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A Post-employment Utopia?

Bernard Stiegler, Automatic Society 1: The Future of Work, Cambridge, Polity, 2016 Rutger Bregman, Utopia for Realists Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 2017 Peter Fleming, The Mythology of Work, London, Pluto, 2015

The dramatic transformation of work sometime in the near future has been forecast for more than a hundred years. In 1930 John Maynard Keynes gave a lecture in Madrid entitled 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren'. (1) His vision there--and Fleming begins his first chapter with it and Bregman his second--is that people in our day would be facing the challenge of what to do with so much leisure given that we would be working only fifteen hours weeks. (2) In particular, he predicted that the global economy would grow sevenfold, something it has indeed already done. In Keynes' time the working day was becoming shorter following Henry Ford's discovery that production increased when he cut the working hours in his factories and he predicted this trend would continue. He was certainly correct that the development of technology would increase productivity inexorably and even Nixon, when Vice President in the 1950s, promised a four-day working week 'in the not too distant future'. In the 1960s it was largely those on the left who sought to appropriate these developments and build a radical politics on the basis of them. In France Andre Gorz held this torch over the years. The Belgian academic, Phillippe van Parijs has published important work and thirty years ago founded the BIEN association of activists for basic income. In the 1990s it was Jeremy Rifkin, an American futurologist rather than a political radical, who notably publicised a version of these ideas in the Anglo-Saxon world. (3) In recent years--as all of the writers under consideration note--the idea that technology will result in many jobs becoming redundant, has been widely discussed.

One of the great political questions currently facing developed societies is how to respond to this challenge. Bill Gates, as Stiegler reports, told the American Enterprise Institute in 2014 that the best solution would be to lower income taxes and to make tax changes to encourage companies to hire people, that is, to reprise or continue with the trickle-down economics of Reagan. He specifically argued against raising the minimum income. (4) In contrast, all three of the books under consideration suggest that the solution is for employment and income to be separated, giving rise to a situation that all three describe in terms that verge on the utopian. Bregman argues that 'the richer we as a society become, the less effectively [sic] the labour market will be at distributing prosperity' (p92). He suggests 'free money' or a basic income as a response. Stiegler speaks of 'the inevitable withering of wage labour', and tells us, 'the end of employment ... has become obvious' (p173). This leads him to project: 'a fully automatized society where employment has disappeared and hence where wages are no longer the source of purchasing power, in turn implying the disappearance of the purchasing consumer, which clearly requires the institution of a new process of distribution (p84). In particular, he proposes a contributory rather than a basic income or free money although he fails to flesh this out in any detail. Fleming suggests nothing less than 'a surplus living wage' set at a minimum of 30,000 [pounds sterling] and it is the basis on which he does so that I will first examine.

FLEMING'S IMMODEST PROPOSALS

Peter Fleming is Professor of Business and Society at London's City University. His earliest research looked at everyday practices of resistance to working life and this focus has remained at the core of his work. (5) His Dead Man Working, written with Carl Cederstrom, a lecturer in business studies with Lacanian interests, received impressive reviews many of which praised its wit. (6) The Mythology of Work, however, shows a much less sure touch. Early on, Fleming tells us that he intends to 'focus on six themes that I believe we ought to comprehensively understand if we are to develop a post-work future' (p18). Elsewhere he says: 'this book offers a number of suggestions about how to refuse the ideology of work today' (p29). Fleming's argument is often hard to make out and its strategy and targets far from clear. At one stage, in the space of a few pages he advances two almost opposing claims. Firstly, we have the assertion that 'late capitalism is extremely one dimensional, revolving almost singularly around questions of efficiency, utility and input-output effectiveness' (p8). But a moment later we are told that 'the neoliberal theatre of subordination is only partially interested in measureable productiveness' (p19).

