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They have a dream—a dream of a world where everything and everybody can be bought and sold, a world run efficiently by managers, a world where “freedom” means the free market. Maurice Glasman argues that this dream is an unrealizable utopia—or a nightmare if put into practice. He takes the tired old clichés of management-speak of the New Right and New Left alike and turns them on their heads: managers are not efficient, they are barriers to work and production. “Liberal democracy”—which now means the free market and the strong state—should be turned upside down, with democracy at the level of the economy and liberalism at the level of the state.
Drawing on the work of Karl Polanyi, Glasman argues that there is no need to surrender solidarity and human rights to the march of the managers and the market. There is another tradition, represented by the labour movement and Catholic Church in postwar West Germany, and Solidarity in Poland before 1989, when statist communitarianism and the New Right took over. Unnecessary Suffering examines this tradition and issues a call that human beings and the environment cannot, should not, and will not be treated like commodities.
For all workers drowning in a sea of dogma and management.memos, Unnecesary Suffering is necessary reading.