This chapter presents an account of Cassim's law, referring to Ali Baba's brother in the classic fable, who greedily escalates a situation until it extends beyond his own understanding and ends up chopped into pieces by thieves. The discussion recalls the notion articulated by the Austrian economist Wilhelm Ropke that moral reserves must be built up in areas such as the environment and the family to counterbalance the rapacious tendencies that market systems tend to unleash. Following Georges Bataille, this chapter argues that the crisis exemplifies a kind of potlatch in which cosmic energy is expended catastrophically, and the captains of the financial industry as well as the small-time investors and market participants literally expend themselves in tragedy.
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