This assessment of the future contrasts greatly with the emerging capitalist economy Bourdieu observed, a new economic formation that “presupposes the constitution of a mediated, abstract future” (Bourdieu 1979: 10). The capitalist future is based on calculations of distant future states of the world that form “an absent, imaginary vanishing point”, a remote goal established by imaginaries of possible worlds and approached through calculation and rational action.


These two opposing understandings of the future clashed with one another as Kabyle society modernized. Kabyle peasants for the most part lacked the dispositions necessary to fulfill the expectations of the increasingly dominant capitalist economy, leading to profound social conflicts. These conflicts may be observed, for instance, in peasants’ strong opposition to engaging with the abstract future of the market, which is seen as an unreal world (Bourdieu 1979: 15). Those who calculate the future and its possibilities are seen as excessive worriers seeking to make themselves “the associate of God.” By the same token, actors are critical of money because it is an “indirect good,” not a source of satisfaction in and of itself.


Money’s promise of utility in the future “is distant, imaginary, and indeterminate”. A similar critique is leveled against credit, the economic institution most alien to the logic of the precapitalist economy, in that it not only relies on an abstract future but also opposes solidarity by presupposing “the complete impersonality of the relationship between contracting parties”.