Dead Man Working

An analysis of the dead man working and the way in which capital is now colonizing life itself

– By Carl Cederström & Peter Fleming:


Even its most ardent supporters admit that capitalism died sometime in the 1970s. All attempts to resuscitate it failed. Yet strangely, now that it’s dead, it’s become the only game in town, more powerful and influential than ever. This book is about what it means to live and work in a dead world.


The somatic desolation described here is grounded in a kind of hyper-hopelessness, an existence more properly defined by its opposite, that of non-living, a life that is already dead. After speaking with workers in a wide range of occupations, both at the top and bottom of the social hierarchy, we will argue in this book that this feeling of non-living is no more pervasive than among the multitude of workers trapped in the modern corporation. Whether in the office, the call center, the service counter, in the creative industries, the retail show-floor or the backroom warehouse, life seems to be far away. We have always known that capitalism accumulates numerical value by subtracting social value, experienced as alienation, disenchantment and dehumanization. But what has now become evident is the sheer pointlessness of our daily endeavors. A quest without end or rationale, slowly poisoning amolst every aspect of our lives on the job and even afterwards when we think the daily grind is over. But, of course, it is never over. In an eccentric and extreme society like ours, working has assumed a universal presence – a ‘worker’s society’ in the worst sense of the term – where even the unemployed and children find themselves obsessed with it. This viral-like logic of the corporation has even spread into our most intimate pastimes, precipitating a novel and inescapable cultural malaise, writ-large by a complete, irreversible and ominous dead end.


Find book at Zero Books

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