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The Triumph of Venus

The Triumph of Venus: The Erotics of the Market

Jeanne Lorraine Schroeder
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Pages: 326
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  • Book Info
    The Triumph of Venus
    Book Description:

    The theory of law and economics that dominates American jurisprudence today views the market as rational and individuals as driven by the desire to increase their wealth. It is a view riddled with misconceptions, as Jeanne Lorraine Schroeder demonstrates in this challenging work, which looks at contemporary debates in legal theory through the lens of psychoanalysis and continental philosophy. Through metaphors drawn from classical mythology and interpreted via Lacanian psychoanalysis and Hegelian philosophy, Schroeder exposes the hidden and repressed erotics of the market. Her work shows how the predominant economic analysis of markets and the standard romantic critique of markets are in fact mirror images, reflecting the misconception that reason and passion are inalterably opposed.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92885-5
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction: Juno Moneta
    (pp. 1-6)

    William Blackstone insisted that property, and therefore market relations, are driven by desire. This eroticism should not surprise us. Etymology tells us that money is a woman. The word “money” derives from Juno Moneta. Juno, queen of heaven, was the Roman goddess of womanhood, the personification of the feminine. Her title, “Moneta,” means “she who reminds and warns.” The word “money” reminds us that the feminine is a reminder—a warning.

    Nevertheless, the erotic nature of law and markets is deeply repressed in American culture. We turn away from the primal scene of the passionate origins of markets with the...

  4. Chapter 1 Pandora’s Amphora: The Eroticism of Contract and Gift
    (pp. 7-82)

    Almost three thousand years ago, Hesiod warned against gifts.²

    In ancient times, the titan Forethought (Prometheus) taught mankind how to cheat the gods out of the profits of sacrifice.³ Later, when Zeus punished man by taking away fire,⁴ Forethought once again cheated the gods, by restoring fire to man. Zeus, seeking a more effective punishment, decided to give men a gift “in which they will all delight as they embrace their own misfortune.”⁵

    Zeus ordered Hephaestus, the divine smith, to forge the first woman. The goddesses bestowed her with their finest attributes—skill in crafts and weav- ing, charm, grace,...

  5. Chapter 2 Orpheus’s Desire: The End of the Market
    (pp. 83-148)

    Orpheus, the most creative of all living beings, sang so beautifully that he charmed wild beasts; trees and rocks moved on their own in order to follow him.² He exceeded his mother, Calliope, the muse of music, as well as divine Apollo himself. Mortality was the source of Orpheus’s art: he sang in a vain attempt to fill the void left by the death of his beloved Eurydice. The gods, being immortal, perfect, and complete, have no desire, and therefore no ability to create anything truly new.³

    Orpheus desired Eurydice because he never had her: he was bridegroom and widower,...

  6. Chapter 3 Narcissus’s Death: The Calabresi-Melamed Trichotomy
    (pp. 149-204)

    Narcissus was the most beautiful of mortals and he knew it. Loved by both men and women, he was unable to return love.² The seer Teresias predicted that Narcissus would live as long as he failed to recognize himself. Although Narcissus dismissed this as nonsense, it was destined to come to pass.

    The oread Echo was known for her ability to speak. She would regale others for hours with the latest gossip and clever, but empty, small talk. Zeus thought Echo would make a perfect handmaiden for his wife, Hera, and installed her in the Olympian palace. While Echo diverted...

  7. Chapter 4 The Midas Touch: The Lethal Effect of Wealth Maximization
    (pp. 205-275)

    Ovid told two myths about King Midas, which on first reading seem quite diverse.² Lacanian psychoanalysis explains their hidden connection.

    The first isMidas Aureus—literallyGolden Midas,but more commonly known as theMidas Touch.This tale is so familiar that it has led to a common English expression. As is so often the case, however, the cliché represses the myth’s original, and true, meaning. When we say that someone has “the Midas touch,” we express admiration for or envy of the man who profits again and again through an uncanny combination of acumen and good luck. Yet according...

  8. Chapter 5 The Eumenides’ Return: The Founding of Law Through the Repression of the Feminine
    (pp. 276-312)

    The Eumenides,¹ Aeschylus’s account of legal origins, reveals that postmodernism precedes, rather that succeeds, modernism.

    Relating the trial of Orestes for the murder of his mother Clytemnestra,The Eumenidesillustrates the moment when law and civilization supplants chaos and barbarism—the moment when we become subjects by submitting to the symbolic. Specifically, it tells how Athens comes to decide that accusations of murder will thereafter be addressed through public trial by jury rather than the spiraling blood bath of private vendetta.²

    Surprisingly, the play contains absolutely no discussion of the relative morality, justice, wisdom, or practical effect of the two...

  9. INDEX
    (pp. 313-318)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 319-319)