The Antinomy of the Financialized World and the World of Spirit

Social Sciences in China

Vol. 38, No. 3, 2017


The Antinomy of the Financialized World and the World of Spirit



Zhang Xiong


The financialized world of the 21st century is a world marked by a high degree of economic rationality, secularism and value commensurability. Profit-driven financial voluntarism is spreading everywhere, leading directly to the “financial internalization” of individual lives and the decline of the holistic spirit in human life. World development is inseparable from financial innovation, but the present financial system has diverged from its true nature. Undeniably, capital’s innate quest for surplus value has not changed since Marx’s times, nor have its essential social relations or the leverage effect of capital in wealth creation. However, the 21st century has seen a great change in the development of the logic of capital: driven by the global capital financial system, it has become more abstract, overriding regional boundaries. Its subject orientation is heterogeneous and diverse, while its operating mode is virtual and enigmatic. In particular, as instrumental rationality has become more intelligent, the mental dimension of capital has become more subjective. An interpretation of the financialized world from the point of view of phenomenology of spirit reveals the underlying issue of the alienation of man’s spirit from his objectified world in the 21st century, and thus offers food for thought at the level of spirit for the objective understanding of the category of capital in the 21st century.


Keywords: financialized world, capital, internal negativity, holistic spirit