In a world of declining wages, working conditions, and instability, the response for many has been to work harder, increasing hours and finding various ways to hustle in a gig economy. What drives our attachment to work? To paraphrase a question from Spinoza, "Why do people fight for their exploitation as if it was liberation?"
The Double Shift turns towards the intersection of Marx and Spinoza in order to examine the nature of our affective, ideological, and strategic attachment to work. Through an examination of contemporary capitalism and popular culture it argues that the current moment can be defined as one of "negative solidarity." The hardship and difficulty of work is seen not as the basis for alienation and calls for its transformation but rather an identification with the difficulties and hardships of work. This distortion of the work ethic leads to a celebration of capitalists as job creators and suspicion towards anyone who is not seen as a "real worker."
The book is grounded in philosophy, specifically Marx and Spinoza, and is in dialogue with Plato, Smith, Hegel, and Arendt, but, at the same time, in examining contemporary ideologies and ideas about work it discusses motivational meetings at Apple Stores, the culture of Silicon Valley, and films and television from Office Space to Better Call Saul
The Double Shift argues for a transformation of our collective imagination and attachment to work.