The Death of Homo Economicus

Work, Debt and the Myth of Endless Accumulation

Author: Peter Fleming

Publisher: Pluto Press (UK)

ISBN: 9780745399409

Category:

Page: 320

View: 2359

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In today's workplaces we work harder and longer, labouring under the illusion that this will bring us more wealth. As this myth becomes increasingly preposterous, it's time to understand why we believe in it, and where it came from.The Death of Homo Economicus explores the origin of this oppressive myth, in order to destroy it. The story begins with the creation of a fake persona labelled the 'dollar-hunting man', invented by economists Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek. Today, this persona, driven by competition and ego, is used by politicians and managers to draw a veil over the terrible reality of work under capitalism.Creeping into all aspects of life, the desire to constantly compete and accumulate must be resisted if we are to create a better way of life for all.

Authenticity and the Cultural Politics of Work

New Forms of Informal Control

Author: Peter Fleming

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199547157

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 187

View: 3341

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The 'personal' was once something to be put to one side in the work place: a 'professional manner' entailed the suppression of private life and feelings. Now many large corporations can be found exhorting their employees to simply be themselves. This book critically investigates the increasing popularity of personal authenticity in corporate ideology and practice. Rather than have workers adhere to depersonalising bureaucratic rules or homogenous cultural norms, many large corporations now invite employees to simply be themselves. Alternative lifestyles, consumption, ethics, identity, sexuality, fun, and even dissent are now celebrated since employees are presumed to be more motivated if they can just be themselves. Does this freedom to express one's authenticity in the workplace finally herald the end of corporate control? To answer this question, the author places this concern with authenticity within a political framework and demonstrates how it might represent an even more insidious form of cultural domination. The book especially focuses on the way in which private and non-work selves are prospected and put to work in the firm. The ideas of Hardt and Negri and the Italian autonomist movement are used to show how common forms of association and co-operation outside of commodified work are the inspiration for personal authenticity. It is the vibrancy, energy and creativity of this non-commodified stratum of social life that managerialism now aims to exploit. Each chapter explores how this is achieved and highlights the worker resistance that is provoked as a result. The book concludes by demonstrating how the discourse of freedom underlying the managerial version of authenticity harbours potential for a radical transformation of the contemporary corporate form.

Mythology of Work

How Capitalism Persists Despite Itself

Author: Peter Fleming

Publisher: Pluto Press (UK)

ISBN: 9780745334875

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 240

View: 7487

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There was once a time when 'work' was inextricably linked to survival and self-preservation; where the farmer ploughed the land so their family could eat. But the sun has long since set on this idyllic tableau, and what was once an integral part of life has slowly morphed into a painful and meaningless ritual, colonising almost every part of our lives - endless and inescapable. In "The Mythology of Work," Peter Fleming examines how neoliberal society uses the ritual of work (and the threat of its denial) to maintain the late capitalist class order. As our society is transformed into a factory that never sleeps, work becomes a universal reference point for everything else, devoid of any moral or political worth. Blending critical theory with recent accounts of job related suicides, office-induced paranoia, fear of relaxation, managerial sadism and cynical corporate social responsibility campaigns, Fleming paints a bleak picture of neoliberal capitalism in which the economic and emotional dysfunctions of a workers' society greatly outweigh its professed benefits.