The book begins on an anti-theoretical note with, right on the first page, the alleged sympathies of 'postmodern relativism' with neoliberal capitalism being criticised. However, as it progresses there is an increasing use of a vocabulary which might be taken to be 'theoretical'. While Nietzsche, Deleuze, Foucault, Adorno, Jameson and de Certeau all get mentions, with a couple of exceptions there is no extensive reading or employment of the work of any of these figures or any remarks even on the difficulties of employing such disparate thinkers together. Early on it looks like Marx might be important and that Fleming will rely on a labour theory of value. The introduction proposes that 'neoliberal class relations are distinct in that they transform exploitation into something that strongly resembles subsidization' (p3). But this is said to occur, bizarrely, through the tax system. Apparently, taxes are 'more oppressive than ever under [neoliberalism]'; although how is not explained given the tax burden of the average British worker is less now than it was in the seventies (p3). Fleming warms to his theme and at times we might feel we are listening to a Conservative politician: 'it is really through punishing taxation policies that the working people are hit hard' (p14).

In the absence of any other framework, much of the argumentative and explanatory work in the book is carried by loose psychologising: 'typical accounts of contemporary work tend to overlook its fetishistic character' (p3). Managers and 'the system of control within workplaces' are said to be 'sadistic'. Workers are 'paranoid', apparently partly from taking too much amphetamine but also because this is the 'default attitude in the office' (p24). On occasion this builds up to crypto-theoretical passages such as:
   it is easy to see why so many find paranoia such a suitable
   pathology in the post-industrial economy. It connects the
   neoliberal obsessive complex to the labouring body that overworks
   automatically and is held in place by ritualistic attractions that
   are sacrificial in nature. (p29)


In places things take a more bizarre turn. At one stage there seems to be an attempt to pastiche romantic melodrama: 'standing on the outside looking in, the idea of killing yourself over a trivial thing like work is unfathomable. Over a lost lover? Yes. Ennui? Perhaps' (p51). One can only guess that here Fleming is rather unsuccessfully trying to recreate the humour of his previous co-production with Cederstrom. Similarly, his statement--'sadly, others continue indefinitely into oblivion and even purchase investment properties --a truly horrific spiritual fate that embodies everything cursed about late capitalism'--is neither witty nor insightful, showing no appreciation of the way in which the pension options of those working in the private sector have become extremely limited in recent years (this is despite only a few pages later noting 'the slow degradation of pensions in OECD countries') (pp26, 39).

Towards the end of chapter one, Fleming remarks on a wave of studies on neoliberalism telling us they are 'informative investigations'. But, he questions whether they are not taking 'this ideological doxa a little too seriously' and suggests that 'in the end, neoliberal apologists only desire our attention and probably relish the idea of left-wing debunkers spending years reading Hayek' (pp44-5). He goes on: 'how does neoliberalism function? To be honest, who cares?' (p45). In a book with the subtitle 'how capitalism persists despite itself' to say this is rather disappointing is an understatement. This notwithstanding, a few pages later he does attempt to explain--rather opaquely--how neoliberalism functions: 'corporate domination now depends upon a dynamic social intoxication and suspiciously multiple passages between institutional domains' (p55). It is hardly surprising that when we come to them his practical proposals have a thrown-out-there air about them.

Fleming insists that he does not want to become embroiled in detailed criticisms of the current state of affairs but 'to affirm a world beyond class domination' (p193). On this basis he gives us six paragraph length proposals in the short conclusion to the book, one of which is the surplus living wage of 30,000 [pounds sterling] per annum (other proposals include a three-day working week). No attempt is made to defend this particular proposal and the extensive literature in the field--a journal, Basic Incomes Studies established by Phillippe de Parijs at Louvain, has extensively discussed various options and issues--is ignored. Somewhat surprisingly, Fleming says, after having initially presented his proposals in a post-capitalism frame, is that this would have 'overwhelmingly positive [consequences] from a social democratic point of view' (p194). The book then rapidly concludes on the uncertain note: 'and the reader knows what needs to be changed as much as I do' (p199). After two hundred pages it is something of deflationary ending.

