Bataille begins by describing social contradictions, comparing society to a young man and the law to the father, suggesting we allow pursuit of needs but do not address “nonproductive expenditure.” Bataille is supposing a necessary principle of loss, which contradicts ideas of balanced budgets and spending control.
Bataille describes 4 types of expenditure: jewels, belief sacrifices (donation), gambling, art
giving away can be better than having, and can be written off for taxes
Bataille explains the history of potlatch, a practice of gift giving that required a more valuable gift in return. With potlatch, the giver aims to get rid of what he has and even can include destroying some of the other’s property as a gift of reducing excess.
With potlatch, you always spend more than the other person, get rid of more than you get back
Bataille encourages us to think of expenditure as the mark of wealth.In contemporary society, expenditure is tied to high rank. “Ostentatious loss” of great amounts is also tied to wealth.