Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
Ethnographic work on rural Cuba offers an interesting perspective from which to explore the architecture of value in the island nation’s mixed economy, and particularly what seems to be one of the key paradoxes emerging from its encounter with global capitalism. This is the fact that the very monetary system that serves as the semiotic medium to represent value seems able 1) to reconcile pressing social demands, 2) to maintain macroeconomic equilibriums within a socialist moral economy, but at the same time 3) obstructs the creation of wealth that could bring sustainability to the politico-economic regime. This paper investigates the politics of incalculability, in the context of which these ambiguous landscapes of value are negotiated. In particular, I try to understand what the profits of incalculability might be in this particular instance and more generally. If, as Harvey (2017) suggests, money itself is founded on systemic distortions of the value it is supposed to represent, what can be understood as the political profits of incalculability, for which classes of subjects, and under what conditions?