9781844676675-frontcover

Critique of Economic Reason

“Gorz’s greatest work, and a crucial book for our time.”—Le Monde.
André Gorz's earlier books—from Ecology as Politics to Farewell to the Working Class and Paths to Paradise—have informed and inspired the most radical currents in Green movements in Europe and America over the last two decades. In Critique of Economic Reason, he offers his fullest account to date of the terminal crisis of a system where every activity and aspiration has been subjected to the rule of the market. By carefully delineating the existential and cultural limits of economic rationality, he emphasizes the urgent need to create a society which rejects the work ethic in favor of an emancipatory ethic of free time.

At the heart of his alternative is an advocacy not of "full employment," but of an equal distribution of the diminishing amount of necessary paid work. He presents a practical strategy for reducing the working week, and develops a radical version of a guaranteed wage for all. Above all, he argues that a utopian vision is now the only realistic proposal, and that "economic reason must be returned to its true—that is subordinate—place."

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  • An Introduction to Radical Thinkers at the ICA - Preliminary readings

    The following extracts, free to download, accompany An Introduction to Radical Thinkers: a fortnightly series of events begining 9th April at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London.


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  • Radical Thinkers – Win all available titles of the entire series!

    This competiton has now ended. See the winners, and answers to the questions, here!

    The notorious Radical Thinkers competition is back, this time to celebrate the publication of Set 7. The prize: every available title in the collection! That is an entire library of radical thought from Althusser to Žižek; a total of some seventy plus books.

    The highly popular Radical Thinkers series publishes beautifully designed and affordable editions of important works of theory and philosophy. Covering a full spectrum of critical thought, the series includes work from radical thinkers such as Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Jean Baudrillard, Guy Debord, Georg Lukács, Gillian Rose, Jean-Paul Sartre, Theodor Adorno and many more.

    First launched in 2005, there are now eighty titles in the series. In 2009, Set 4 was launched with a sleek, acclaimed new cover design from Rumors, which has become a hallmark of the series. They have been widely praised, including in the Guardian, Bookforum and the New Statesman.

    Two winners (one from the US/Canada and one from the rest of the world), will win all available titles in the seven series published so far. Two runners up will win a full set 7, and 6 more will win one of the books from set 7.

    Set 7 is launched with a series of fortnightly events at the ICA. 

    How it works:

    There will be twelve questions in total, each relating to a title from Set 7 of the series.  Up to three questions will be posted here every day this week. And as ever—they are not meant to be easy.

    The final questions will be posted at 4pm GMT on Friday 22 March. The winners will be the first person in each territory to email the correct answers to all twelve questions after this time. The email address for entries will be posted with the final question on Friday. The winners will be announced and all the answers will be posted on Monday 25 March.

    Please do not post the answers on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else—entries accepted by email only. Any comments posting the answers will be deleted.

    Good luck!

    Monday

    1. Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism

    The second chapter in The Sprit of Terrorism began as a contribution to a debate on the events of September 11th organized jointly by the New York University and France Culture in Washington Square, Manhattan. In an interview with the New York Times regarding French theory in American universities, Baudrillard remarked:

    “The French gave Americans a language they did not need. It was like the Statue of Liberty. Nobody needs French theory.”

    Which other widely known French theorist spoke at this event?

    2. Max Horkheimer, Critique of Instrumental Reason

    “At the end of the Nazi period (I thought at the time) a new day, the beginning of an authentically human history, would dawn in the developed countries as the result of reforms or revolution. Along with the other founders of Scientific Socialism, I thought that the cultural gains of the bourgeois era – the free development of human powers, a spiritual productivity – but stripped now of all elements of force and exploitation, would surely become widespread throughout the world.”

    In a groundbreaking book written by Horkheimer and his life long colleague and collaborator the first chapter states that the Enlightenment has always aimed at liberating men from what?

    Tuesday

    3. Karl Korsch, Marxism and Philosophy

    One of the most famous works produced by the European revolutionary movement, Marxism and Philosophy is the first attempt by a Marxist to apply Marx’s critical and materialist method to the history of Marxism itself.

    Towards the end of the Second World War, which student of Karl Korsch enthusiastically put to verse The Communist Manifesto?

    4. Ludwig Feuerbach, The Fiery Brook: Selected Writings

    A great amount of the young Marx must remain unintelligible without reference to certain basic Feuerbachian texts. These selections, most of them previously translated, establish the thought of Feuerbach in an independent role.

    Which essay by Feuerbach, part of which is included in this collection, influenced Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen and caused Engels to remark, “One must himself have experienced the liberating effect of this book to get an idea of it. Enthusiasm was general; we all became at once Feuerbachians”?