Identity and Capitalism

Author: Marie Moran

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 1473911060

Category: Social Science

Page: 208

View: 5645

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"This is a splendid book that dispels myths about 'identity' and presents a cultural-materialist case for the study of such keywords and their preoccupations under the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism." - Professor Jim McGuigan, Loughborough University 'Identity’, particularly as it is elaborated in the associated categories of ‘personal’ and ‘social’ identity, is a relatively novel concept in western thought, politics and culture. The explosion of interest in the notion of identity across popular, political and academic domains of practice since the 1960s does not represent the simple popularisation of an older term, as is widely assumed, but rather, the invention of an idea. Identity and Capitalism explores the emergence and evolution of the idea of identity in the cultural, political and social contexts of contemporary capitalist societies. Against the common supposition that identity always mattered, this book shows that what we now think of routinely as ‘personal identity’ actually only emerged with the explosion of consumption in the late-twentieth century. It also makes the case that what we now think of as different social and political ‘identities’ only came to be framed as such with the emergence of identity politics and new social movements in the political landscapes of capitalist societies in the 60s and 70s. Marie Moran provides an important new exploration of the articulation of the idea of identity to the social logic of capitalism, from the ‘organised capitalism’ of the mid-twentieth century, up to and including the neoliberal capitalism that prevails today. Drawing on the work of Raymond Williams, the cultural materialist approach developed here provides an original means of addressing the political debates about the value of identity in contemporary capitalist societies.

The End of Corporate Social Responsibility

Crisis and Critique

Author: Peter Fleming,Marc T Jones

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 1446290115

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 144

View: 727

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Electronic Inspection Copy available for instructors here Providing a much-needed critique of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practice and scholarship, this book seeks to redress CSR advocacy, from a political and critical perspective. A strident approach backed up by extensive use of case studies presents the argument that most CSR-related activity aims to gain legitimacy from consumers and employees, and therefore furthers the exploitative and colonizing agenda of the corporation. By examining CSR in the context of the political economy of late capitalism, the book puts the emphasis back on the fact that most large corporations are fundamentally driven by profit maximization, making CSR initiatives merely another means to this end. Rather than undermining or challenging unsustainable corporate practices CSR is exposed as an ideological practice that actually upholds the prominence of such practices. As CSR gathers momentum in management practice and scholarship, students in the fields of CSR, business ethics, and strategy, will find this text a useful companion to counter received wisdom in this area.

Zombie Economics

How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us

Author: John Quiggin

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691154546

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 275

View: 1832

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In the graveyard of economic ideology, dead ideas still stalk the land. The recent financial crisis laid bare many of the assumptions behind market liberalism--the theory that market-based solutions are always best, regardless of the problem. For decades, their advocates dominated mainstream economics, and their influence created a system where an unthinking faith in markets led many to view speculative investments as fundamentally safe. The crisis seemed to have killed off these ideas, but they still live on in the minds of many--members of the public, commentators, politicians, economists, and even those charged with cleaning up the mess. In Zombie Economics, John Quiggin explains how these dead ideas still walk among us--and why we must find a way to kill them once and for all if we are to avoid an even bigger financial crisis in the future. Zombie Economics takes the reader through the origins, consequences, and implosion of a system of ideas whose time has come and gone. These beliefs--that deregulation had conquered the financial cycle, that markets were always the best judge of value, that policies designed to benefit the rich made everyone better off--brought us to the brink of disaster once before, and their persistent hold on many threatens to do so again. Because these ideas will never die unless there is an alternative, Zombie Economics also looks ahead at what could replace market liberalism, arguing that a simple return to traditional Keynesian economics and the politics of the welfare state will not be enough--either to kill dead ideas, or prevent future crises. In a new chapter, Quiggin brings the book up to date with a discussion of the re-emergence of pre-Keynesian ideas about austerity and balanced budgets as a response to recession.

The Rise and Fall of Homo Economicus

The Myth of the Rational Human and the Chaotic Reality

Author: Yannis Papadogiannis

Publisher: CreateSpace

ISBN: 9781499646672

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 296

View: 5834

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For financial journalist Yannis Papadogiannis, the problem with the economic science that failed to predict the financial crisis that began unfolding in 2007 is clear. While modern economic theory relies on rational humans, The Rise and Fall of Homo Economicus busts the myth of the rational human wide open, demonstrating how, in the real world, Homo sapiens are far from fully rational creatures. Papadogiannis walks readers through the history of modern economics and reveals a consistent pattern of certainty and the illusion of control among economists leading into every crisis since the seventeenth century. He presents findings from disciplines such as neuroscience, psychology, and sociology that overturn the economist's idealized view of human nature, revealing that rationality is but one quality ruling behavior. In terms that anyone can understand, and drawing from a vast bibliography of well-known references, the book contrasts the imaginary universe of modern economics with the complex, dynamic, chaotic reality that more accurately describes our existence. A stinging indictment of economic science for its role in creating the crisis of 2007, The Rise and Fall of Homo Economicus is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding how our society functions or exploring ways to make economic science better serve us.

