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The Immaterial

Overview

In The Immaterial, French social philosopher André Gorz (1923–2007) argues, in his finely-tuned and polemical style, that the economic boom that accelerated in the 1990s and crashed so spectacularly in 2008 was based largely on an immaterial consumption of symbols and ideas, as capitalism tried to overcome the crisis of the formally industrial regime by throwing itself into a new, so-called knowledge economy.

In this, the last full-length theoretical work Gorz completed before ...

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Overview

In The Immaterial, French social philosopher André Gorz (1923–2007) argues, in his finely-tuned and polemical style, that the economic boom that accelerated in the 1990s and crashed so spectacularly in 2008 was based largely on an immaterial consumption of symbols and ideas, as capitalism tried to overcome the crisis of the formally industrial regime by throwing itself into a new, so-called knowledge economy.

In this, the last full-length theoretical work Gorz completed before his death, he argues instead for the creation of a true knowledge economy. This economy would be based on zero-cost exchange and pooled resources, and knowledge would be treated as humanity’s common property. Currently, in order to exploit knowledge and turn it into capital, the capitalist enterprise privatizes specialized knowledge and claims ownership through private licenses and copyright. But as Gorz shows, the traditional foundations of such capitalist economics have begun to crumble because of the immaterial nature of this new form of product, which makes it almost impossible to measure in monetary terms. The knowledge economy, Gorz declares, is the crisis of capitalism.

Thought-provoking and divisive, The Immaterial is the perfect book for our time, as we begin to reimagine the structures of our economic system in order to rebuild and move forward.

“It is to Gorz . . . that readers should turn for a compelling combination of sharp analysis, well-wrought polemic, and suggestions for the future.”—Red Pepper

            “A great figure of the intellectual Left.”—Nicolas Sarkozy

            “Gorz’s intelligence strikes you at the very first glance: it is one of the nimblest, acutest intelligences I know.”—Jean-Paul Sartre

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the last full-length theoretical work completed before his death in 2007, French social philosopher Gorz argues for the creation of a new economy based upon true knowledge. He calls into question the nature and future of human beings as the foundation of society takes an intangible—immaterial—form and "work" now lies in the human mind rather than the human hand. Gorz speaks poignantly to the recent economic and employment crises in America and elsewhere, citing Marxism and the dangers of the commodification of human experience. Drawing heavily from authors of a variety of disciplines, both supporters and detractors, Gorz has crafted a convincing diagnosis of the crisis of capitalism and predicts in frighteningly plausible terms the outcomes of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering advances. An approachable philosophical critique that has both the lyricism of poetry and the thrill of sci-fi, Gorz's insightful interpretation of humanity's current state and harrowing future is inspiring. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781906497613
  • Publisher: Seagull Books
  • Publication date: 12/15/2010
  • Series: SB-The French List
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

André Gorz (1923–2007), also known by his pen name Michel Bosquet, was an Austrian-French social philosopher. He was the editor of Les Temps modernes and cofounded Le Nouvel Observateur, a leftist weekly. His other books include Socialism and Revolution, Farewell to the Working Class, and Ecologica, the last also published by Seagull Books.  Chris Turner is a writer and translator who lives in Birmingham, England.

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Table of Contents


Chapter One: Immaterial Labour
Chapter Two: Immaterial Capital
Chapter Three: Towards an Intelligent Society? . . .
Chapter Four: . . .Or Towards a Post-Human Civilization?
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