—and because they trained in Pakistan while in exile during the s and s.

    These funds have caused a sharp increase in prices in certain sectors, including real estate, hotels and restaurants, airlines, car rental companies, and the consumption of international products and certain local services, such as the provision of must-have items for wedding venues.

    But this influx of money was grafted onto existing social relations, especially in families, and transformed their balance and even their very nature. In all social circles, as the dollar is king, the father does not so much give his daughters away in marriage as trade them, sometimes at a very high rate, and sometimes right from the cradle.

    But the head of a good family whose reputation triggers tantalising financial proposals from suitors who wish to climb up the social ladder can proceed in just the same way. At this point, complex social strategies intervene and usually contribute to dowry inflation. But if the ploy fails, as often happens, the increase is considered effective.

    The marriage market has thus become judicialised as a result of its monetisation and the intervention of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in Afghanistan, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and NGOs concerned to defend the condition of women and the cause of right. In return, this judicialisation has led to an acceleration of the monetisation of this market in a context where the courts, which not only need payment but are also, it is said, lured by the smell of money, continue to promulgate financial decisions relative to the amount of the dowry or to blood, which follow the exponential curve of the cost of living.

    Some might even seek, these days, to trigger a family or marital conflict, hoping to reach an agreement of this type. The idea of antagonism is immediately associated with that of the profit that might be drawn from it, which induces a form of intentionality: thus, the complainant will be suspected of having provoked a dispute so as to avoid having to pay a dowry similar practices make it possible to consolidate the legal status and securitisation of land. First and foremost, they lead to a split or even a generational divide.

    The youngest people are often better educated and more familiar with international practices, and their command of English allows them to benefit from professional and economic opportunities that are more or less beyond the reach of their elders. This imbalance has led to the widespread destabilisation of social status: the young suffer from not holding decision-making power that is proportional to their skills in what is still a patriarchal and tribal society; older people believe that the success of their juniors is a challenge to their authority.

    Added to this is a destabilisation of conjugal roles, evident for example when a woman has her own income, for example because she works for an NGO, while her husband is unemployed or has to settle for the meagre rewards of the normal Afghan economy. In addition, women are beginning to express their demands with regard to inheritance rights: this is an explosive development from the point of view of customary law and Islamic law.

    So a woman may have to pay a significant amount of rent to her husband in order to turn a room in the family home into a nursery. A young man who organises a too lavish wedding can create a bad precedent for his brothers, cousins or friends, who may not have the same financial means as he does and will see their reputations suffer accordingly. Women working for NGOs should be careful not to tarnish the honour of their colleagues. If they were to separate from their husbands, they would not only lose their social status but also their jobs, and find the chances of them being elected significantly limited, if they are thinking of getting involved in this sphere.

    Should they be obliged to go to court to see their rights enforced, or simply see their demands recognised, the process will cost them around USD 8, Any allocation of resources, especially investment, involves a choice in favour of one locality and therefore at the expense of others. This phenomenon is evident in the field of rural engineering: water supplies, the charges that determine their use, the waiting time required to obtain access to them, and their sometimes unwanted consequences on the natural environment all create a new field of conflict in which the violence between villages or towns ghariya finds expression.

    The financial and consumerist bubble that has been constantly swelling since is causing devastating social disruption. Those in power give free rein to their sexual predation, exerted at gunpoint or with the aid of great sheaves of money and of college qualifications. The individuality of women who have returned from abroad—from the West, or from Iran or Pakistan—and the independent spirit of those who have been educated triggers the brutality of husbands, fathers or brothers who refuse to accept that these women might be any different from others.

    Marital jealousy can also play a part—a feeling all the more dangerous as it is supposed to express family honour. The human toll of these tensions is appalling. Many women even commit suicide by atrocious means self-immolation or swallowing pesticide or rat poison , or suffer senseless corporal punishment, such as having their nose, ears or lips cut off; the press has described these abuses extensively as occurring in Bamyan, Daikundi and Hera.

    If we stick to these sources, the cases seem, curiously, to be less numerous in the Pashtun, Tajik and Uzbek areas, even though these are reputedly more conservative. But deadly violence is also the rule when it comes to settling land disputes and quarrels of a romantic, inter-familial, ethnic or sectarian nature. The overt militarisation of this sphere, on the initiative of the commanders, is only the most extreme example of the use of force as a mode of social regulation.

