This perception is based in practical experiences on the circular movements of nature: what has been will come again; what will come in the future has existed before. The future is closed, in other words. In the capitalist economy, by contrast, actors no longer understand the future as a continuation of a present informed by the past; rather, the future is an unending disruption of the present, a “restless” (Sewell 2008; Wagner- Pacificic 2010) social formation in which actors may refer to several possible futures to select their course of action.
This shift in actors’ dispositions, driven by the expansion of competitive markets and the spread of money- based exchanges, is a necessary corollary of the development of the capitalist economy. The difference in temporal orientation does not mean traditional societies are indifferent to the future. As Bourdieu shows, peasants in Algeria plan for their future with great care. But they do so by planning for what Bourdieu (1979) calls “direct goods”; that is, goods that provide intrinsic satisfaction in the future and conform to an inherited “logic of honor” prevalent in the community.
Food stock, land investments, and innovations to improve agricultural and domestic equipment are all planned in this way. The individual peasant “lives in the very rhythm of the world with which he is bound up”. The economic future is thus connected to the present as a single organic entity, and consists largely of products “forthcoming” from the next harvest, and positions of honor and prestige to be secured within the social order.