    Wednesday



    5. Fredric Jameson, A Singular Modernity

    A major interpretation of the concepts of modernism and modernity.

    In his introduction to this book Jameson refers to a postmodern philosopher and his comments on two other well-known philosopher’s facial hair. Name these three men and their preference or not for beards.

    6. Maurice Godelier, Rationality and Irrationality in Economics

    An analysis of social and economic systems and why they appear and disappear throughout history.

    As of 2001 Maurice Godelier owns what object, which was also possessed by Pierre Bourdieu and Claude Levi-Strauss?

    Thursday



    7. Simon Critchley, Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of commitment, Politics of Resistance

    "Philosophy begins in disappointment.” Simon Critchley writes in the introduction to this work. “Nihilism is the breakdown of the order of meaning, where all that we previously imagined as a divine, transcendent basis for moral valuation has become meaningless. […]For some, this is the defining experience of youth – witness the deaths of numerous young romantics, whether Keats, Shelley, Sid Vicious or Kurt Cobain.”

    Which of four these dead romantics died youngest?

    8. Wilhelm Reich, Sex-Pol: Essays, 1929-1934

    Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian psychoanalyst who made significant contributions to psychoanalytic theory. His controversial views on sexual and class oppression resulted in his expulsion from the International Communist Party of Germany in 1933 and from the International Psychoanalytic Association in 1934.

    Reich was subject to libricide by both the United States and the Nazi Party. Name another physician also interested in sexual repression who was subject to same fate under the Nazis.

    9. Alain Badiou Ethics: An Essay On The Understanding of Evil

    In this book Alain Badiou shows how our prevailing ethical principles serve ultimately to reinforce an ideology of the status quo and fail to provide a framework for an effective understanding of the concept of evil.

    Name a major influence on Badiou’s Ethics who famously said “Ne pas céder sur son désir.”

    FRIDAY
    -
    first entries from each territory with the correct answers to all 12 questions takes all! Good luck!




    10. Slavoj Žižek Welcome to the Desert of the Real

    “The fact that September 11 attacks were the stuff of popular fantasies long before they actually took place provides yet another case of the twisted logic of dreams: it is easy to account for the fact that poor people around the world dream about becoming Americans – so what do the well-to-do Americans, immobilized in their well-being dream about? About a global catastrophe that would shatter their lives – why?”

    Prior to this quote Žižek mentions a film in the top fifty highest grossing films of all time staring an actor also known as ‘The Fresh Prince’. Name this film.

    11. André Gorz Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology

    Against the background of recent technological developments, Gorz's major new book explores the political agendas facing both right and left in the midst of the transformations of the nature of work and the structure of the workforce.

    What is the connection between Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Times and André Gorz’s journalistic career?

    12. V.N. Voloshinov Freudianism: A Marxist Critique

    An early critique of Freud from a Marxist and linguistic perspective.

    Voloshninov was a member of a group of philosophers whose thought on language and art addressed the social and cultural issues posed by the Russian Revolution and its degeneration into the Stalin dictatorship.

    Name the philosopher by which this group took its title.



    Those in North America email verso@versobooks.com.

    For the rest of the world, including the UK, email enquiries@verso.co.uk.

    Please put RADICAL THINKERS COMPETITION in the subject line or your entry may not be counted.


    Winners will be announced on Monday.

     

  • COMPETITION: Win the entire Radical Thinkers backlist!

    And here are the answers you've all been so patiently waiting for. Congratulations to our incredibly well-read winners!

    Get your radical thinking caps on...To celebrate the publication of Set 5 of the Radical Thinkers series, Verso is offering 2 lucky winners the chance to win all available titles in the five sets published to date.

    The highly popular series publishes new editions of important works of continental philosophy in beautifully-designed and affordable editions. Covering the full spectrum of critical thought, the series includes work from radical thinkers such as Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Louis Althusser, Jean Baudrillard, Guy Debord, Georg Lukács, Jean-Paul Sartre, Theodor Adorno and many more. 

    First published in 2005, there are now 60 titles in the series. In 2009, set 4 was launched with a stunning and acclaimed new cover design from Rumors, which has become a hallmark of the series. They have been widely praised, including in the Guardian, Bookforum and the New Statesman. 

    Continue Reading

Other books by André Gorz

  • 9781781680261_capitalism_socialism_ecology

    Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology

    Against the background of recent technological developments, Gorz's major new book explores the political agendas facing both right and left in the midst of the transformations of the nature of work and the structure of the workforce.

    4 posts

  • 9780860919414-frontcover

    The Traitor

    The most intimate and profound book to emerge from the existentialist movement.