    The massive recruitment of local police polis-i mahalli —some 30, of them—plays a part in the militarisation of Afghan society, as these security forces are readily viewed by the population as arbaki , those swashbuckling figures who controlled the neighbourhoods and played a central role in social violence and civil war Dorronsoro, , In other words, aid and widespread armed violence feed on one another and are part of a spectrum that extends from private confrontation to civil war—the very same civil war that the foreign presence is supposed to avert.

    The self-proclaimed return to peace following the US intervention in and the formation of an elected government has delegitimised Afghan emigration in the eyes of foreign countries, particularly Western states and Iran, which are now trying to hamper such emigration since it no longer seems to involve refugees and asylum-seekers in the strict sense of these terms. Nevertheless, the work of Alessandro Monsutti has long since dismantled any excess rigidity in the classification of the mobility of Afghans, including Hazaras.

    In addition, the remittances of migrants are essential to the development of this country, under considerable pressure as it is from demographics and land-related issues Monsutti, and ; Gehrig and Monsutti, The Hazarajat alone apparently receives approximately USD million per annum from Afghans working in Iran Monsutti, , , note There is a glaring contradiction between the display of good intentions and the real effectiveness of the policies implemented.

    Afghan teenagers who slip across the borders of Iran, Turkey, the Balkans and EU countries only to see their hopes stagnate, or who try and make a new life for themselves by hanging around the Gare du Nord in Paris or the approach roads of the Channel Tunnel in Calais, are the pathetic illustration of the side-effects of the territorial approach to reconstruction when applied to mobile populations. First, donors, foreign institutions, and NGOs remain prisoners of a cultural, if not an orientalist approach to the country; a country that they are helping to traditionalise and particularly to ethnicise.

    Similarly, foreigners take for granted the Islamic nature of Afghan society and its local law, whereas this society is not systematically Islamic, especially in terms of land and inheritance, which are not governed by fiqh Islamic jurisprudence. By simplifying and reifying this society, disguising it in the deceptive features of tradition and ethnicity, this prism totally neglects the radical transformation that Afghan society has experienced as a result of war and emigration.

    Even worse, they burden society with unprecedented conflicts over land issues, trade, banking, wages and education. The three pillars on which Afghan society still rests— zan woman , zar money and zamin land —are, more than ever, factors of competition and confrontation.

    Development, economic growth and the internationalisation of trade conflicts stoke conflict as a result of the resources they generate and the desires they arouse. At the same time, the rational-legal, bureaucratic rule of law, if indeed it has the political and financial resources necessary to emerge, does not appear to be best placed to peacefully resolve social disputes, particularly over land.

    Informal arbitration procedures between protagonists, at which the Taliban excel, are probably better suited to the concrete conditions of the country, at least in the countryside, even though they tend to reproduce social domination Sadeghi, ; Baczko, ; De Lauri, For decades, the mobility of populations has been the primary means of their survival, and sometimes their relative enrichment.

    For thirty years, remittances from emigrants have constituted a real lever for the transformation of society. Conversely, any obstruction to this movement of human beings aggravates internal tensions. In the late s, the independence of Pakistan, for example, hindered the cross-border transhumance of the Kuchis, bringing extra pressure to bear on the pastures of the Hazarajat. There will be no development in Afghanistan without international mobility for Afghans. It would be unreasonable to deny all merit to the foreign intervention of The new regime has undoubtedly created a political space in which all the so-called ethnic groups in the country can discuss sharing the external financial windfall, if not on an equal footing at least in an atmosphere conducive to effective competition and compromise in this specific case, the influx of resources plays a role comparable to that of tax in Western states.

    Given the history of Afghanistan over the last two centuries, such an evolution is a real breakthrough. But this mode of development is still hampered by imbalances and uncertainties. Abdolghodus, J. Adelkhah, F. Adlparvar, N. Alden Wily, L. Andishmand, M. Arez, G. Azimi, M.

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    Baczko, A. Bouda, A. Centlivres, P. De Lauri, A. De Weijer, F. Digard, J. Dorronsoro, G. Des communistes aux talibans Paris: Karthala. Gehrig, T. Ghazali, B. Ghobar, M. Keshtmand, S. Marchal, R. Mohaghegh, Mohammad Khaterat-i yek sangar neshin. Goushei az jenayat-i khawanin dar enghelab-i eslami-i afghanestan [ Memories of a man of the trench , Vol. Monsutti, A. Djalili, A. Monsutti and A. Neubauer eds. Le Monde turco-iranien en question Paris: Karthala , pp.