Research / Video

How to make profit with enriched objects
Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre


Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre

Objects exchanged for prices that are high or very high in relation to the most common prices, the luxury industry, the contemporary art market, heritage creation, tourism: all these activities constitute what we call an “enrichment economy”. One might raise the objection that the existence of a sphere of exclusivity and luxury is really nothing new. However, viewed in terms of the development of riches, the sphere we need to outline is distinguished from the industrial world by many traits and has significant economic and social consequences, to the point that we can create a schematic table of two ideal types of economy. An economy centred on industrial production can be opposed to an economy centred on processes of “thing-enrichment”. These processes are based on the “#collection form#”. One of the original features of this “collection form” is that it makes room in the capitalist cosmos for increasing the value of things from the past (which may have undergone a period of decline) and things that are recent but are treated as if they were destined to become immortal.

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