Coming Up Short

Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty

Author: Jennifer M. Silva

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019993147X

Category: Social Science

Page: 288

View: 4963

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What does it mean to grow up today as working-class young adults? How does the economic and social instability left in the wake of neoliberalism shape their identities, their understandings of the American Dream, and their futures? Coming Up Short illuminates the transition to adulthood for working-class men and women. Moving away from easy labels such as the "Peter Pan generation," Jennifer Silva reveals the far bleaker picture of how the erosion of traditional markers of adulthood-marriage, a steady job, a house of one's own-has changed what it means to grow up as part of the post-industrial working class. Based on one hundred interviews with working-class people in two towns-Lowell, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Virginia-Silva sheds light on their experience of heightened economic insecurity, deepening inequality, and uncertainty about marriage and family. Silva argues that, for these men and women, coming of age means coming to terms with the absence of choice. As possibilities and hope contract, moving into adulthood has been re-defined as a process of personal struggle-an adult is no longer someone with a small home and a reliable car, but someone who has faced and overcome personal demons to reconstruct a transformed self. Indeed, rather than turn to politics to restore the traditional working class, this generation builds meaning and dignity through the struggle to exorcise the demons of familial abuse, mental health problems, addiction, or betrayal in past relationships. This dramatic and largely unnoticed shift reduces becoming an adult to solitary suffering, self-blame, and an endless seeking for signs of progress. This powerfully written book focuses on those who are most vulnerable-young, working-class people, including African-Americans, women, and single parents-and reveals what, in very real terms, the demise of the social safety net means to their fragile hold on the American Dream.

Resisting Work

The Corporatization of Life and Its Discontents

Author: Peter Fleming

Publisher: Temple University Press

ISBN: 1439911126

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 210

View: 707

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A job is no longer something we "do," but instead something we "are." As the boundaries between work and non-work have dissolved, we restructure ourselves and our lives using social ingenuity to get things done and be resourceful outside the official workday. In his provocative book, Resisting Work Peter Fleming insists that many jobs in the West are now regulated by a new matrix of power-biopower-where "life itself" is put to work through our ability to self-organize around formal rules. This neoliberal system of employment tries to absorb our life attributes--from our consumer tastes, "downtime," and sexuality--into employment so that questions of human capital and resources replace questions of employee, worker, and labor. Fleming then suggests that the corporation turns to communal life-what he calls "the common"-in order to reproduce itself and reinforce corporate culture. Yet a resistance against this new definition of work is in effect, and Fleming shows how it may already be taking shape.

Critical Realism and Marxism

Author: Andrew Brown,Steve Fleetwood,John Michael Roberts

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134532660

Category: Social Science

Page: 280

View: 714

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This book examines the relationship between critical realism and Marxism. The authors argue that critical realism and Marxism have much to gain from each other. This is the first book to address the controversial debates between critical realism and Marxism, and it does so from a wide range if disciplines. The authors argue that whilst one book cannot answer all the questions about the relationship between critical realism and Marxism, this book does provide some significant answers. In doing so, Critical Realism and Marxism reveals a potentially fruitful relationship; deepens our understanding of the social world and makes an important contribution towards eliminating the barbarism that accompanies contemporary capitalism.

