Money, Banks and Finance in Economic Thought

The Madman and the Economist(s): Bataille, Perroux and French Critiques of the Marshall Plan

Fèvre Raphaël, University of Cambridge (POLIS)

This paper assesses French intellectuals’ early reception of the Marshall Plan in the light of the discussion Georges Bataille (1897-1962) and François Perroux (1903-1987) had in the journal Critique, by the second-half of 1948. I argue that Bataille and Perroux parallel efforts to go beyond what they perceive as the narrow boundaries of economics is mainly responsible for their unexpectedly optimistic reception of the American aid. The paper shows that the Perroux-Bataille discussion involved additional participants (as Jean Piel, and through him foreign economists like Colin Clark and Alvin Hansen). Those will help us grasping in more depth Bataille’s original account of the Marshall Plan, as well as assessing his disagreement with Perroux.


Keywords: Georges Bataille, General Economy, Marshall Plan, François Perroux, Gift

Paper file