BREGMAN'S ENTHUSIASM

Bregman begins, perhaps rather unusually for a book proposing a radical politics, by observing the plenitude that characterises the developed world today. In the Netherlands, where he lives, he tells us that the average homeless person receiving public assistance has more to spend than the average Dutch person in 1950 and four times more than people in Holland's Golden Age (p13). Further, whereas 94 per cent of the world's population were living in extreme poverty in 1820, it was 44 per cent in 1981 and now approaches only 10 per cent (p13). Bregman's placing the current wealth of the west in historical and geographic perspective is important, yet amidst his celebration he fails to question whether current levels of consumption are sustainable. He doesn't note that others distant in time and place will pay the price for our high living standards (particularly for their reliance on carbon-based energy). He implies we can go on as we are and only need to distribute resources in a different way, failing to raise the perhaps even more pressing question of the sustainability of our current standard of living. Bregman suggests that what we most need now is wisdom about how to live well (p26). He asks a similar question to Fleming: 'why have we been working harder and harder since the 1980s despite being richer than ever?'(p28). But he argues, not that fetishism is the cause, but that economic growth is translating, not into more-or-less time spent at work, but into more stuff (p38). This is partly true but there are also other factors such as the necessity to pay off the vast debt that has been created in the inflation of property prices. Neither Fleming nor Bregman notes that a huge amount of working time goes towards paying off the cost of a mortgage or high rents (in this respect the Netherlands is not far behind the UK). Bregman's own wisdom is simple: we need to consume our prosperity in the form of leisure. Yet he realises that this cannot just come down to a question of individuals deciding unilaterally to work less. He suggests governments need to change incentives which encourage employers to get existing workers to work longer hours rather than employ extra people. He also argues, as Keynes did back in 1930 and as will Stiegler, that education must prepare people for life more generally and not simply for work.

Bregman charts what has happened with productivity over the last century or so. One of the most dramatic changes is how few people now work in agriculture. In 1800 it was 70 per cent of Americans, by 1900 30 per cent and by 2000 a mere 3 per cent (for a book written in Europe his approach is rather America-centric in his examples). Even over the last twenty years, we might add, in the UK it has dropped from 4 per cent to 2 per cent. American cows give twice as much milk in 2010 as in 1970, the productivity of wheat has doubled and that of tomatoes tripled (p138). Again, there is little concern shown for the sustainability of such intense production. Recent German studies suggest a shocking 75 per cent drop in insect populations in the last twenty-five years, an environmental Armageddon in the making, but no such environmental concerns cloud the picture painted. Bregman contrasts Kodak, which employed 145,000 in the late 1980s and which filed for bankruptcy in 2012, with Instagram, which employed thirteen people and was bought the same year for $1 billion. The findings of a study of the US car making industry from 1963 are cited: new technologies wiped out 13 million jobs in the previous decade but created 20 million jobs. What has happened more recently, since 2000, is what MIT economists have called 'the great uncoupling' where very fast innovation is not linked to more jobs. In particular, this has been manifested in a decline in the number of jobs for the moderately skilled (with those of high skilled and low skilled remaining the same). We then have a complication which partly contradicts his initial picture of prosperity: globalization is eroding the wages of the middle class which has sought to maintain its spending power by borrowing.

In response to this development, Bregman makes a case for giving free money to everyone. He looks at a number of experiments: from one giving 3,000 [pounds sterling] each to rough sleepers in the City of London via ones in Africa to the 1970s Mincome project in Canada (pp55-63). These studies show that the claim that giving unconditional money will result in the recipients stopping working or that they will make bad choices are unfounded. Various other arguments are also rehearsed. Bregman shows how poverty leads people to bad judgements because of the short-term viewpoints they adopt (pp100-103). The costs of homelessness--two or three times as much as simply housing people--are examined (pp112-14). An account of Nixon's minimum income plan and the way it drew on the ideas of Karl Polanyi is given. In places it is quite apparent he is covering far too much ground too quickly: in order to show a link between poverty and mental illness a paper of 1855 is cited (p98). That Bregman never wrestles with significant evidence that is contrary to his theories makes his book more of a manifesto than a serious examination of the issues it proposes. Many who already think like Bregman will be further enthused, but those who are more questioning will find themselves unsatisfied. His critique of his former post-graduate course in development economics --'the American professor argued that extreme poverty could be wiped out completely before 2025. All we need is a pile of money and a good plan. His plan, mind you'--could be easily directed back at the author (p177).

