The Boundless Economy: An Enduring Performative American Fiction?

  • Pierre Arnaud
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Culture and Economics book series (PSLCE)


The chapter explores boundlessness as an enduring fiction powering the American variety of capitalism. It first establishes the part played by space in America’s mythical representation of itself and in Americans’ relation to land through the territory’s history. It then examines the transposition of this foundational mythology to the economic sector through a plotting of the development of US capitalism as a story of growth. The story is not without a few major blind spots, the author shows. Nevertheless, the shift of the fiction of boundlessness from space to time, embodied in a special relation to the future, has ensured the performative effectiveness of the boundlessness narrative to this day, even if the current presidency seems mostly intent on raising barriers.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Arnaud
    • 1
  1. 1.Université Paris NanterreNanterreFrance

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