Capitalism and desire : the psychic cost of free markets /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:McGowan, Todd, author.
Imprint:New York : Columbia University Press, [2016]
Description:1 online resource (292 pages)
Subject:Capitalism -- Psychological aspects.
Capitalism -- Social aspects.
Psychoanalysis -- Philosophy.
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS -- Economics -- General.
Capitalism -- Psychological aspects.
Capitalism -- Social aspects.
Psychoanalysis -- Philosophy.
Electronic books.
Format: E-Resource Book
URL for this record:
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Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Print version record.
Summary:"Why is capitalism so resilient? Despite creating vast inequalities and propping up reactionary world regimes, capitalism has many passionate defenders. But Todd McGowan argues that capitalism does not thrive because of what it withholds from some and gives to others with power. Capitalism dominates because it mimics the structure of our desire while hiding the trauma that the system inflicts upon it. People from all backgrounds enjoy what capitalism provides yet at the same time are told more and better is yet to come. Capitalism traps us by creating and sustaining an incomplete satisfaction that focuses our attention on the new, the better, and the more. Capitalism's parasitic relationship to our desire gives it the illusion of corresponding to our natural impulses, which is how capitalism's defenders characterize it. By understanding this psychic strategy, McGowan hopes to divest us of our addiction to capitalist enrichment and helps us rediscover how we enjoy. By locating enjoyment in the present and not the future, McGowan frees us from an unhealthy attachment to a better future and the belief that capitalism is an essential outgrowth of human nature. From this perspective, our economic, social, and political worlds open up to real political change. Eloquent and enlivened by examples from film, television, consumer culture, and everyday life, Capitalism and Desire brings a new, psychoanalytically grounded approach to political and social theory"--Provided by publisher.
Other form:Print version: McGowan, Todd. Capitalism and desire. New York : Columbia University Press, [2016] 9780231178723
Review by Choice Review

McGowan (Univ. of Vermont), experienced at using social philosophies and critiques within film studies, now uses those lenses to examine the interplay of capitalism with human desires. Unlike many tomes on capitalism, the focus is not limited by industry, time span, or geography. Browsers who notice the catchy titles of chapter subsections might incorrectly presume this is written in a lighthearted, nonacademic style. Deeper reading reveals this is clearly a scholarly work, with ample footnoting to source documents, providing touchstones to dozens of societal philosophers since Marx. All chapters raise philosophical issues that entice readers to dip into footnoted documents for additional readings. The indexing of individuals mentioned is accurate and liberally present but is weak for unique concepts, such as citoyen, signification and "culture of narcissism." Immediately following the chapter alluringly titled "The Market's Fetishistic Sublime" are the conclusions, which seem weak and lacking discourse about ameliorating the emotional and social costs of capitalism that are so clearly identified. The audience for this book is much broader than just those interested in economics, considering inquiries into human nature and social theories by Agamben, Arendt, Deleuze, Freud, Hegel, Kant, and Lacan. Summing Up: Optional. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. --Gary M. Klein, Willamette University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review