Bregman claims not just that productivity and technology are doing away with jobs but that there are an increasing number of people who do jobs we can do without. His argument here depends on an account of how Ireland got through a six-month bank strike in the 1970s and on a recent survey in which many people said they had a perception their job was pointless (pp142-4). Another shaky argument is his claim that Reagan era tax cuts encouraged 'the best minds' to switch from teaching and engineering to banking and accountancy, leading to a decline in innovation. He attributes too much to individual career choices and overlooks the much more complex question of the willingness of contemporary capitalism to invest long term rather than to seek rents. The extent to which companies invest in research and development will not be dramatically turned around by higher taxes on high incomes as he suggests (desirable as they might be for other reasons).

The penultimate chapter suggests opening borders would be much more effective than aid in alleviating poverty (it is noted in any case that the entire global total of aid given annually is the same as what a small wealthy nation such as the Netherlands spends on healthcare alone) (p190). According to the World Bank: 'if all the developed countries would let in just 3 per cent more immigrants, the world's poor would have $305 billion more to spend' (p182). That is three times the value of development aid. Some unpalatable facts are rehearsed: a person living at the poverty line in the US belongs to the richest 14 per cent in the world, someone earning the median wage belongs to the richest 4 per cent (p184). We are told: 'even food stamp recipients in the U.S. live like royalty compare to the poorest people in the world ... In the 21st century, the real elite are those born not in the right family or the right class but in the right country' (pp185-6). Some of the arguments made here contradict those elsewhere in the book about the inevitability of employment declining: apparently immigrants won't displace citizens but will cause more employment to be created (p187). Studies are cited which suggest that immigrants have no effect on wages. Others show that open borders promote immigrants' return: 85 per cent of Mexican immigrants returned in the 1970s compared to 7 per cent now (p188). But ultimately, despite the promises of the book's subtitle there is no argument for absolutely open borders which, we are told, would affect 'social cohesion' (p18 9). What is particularly disappointing is that no attempt whatsoever is made to link the argument for basic income and the limited case for more open borders and the arguments made in the different sections are ostensibly contradictory. To be credible, there is a need to address explicitly the question of the extent to which the latter is compatible with the former.

STIEGLER'S NEW AGE

As if the potential end of employment and the institution of a minimum income were not a dramatic enough development, Stiegler commences by linking their advent to nothing less than the end of the Anthropocene. We are told of 'a transformation of this magnitude, so extraordinary that it seems to go beyond the limits of History and Proto-History, that we refer to as the Anthropocene' (p85). Consequently, in the introductory sections of the book 'the Neganthropocene' is introduced as that which will accompany the end of work. Yet despite projecting such an epoch-defining change Stiegler only touches on this idea briefly in the introduction and a couple of times later in the book and it is treated in a hasty and utterly inadequately way. Basic definitional questions are ignored and there is no reference to the debate among scholars over when the Anthropocene commenced or even what it is. As is well known, the Anthropocene is the period of geological history defined by man's impact upon the earth. The argument which accompanied the first coining of this term fifteen years ago was that human activities have become so pervasive and profound that they rival the great forces of nature. In the extensive literature that has developed around this claim there have been arguments about whether the period began 50,000 or fifty years ago, whether it commenced with the combination of hunting and burning leading to mass extinctions or with the atomic bomb, or with a number of other events in between. (7) Yet Stiegler doesn't discuss or even refer to this debate and says simply that the Anthropocene's history 'coincides with that of capitalism' (p8). Given this is in disagreement with the current general consensus that the atom bomb marks the start of the Anthropocene, one would have expected Stiegler to make a case for why his definition is superior but he does not. Indeed, further complications are added almost in passing: 'we must think the Anthropocene with Nietzsche, as the geological era that consists in the devaluation of all values' (p9). How, and whether, Marx and Nietzsche can be so hastily combined and then aligned with geological history is simply never discussed. We are expected to take this as an ex cathedra pronouncement.

