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.
In this major new book, Andre Gorz expands on the political implications of his prescient and influential Paths to Paradise and Critique of Economic Reason. Against the background of technological developments which have transformed the nature of work and the structure of the workforce, Gorz explores the new political agendas facing both left and right. Each is in disarray: the right, torn between the demands of capital and the 'traditional values' of its supporters, can only offer illusory solutions, while the left either capitulates to these or remains tempted by regressive, 'fundamentalist' projects inappropriate to complex modern societies. Identifying the grave risks posed by a dual society with a hyperactive minority of full-time workers confronting a silenced majority who are, at best, precariously employed, Gorz proposes a new definition of a key social conflict within Western societies in terms of the distribution of work and the form and content of non-working time.

Taking into account changing cultural attitudes to work, he re-examines socialism's historical project—which, he contends, has always properly been to lay down the rules and limits within which economic raitonality may be permitted to function, not to create some statist, productivist countersystem. Above all, he offers a vital fresh perspective for the left, whose objective, in his view, must be to extend the sphere to autonomous human activity, and increase the possibilities for individual self-fulfilment.


  • Frédéric Lordon's Willing Slaves of Capital: A Review

    The following review, by Abhijeet Paul, was originally published in Critical Inquiry.

    In the three chapters—more like three theses—Lordon explores the reasons for our general desire to be enslaved by modern work and the workplace. This justifies the title of the book: we are willing slaves of capital—it would not be otherwise. Further, Lordon emphasizes, there is no voluntary, but only passionate, servitude.

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  • Privatised catastrophe: Bets on the weather and natural disasters

    Governments can no longer afford to compensate the victims of earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis, or rebuild infrastructure. The tax revenues just aren’t there. So they’re selling insurance bonds to private investors. In an article recently published by Le Monde Diplomatique, the opening paragraphs of which we publish here, Razmig Keucheyan charts the horrendous new developments of finance capitalism.

    Last November, super-typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, killing more than 6,000 people, damaging or destroying 1.5m homes and causing $13bn damage. Three months later, insurance brokers Munich Re and Willis Re, accompanied by representatives of the UN international strategy for disaster reduction (UNISDR), presented a new financial product to members of the Philippine senate: it was intended to make up for the supposed deficiencies of state provision against major climate-related disasters. The Philippines risk and insurance scheme for municipalities (PRISM) is a high-yield security that municipalities would offer to private investors (1), who would receive an attractive rate of interest, subsidised by the state, but would lose their investment in the event of a disaster of a given scale and severity.

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  • Winners of our Radical Thinkers competition!

    To launch Set 7 in our Radical Thinkers series, we ran a competition last week to win a copy of every available book published in the series so far.

    After a week of frenzied-question posting and a website crash in the face of Radical Thinkers popularity, I’m delighted to announce the winners and runners-up!

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Other books by André Gorz Translated by Chris Turner