Dead Man Working

Author: Carl Cederstrom,Peter Fleming

Publisher: John Hunt Publishing

ISBN: 1780991576

Category: Philosophy

Page: 83

View: 8633

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Capitalism has become strange. Ironically, while the ‘age of work’ seems to have come to an end, working has assumed a total presence – a ‘worker’s society’ in the worst sense of the term – where everyone finds themselves obsessed with it. So what does the worker tell us today? "I feel drained, empty… dead." This book tells the story of the dead man working. It follows this figure through the daily tedium of the office, to the humiliating mandatory team building exercise, to awkward encounters with the funky boss who pretends to hate capitalism and tells you to be authentic. In this society, the experience of work is not of dying...but neither of living. It is one of a living death. And yet, the dead man working is nevertheless compelled to wear the exterior signs of life, to throw a pretty smile, feign enthusiasm and make a half-baked joke. When the corporation has colonized life itself, even our dreams, the question of escape becomes ever more pressing, ever more desperate…

Willing Slaves Of Capital

Spinoza And Marx On Desire

Author: Frederic Lordon

Publisher: Verso Books

ISBN: 1781682135

Category: Philosophy

Page: 224

View: 5628

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Why do people work for other people? This seemingly naïve question is at the heart of Lordon's argument. To complement Marx's partial answers, especially in the face of the disconcerting spectacle of the engaged, enthusiastic employee, Lordon brings to bear a "Spinozist anthropology" that reveals the fundamental role of affects and passions in the employment relationship, reconceptualizing capitalist exploitation as the capture and remolding of desire. A thoroughly materialist reading of Spinoza's Ethics allows Lordon to debunk all notions of individual autonomy and self-determination while simultaneously saving the ideas of political freedom and liberation from capitalist exploitation. Willing Slaves of Capital is a bold proposal to rethink capitalism and its transcendence on the basis of the contemporary experience of work.

A World Made New

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Author: Mary Ann Glendon

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 9780375506925

Category: History

Page: 368

View: 9097

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A World Made New tells the dramatic story of the struggle to build, out of the trauma and wreckage of World War II, a document that would ensure it would never happen again. There was an almost religious intensity to the project, championed by Eleanor Roosevelt under the aegis of the newly formed United nations and brought into being by an extraordinary group of men and women who knew, like the framers of the Declaration of Independence, that they were making history. They worked against the clock, the brief window between the end of World War II and the deep freeze of the cold war, to forget the founding document of the modern rights movement. A distinguished professor of international law, Mary Ann Glendon was given exclusive access to personal diaries and unpublished memoirs of key participants. An outstanding work of narrative history, A World Made New is the first book devoted to this crucial moment in Eleanor Roosevelt's life and in world history.

The Refusal of Work

The Theory and Practice of Resistance to Work

Author: David Frayne

Publisher: Zed Books Ltd.

ISBN: 1783601205

Category: Political Science

Page: 280

View: 8537

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Paid work is absolutely central to the culture and politics of capitalist societies, yet today’s work-centred world is becoming increasingly hostile to the human need for autonomy, spontaneity and community. The grim reality of a society in which some are overworked, whilst others are condemned to intermittent work and unemployment, is progressively more difficult to tolerate. In this thought-provoking book, David Frayne questions the central place of work in mainstream political visions of the future, laying bare the ways in which economic demands colonise our lives and priorities. Drawing on his original research into the lives of people who are actively resisting nine-to-five employment, Frayne asks what motivates these people to disconnect from work, whether or not their resistance is futile, and whether they might have the capacity to inspire an alternative form of development, based on a reduction and social redistribution of work. A crucial dissection of the work-centred nature of modern society and emerging resistance to it, The Refusal of Work is a bold call for a more humane and sustainable vision of social progress.