Given the Anthropocene appears to be, for Stiegler, both capitalism and 'the geological era that consists in the devaluation of all values', it is perhaps inevitable that the attempt to project a future that would escape from it gets utterly confused. Continuing with what he claims as a Nietzschean line of thought, he tells us that 'nihilism is set loose as consumerism' but that it can be transvalued by 'negentropy--or negative entropy or anti-entropy' (p10). Stiegler claims that 'emerging from thermodynamics ... the theory of entropy succeed in redefining the question of value' (p10). In particular, he argues that: 'the new value that will re-found the economy and politics will no longer be the time of employment, but the time of knowledge, that is, negentropy, constituting a neganthropy and the opening of the Neganthropocene' (p86). This is based on the extraordinary statement that: 'knowledge is a cosmic factor that is inherently negentropic (p15). No discussion of carbon outputs, let alone other ways in which man impacts on the planet such as through the massive human impact on the nitrogen cycle. (8) Stiegler speaks freely of the 'neganthropic possibilities opened up by automation itself' but without in any way spelling out how automation alone would bring us beyond a geological era where man is a geological factor (p14). In all this the seriousness and precise nature of our predicament isn't really realised and Stiegler, merely in passing, refers to 'the Anthropocene qua destiny that leads nowhere' (p15). The imminent threat posed by man's activities--and what steps we must take to avert it--is nowhere laid out. Very late in the book, we are merely told once that 'for the first time the question arises of the survival of humankind within a few generations' (p170). Stiegler's response to this predicament seems to be nothing more than a weak attempt on paper to define the problem away.

By and large, however, the book does not concern the projection of a Neganthropocene. Rather, for much of the book Stiegler's focus is on 'the society of total control' which he believes we live in. He tells us that 'hyperindustrial society is fully accomplished as the automatization of existences' and that the hyper-industrial state moves what Deleuze called control societies into hyper-control (pp20, 58). His claim is that:
   Symbolic misery results from the problematisation of sensibility
   that commenced in the early twentieth century. This
   de-symbolisation leads in a structural way to the destruction of
   desire, that is, to the ruin of libidinal economy (p20).


In this current volume he speaks constantly of 'total' and 'absolute situations: for example, symbolic misery is 'the liquidation of all attachment and all fidelity [my italics]' (p21). We are further said to be experiencing 'an absolutely and totally computational capitalism [Steigler's italics]', are told that 'objects have become fully calculable', that there is 'total proletarianisation and ... total disintegration of the spirit' and 'complete commodification of existence and everyday life' (pp23, 28, 42). Indeed: 'desire ... no longer exists because, all their objects hav[e] been turned into readymade commodities' (p34). Stiegler's argument here has a resemblance to those made by Adorno or the late Heidegger, that modern societies have become dominated by almost inescapable instrumentalising logics. Yet from Habermas to Derrida, over the last half century, arguments of this type focused on instrumentalisation and making the claim that it is total in contemporary society have been very thoroughly rebutted in a number of different ways and seem rather simplistic now, especially when presented simply as stark declarations without any supporting readings. Stiegler knows this well and his condemnations of the media, in particular, seem implausible in the light of some of his early work. In the early 1990s, he interviewed Derrida on the subject publishing a series of fascinating, and surprisingly rarely referenced, interviews. In them Derrida elaborates the need for 'a critical culture of the media', something that is a far cry from Stiegler's absolute condemnations and failure to engage in close analysis. (9)

