Todd McGowan on the misrecognition of capitalist failure

Psychoanalysis reveals … that the subject’s satisfaction derives from the repetition of the failure to obtain the object, and the subject who recognizes the form of its satisfaction can see the necessity of the public world, which is the site of the subject’s original loss. The satisfaction of the subject does not reside in what it accumulates but in its repeated failures to accumulate. Though the capitalist subject sees itself as avoiding repetition by moving from object to object, this subject repeats the same trajectory without knowing it. Even though the object changes, the failure remains the same. The capitalist subject, just like every subject, finds satisfaction in failure. It is just that the capitalist subject doesn’t recognize the form of its own satisfaction. But this misrecognition can have dramatic effects on the structure of the social order.

— Todd McGowan. Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets. Columbia University Press, 2016. p. 121-122.

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