Why do people work for other people? This seemingly naïve question is more difficult to answer than one might at first imagine, and it lies at the heart of Lordon's Willing Slaves of Capital.
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 remoulding of desire.
A thoroughly materialist reading of Spinoza's Ethics allows Lordon to debunk notions of individual autonomy and selfdetermination 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.
“This ambitious but always lucid book aims to reopen the conceptual framework of capitalism.”
“This work is an initiatory voyage towards communism.”
“Frédéric Lordon is one of the most audacious contemporary left-wing economists.”
“At a time when all workers are required to show 'passion' for their jobs, Willing Slaves of Capital is a crucial re-affirmation of the importance of Spinoza’s philosophy for understanding contemporary forms of servitude. Lordon persuasively and elegantly shows that the only way to break free is to hold onto a cold and exceptionless determinism: hope is pointless, regret is meaningless, yet change can still be made to happen”
“Lordon effectively and brilliantly demonstrates that Spinoza is less a precursor to Marx than a necessary complement. Only Spinoza’s examination of the production of desire can answer the question that is at the core of Marxism: Why do workers work for capital rather than their own liberation?’”