A lengthy section of the book is devoted to telling the story of the loss of work-knowledge in the nineteenth century being followed by the loss of life-knowledge in the twentieth century and, now, in the twenty-first century, by nothing less than 'the loss of theoretical knowledge' (p25). The possibility of their recovery is at one stage linked to the book's initial framing: 'the stakes of the neganthropic question are de-proletarianisation' or 'the power of dis-automatization, that is, as constituting the neganthropic future of a new industrial age of life on earth' (pp136, 166). Again, quite how restoring the worker to his work-knowledge, important as this project might be, is necessarily linked to relieving man's geological impact on the planet is not specified. Rather we become embroiled in an extremely dubious claim that: 'the worker's loss of individuation described by Simondon, deprived of his or her knowledge [...], seems to anticipate the scientist's loss of individuation, deprived of his or her knowledge by the intensive computing' (p55). Again, Stiegler does not back up this assertion with argument, but takes it as gospel from a piece called 'The Ends of Theory' by Chris Anderson, a journalist and entrepreneur. This was published in Wired magazine, but we can only find out the nature and place of publication by turning to the footnotes. Perhaps not surprisingly Stiegler wishes to keep from us the realisation that the end of science has been announced in the monthly computing press! This might seem strange in a work presented in a highly elaborate theoretical style, yet it fits with a general tendency to avoid extended discussion of the works of philosophers and other thinkers.

Stiegler made his name philosophically for his criticism of Husserl and Heidegger's thinking of, or rather their failure to think, technology. He argued convincingly in Time and Technics that technology is not something which man simply uses but which at a deep level makes him what he is. We are reminded in Automatic Society: 'since the beginning of hominization, the practice of tools and instruments has disorganized and reorganized the brains, minds and spirits of workers' (p159). Given Stiegler's background one would expect to be told more about how current and coming technical developments might change humans but, again, there is disappointingly little detail. What there is almost solely confined to a central section of the book that concerns intermittence, or 'daydreaming', as the 'power to disautomatize the automatisms' (p72). Here he refers extensively to Jonathan Cracy's 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep. The book's thesis is summarised: '24/7 capitalism is totally [again, totally] computational and it is, more precisely capitalism conceived in terms of the power of totalization ... it aims through its operations to impose an automatic society without the possibility of dis-automatization, that is, without the possibility of theory--without thinking' (p72). This he calls 'algorithmic governmentality' and claims it. 'eliminates anything incalculable--and does so on a planetary scale'; total disadjustment 'putting an end to intermittence as such' (pp150, 176). This is proposed, again, without any attempt at analyses of any kind. A rare exception is an autobiographical reference concerning how he wrote books while driving a car. (10) Stiegler argues that 'mental intermittence originating from the machine can be cultivated and lead to a new practice of apprenticeship and dis-automatization' (p112). He tells us: 'many of the books I published between 2004 and 2009 were written while driving a car between Paris and Compiegie on the A1 motorway' (p123). On this basis, he suggests, that technology will somehow give us space to think, that: 'the time saved must ... consist in time for knowledge, in turn conceived as time for de-proletarianisation' (p94). There is an important point to be made about how technology might well free us for other things but the example of writing books while driving a car is not actually very apt illustration of how that might happen (although an interesting revelation of how Stiegler's composes his own work). Stiegler insists we live in a society of 'total control', that is one completely dominated by instrumentalising logics. His proposal to a move to a society based in intermittence implies an escape from this but the extent and limits of this is never discussed. As with his invocation of a neganthropocene, the failure to do so allows the unjustified utopian pathos of his book. A more rigorous analysis, which started from a recognition that no society is 'totally computational'--again, the point Stiegler could have learnt from his engagement with Derrida--would have discussed the ways in which different societies inevitably instrumentalise in different ways and to different degrees.

