Knowledge LTD

Toward a Social Logic of the Derivative

Randy Martin
Book Cover

PB: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1224-9
Publication: May 15

HC: $90.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1223-2
Publication: May 15

Ebook: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1225-6
Publication: Jul 15

280 pages
6 x 9

What derivatives and excess, economic and otherwise, tell us about the state of global capital and culture


Catastrophes ranging from the travesties of financial markets and the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil well to the tsunami that struck northern Japan and the levees breaking in New Orleans are examples of the limits of knowledge. Author Randy Martin insists that the expertise erected to prevent these natural and social disasters failed in each case.

In Knowledge LTD, Martin explores how both the limits of knowledge and the social constructions of culture reflect the way we organize social life in the face of disasters and their aftermath. He examines this crisis of knowledge as well as the social movements that rose up in its wake. Martin not only treats derivatives as financial contracts for pricing risk, but also shows how the derivative works in economic terms, where the very unity of the economy is undone.

Knowledge LTD ultimately points to a more comprehensive reordering of the once separate spheres of economy, polity, and culture. Martin provides a new way of understanding the social significance of the all-pervasive derivative logic.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Who Knew?
1 After Economy?
2 Public Quandary
3 De-centered Social Kinesthetics
Conclusion: Derivative Knowledge

About the Author(s)

Randy Martin (1957–2015) was Professor of Art and Public Policy at New York University and founder of the graduate program in arts politics. He published many books, as author or editor, including Financialization of Daily Life and Under New Management: Universities, Administrative Labor, and the Professional Turn (both Temple); An Empire of Indifference: American War and the Financial Logic of Risk Management; On Your Marx: Relinking Socialism and the Left; Critical Moves: Dance Studies in Theory and Politics; Socialist Ensembles: Theater and State in Cuba and Nicaragua; and Performance as Political Act: The Embodied Self.