The Revenge Economy and the Problem of Unpayability
Keywords:Haiven, Revenge capitalism, Debt, Utu, Finance
In Revenge Capitalism Max Haiven draws on a rich set of historical scholarship and theoretical traditions to formulate the concept of the revenge economy and outline its characteristics. Haiven also examines modes of social, political, and economic organisation that run counter to the revenge economy and explores the avenging imaginaries that underlie them. After highlighting some of the traditions that inform Haiven’s thesis, I focus on his engagement with different theories and arrangements of debt. I suggest that a distinguishing aspect of Haiven’s thesis is the way he reads debt as a fundamental principle of social and economic life. At the same time, I put this reading into conversation with our own context in Aotearoa New Zealand and suggest that a serious engagement with the institution and philosophy of utu is indispensable for both transforming debt relations as well as abolishing revenge capitalism.