Georges Bataille considered The Accursed Share, his radical critique of economic theories based on rational categories of need, scarcity, and utility, his most important project. In Volume I, he announced two further volumes, The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty, but he never published them in book form. This Zone edition includes in a single volume a reconstruction of completed versions of these texts as published in Bataille’s posthumous collected works.
Here, Bataille expands on the notion developed in Volume I of an economics based not on the management of scarce resources but on the exuberant consumption of excess production, the accursed share. In its first part, Bataille identifies eroticism as an ideal form of consumption, since in his view it is useless, purposeless. As this expenditure of excess energy demarcates the realm of human autonomy, the study of eroticism leads naturally to an examination of sovereignty, in which Bataille defines the sovereign individual as one who consumes and does not labor, creating a life beyond the realm of utility.