Towards the end of the book Stiegler turns to argue for 'a right and a duty, to access not employment ... but work' (p.166). His discussion mostly consists of disagreeing with Rifkin's 1995 The End of Work and distinguishing himself from some of Gorz's positions. He argues Rifkin celebrates time freed for consumption and never offers any warning of a looming end of employment (pp171, 184). He also alleges that for Gorz work more and more refers to free time rather than to liberated work (pp177-9). He notes Gorz is critical of Rifkin's idea of 'third sector' as an offloading of the responsibilities of state (as has been proved to be the case with Cameron's 'Big Society' and its pensioners replacing trained council librarians) (p180). Stiegler's distinctive argument is for 'a law of work in an economy of contribution', that is, contributory income rather than a negative tax, or a guaranteed minimum income (pp190, 180). His model here is that of the French intermittents du spectacle, the regular income paid to actors since the 1930s, whether or not they are working. This proposal has much to say for it but Stiegler again fails to provide detail, relying simply on the verbal play with 'intermittence' and the promise of an unspecified escape from instrumentalising social logics.

A decade or so back, a group of eminent economists got together and attempted to answer the question of why, seventy-five years after Keynes' prediction, and with his hundred year forecast on growth already met, work times had not yet dramatically fallen. (11) Many contributors argued that Keynes had underestimated the extent to which people would consume more rather than work less, similar to Bergman. A few contributors also argued theses concerning the appeal of work but, similar to Fleming's fetishism, these mostly don't ring true; at least for the majority of the workforce. In the face of the monstrous debt mountain that has been created by the expansion of mortgage lending in the last twenty years, it remains that very few workers have the practical option to take time instead of income. In addition, with increasing numbers of people working freelance there are great pressures on precarious individual workers to work longer. Yet Keynes' vision, of time traded for things, is perhaps still the key to saner and more environmentally sustainable ways of living as well as of addressing the coming obsolescence of large parts of the workforce. Basic or contributory income will very likely play an important role in responding to these developments. But it remains to work other than the three books under discussion to make that case convincingly and in detail. (12)

Mihail Evans is International Research Fellow at the New Europe College, Bucharest. His book The Singular Politics of Derrida and Baudrillard was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014.

DOI: 10.3898/NEWF:93.REV03.2017

(1.) John Maynard Keynes, 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren' in Essays in Persuasion, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, pp321-332.

(2.) Fleming describes Keynes' essay as 'weird' and suggests, rather unfairly, that 'the ruling class's fear of a work-free world is certainly the red thread that holds this text together', p70.

(3.) Jeremy Rifkin, The Future of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era, New York, Putnam Publishing, 1995.

(4.) http://www. aei.org/events/ from-povertyto-prosperity-a-conversation-withbill-gates/

(5.) He is co-author with Andre Spicer of Contesting the Corporation: Power and Resistance in Organizations, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010; and is the sole author of Authenticity and Cultural Politics of Work, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009 and Resisting Work: The Corporatization of Life and its Discontents, Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 2014.

(6.) Peter Fleming and Carl Cederstrom, Dead Man Working, London, Zero Books, 2012.

(7.) David Biello, 'Did the Anthropocene begin in 1950 or 50,000 Years Ago' Scientific American 2 April 2015. https://www. scientificamerican. com/article/did the-anthropocene begin-in-1950 or-50-000-years ago/. Ian Angus, When did the Anthropocene begin and why does it matter?' Monthly Review 67:4, 2015. https:// monthlyreview. org/2015/09/01/ when-did-the anthropocene beginand-why does-it-matter/ See also the summary by the Working Group on the Anthropocene of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy on their webpage: http://quaternary. stratigraphy.org/ workinggroups/ anthropocene/

(8.) Scott Fields, 'Global Nitrogen: Cycling out of Control' Environ Health Perspectives112:10 (2004), A556-A563.

(9.) Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler, Echographies of Television, Cambridge, Polity, 2002.

(10.) Another is when we are told, the liquidation of capacities ... results from automatization in general' and are given the examples of sliding doors and GPS. p121.

(11.) Lorenzo Pecchi and Gustavo Piga, Revisiting Keynes: Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren, Cambridge, MIT Press, 2008.

(12.) Phillippe van Parijs has recently authored together with Yannick Vanderborght, a restatement of his case: Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy, Boston, Harvard University Press, 2017.
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Title Annotation:Automatic Society: The Future of Work
Author:Evans, Mihail
Publication:New Formations
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 22, 2018
Words:5640
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