This essay examines the ways in which contemporary economic discourse uses the zombie metaphor. It situates these uses in relation to the current resurgence of zombies in popular fiction and film, and distinguishes zombies from vampires: while the former signifies global debt and stagnation, the latter connotes credit and consumer boom. It argues that the arc of desire and fear engendered by these figures of horror discloses a continuity in the affective trajectory of neo-liberalism as it supplants traditional philosophical distinctions between material and symbolic forms of debt. Rather than operating with a distinction between spiritual and financial modes of guilt/debt, an economic absorption of cultural values circumvents the need for subjective or symbolic inscriptions, and institutes the debt-relation directly and materially.

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