Down and Out in the New Economy

How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work Today

Author: Ilana Gershon

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022645228X

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 304

View: 487

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Finding a job used to be simple. You’d show up at an office and ask for an application. A friend would mention a job in their department. Or you’d see an ad in a newspaper and send in your cover letter. Maybe you’d call the company a week later to check in, but the basic approach was easy. And once you got a job, you would stay—often for decades. Now . . . well, it’s complicated. If you want to have a shot at a good job, you need to have a robust profile on LinkdIn. And an enticing personal brand. Or something like that—contemporary how-to books tend to offer contradictory advice. But they agree on one thing: in today’s economy, you can’t just be an employee looking to get hired—you have to market yourself as a business, one that can help another business achieve its goals. That’s a radical transformation in how we think about work and employment, says Ilana Gershon. And with Down and Out in the New Economy, she digs deep into that change and what it means, not just for job seekers, but for businesses and our very culture. In telling her story, Gershon covers all parts of the employment spectrum: she interviews hiring managers about how they assess candidates; attends personal branding seminars; talks with managers at companies around the United States to suss out regional differences—like how Silicon Valley firms look askance at the lengthier employment tenures of applicants from the Midwest. And she finds that not everything has changed: though the technological trappings may be glitzier, in a lot of cases, who you know remains more important than what you know. Throughout, Gershon keeps her eye on bigger questions, interested not in what lessons job-seekers can take—though there are plenty of those here—but on what it means to consider yourself a business. What does that blurring of personal and vocational lives do to our sense of our selves, the economy, our communities? Though it’s often dressed up in the language of liberation, is this approach actually disempowering workers at the expense of corporations? Rich in the voices of people deeply involved with all parts of the employment process, Down and Out in the New Economy offers a snapshot of the quest for work today—and a pointed analysis of its larger meaning.

Sugar Daddy Capitalism The Dark Side of the New Economy

Author: Peter Fleming

Publisher: Polity

ISBN: 9781509528196

Category: Political Science

Page: 184

View: 1744

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What is the connection between the sleaziness of Harvey Weinstein’s ‘business meetings’ and the passionless doctrine of neoclassical economics? In this witty and incisive examination of the new economy, Peter Fleming argues that they are closer than you might think. The quest to rid society of bureaucracy, shrink government and burn red tape has certainly made capitalism ‘more human’, but not in the family-friendly way envisaged by free-market gurus. Increasing informality has led to a capitalism fuelled by limitless exploitation and increasingly seedy methods of management, from semi-feudal workplace hazing rituals and predatory middle-managers with an axe to grind to arbitrary zero-hours contracts, Uber, and perhaps worst of all, jogging. Fleming dubs this ‘Sugar Daddy Capitalism’ after the controversial dating-app wealthy businessmen use to meet young girls, most of whom are struggling with university fees. What seems like a creepy outlier is actually a prescient metaphor for our whole economy: an anonymous and impersonal cash system that is also intent on getting under your skin, extra close and capable of ruining everything if you say ... “no”.

News from Tartary

Author: Peter Fleming

Publisher: I.B.Tauris

ISBN: 1780765037

Category: History

Page: 424

View: 9956

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News from Tartary describes a phenomenally successful attempt that legendary adventurer, Peter Fleming made to travel overland from Peking to Kashmir. The journey took seven months and covered about 3,500 miles. With his companion, adventurer and writer, Ella Maillart, they set out across a China torn by civil war to journey through Xinjiang to British India. It had been eight years since anyone had crossed Xinjiang; in between those who had entered this inhospitable and politically volatile area - under the control of a warlord supported by Stalin's Red Army - seldom left alive. Entering the province by a little known route and following the path of the Silk Road, they ended up in Kashgar before crossing the Pamirs to India. Beautifully written and superbly observed, this is not simply an account of a part of the world few of us will ever see, but also a marvellous insight into the last days of the Great Game, when Britain and Russia still faced each other across a Central Asia in a state of anarchy.

No More Work

Why Full Employment Is a Bad Idea

Author: James Livingston

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 1469630664

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 128

View: 3980

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For centuries we've believed that work was where you learned discipline, initiative, honesty, self-reliance--in a word, character. A job was also, and not incidentally, the source of your income: if you didn't work, you didn't eat, or else you were stealing from someone. If only you worked hard, you could earn your way and maybe even make something of yourself. In recent decades, through everyday experience, these beliefs have proven spectacularly false. In this book, James Livingston explains how and why Americans still cling to work as a solution rather than a problem--why it is that both liberals and conservatives announce that "full employment" is their goal when job creation is no longer a feasible solution for any problem, moral or economic. The result is a witty, stirring denunciation of the ways we think about why we labor, exhorting us to imagine a new way of finding meaning, character, and sustenance beyond our workaday world--and showing us that we can afford to leave that world behind.