European thought is often said to be a gift to the rest of the world, but what if there is no gift as such? What if there is only an economy where every giving is also a taking, and every taking is also a giving? This book extends the question of economies by making a case for an “economy of thought” and a “political economy.” It argues that all thinking and doing presupposes taking, and therefore giving, as the price to pay for taking; or that there exists a “cost of living,” which renders the idea of free thinking and living untenable. The argument is developed against the Enlightenment directive to think for oneself as the means of becoming autonomous and shows that this “light,” given to the rest of the world as a gift, turns out to be nothing.
Chapter 2. The Gift of European Thought
Chapter 3. The Economy of Thought
Chapter 4. Political Economy
Chapter 5. The Cost of Living