I look at the practice of democracy not so much as a fixed set of procedural requirements, but as a process that needs to have certain kinds of symbolic markers and consummations that define where people are in relation to each other.
The shaping and conditioning of our self-understanding by consumption is one form of the commodification of self.
Is it true that there's nothing wrong with commodification that fair terms of social cooperation cannot cure?
Those committed to human rights at the global level should seek not to universalize the particular but rather to particularize the universal.
For the people to be sovereign, they need to form an entity and have a personality.
Cities are capable of uniting people, especially compared to the isolation found in that great object of nostalgic fantasy, the family farm.
The Madoff family wielded remarkable power in the financial world and was not reluctant to use that power to reward friends and punish enemies. In such a world, silence becomes judicious prudence.
Traders, like gaming designers, manipulate bodies, machines, and mental states to promote peak experience.
While most people have felt the effects of the recession, there are acute disparities between people.
The history of economics has been a battle of ideas, and it is unclear that the best ideas have been the winners.
How America has long viewed China exerts no small influence on which path Washington will follow in its material and cultural relations with the People’s Republic.
The author’s interpretive framework truncates the narrative by forcing her to see thick cultural issues only through the lens of social class.
Economies of dignity shape what people talk about and how people talk about others.
The ideology of the pure gift is not foreign or extraneous to the monetization of relationships.
Poverty research has become caught up in a paradox of its own making—of diminishing insight into the problem of poverty amid more data about the poor.
We can be sure that, religiosity being constitutional in human and social terms, religion has survived.
Capitalism has been a form of enchantment, a metamorphosis of the sacred in the raiment of secularity. With money as its ontological marrow, it represents a moral and metaphysical imagination as well as a sublimation of our desire for the presence of divinity in the everyday world.
According to the realists, power is real, and all else is illusion.
Mysteriously, biologically, men and women want, or want to want, “the same thing.”
Since 1970, temporary labor has become part of the everyday fabric of work across all segments of society, from the bottom to the top.
The quest for personal authenticity and autonomy in the face of unreliable communities and institutions has become a defining feature of the modern working class.
What kind of society can be produced from a work culture that demands so much from its workers without offering them stability in return?
The solution to the unraveling of the social contract of employment may not be to prop up the ailing traditional job but, instead, to imagine what other forms work lives might take.
The self-made man and the confidence man have existed in dialectical tension down to the present.
Rogan’s book is a welcome step toward uncovering and building up a tradition of alternative economics, one in which economics is not a value-free discipline, but, rather, is shaped by social customs, expectations, and values.
Is Whole Foods a kind of morality tale, a story of what happens when a company that started with good intentions gets too big too fast?
In the long run, we all pay dearly for the carefully crafted commercial illusion that we can hold people to standards on a selective basis.
Can neoliberalism’s conceptual structure be traced directly to medieval Western Christianity?
The highly abstract and immaterial phantom economy is inextricable from the “real economy.”
Work is not just an economic matter. Beyond survival, a range of other human values and ideals are at stake.
There seems to be little agreement on what it is that needs sustaining, let alone how we should go about it in practice.
Is modern-day philanthropy a disease in the democratic body politic?
The personal diet has become not only a cult; it has become a political statement.
Distance can breed ignorance of the ecosystems and individual animal lives that feed us.
Both Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey endorse the same belief: that there are only winners and losers.
Could the great size of companies like Apple and Walmart actually be a good thing?
Cosmopolitan liberalism has reshaped international institutions and practices.
It is fair to say that a new economic populism has been rendered impotent by cultural identity markers that shape voting patterns.
Once attacked for rejecting American exceptionalism, liberals now are in almost sole possession of it.
In the words of retired Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, “a people confident in its laws and institutions should not be ashamed of mercy.”
In studying Keynes, we watch radical ideas emerge filtered through a conservative sensibility.
Despite obvious differences and contradictions, “we” extended across class and race and stressed our common vulnerability.
Privilege today still comes with strings attached, but they are different now.
I envision a world in which the increased fragmentation of our media scene leads, over time, to the rise of new institutions that are built on stronger foundations.
What is clear is that the great divisions in our country rest on our different systems of cultural capital.
The title of "doctor" is a very useful thing, provided you can make other people believe it is important.
Substack prompts the question should the people we rely on to inform us be celebrities?
Understanding how the shambolic marriage of private and public coverage costs so much and delivers so little.
Every critique of self-care is true. Unfortunately, you still have to take care of yourself.
The mass migration of ordinary life into virtual space begins to look like a fantasy of perfect governance.
Putin continues to play the Third Rome card that has brought him this far.
What, then, of democracy? I doubt it will survive—at least in the form we know.
The Internet as we know and use it in our daily lives significantly limits our capacity for freedom in all the various and complex senses of the term.
The essential component of the liberal project might be the marketplace of ideas.
Contending with a radical distrust of the created world.
Ambivalence captures the internal nature of liberalism’s discontents.
What if the work-week were fifteen hours a week? What if it were zero?
We at Common Place over the past year read numerous articles on issues facing our cities and communities. Here are our favorite reads.
Cities are increasingly being eyed by tech companies for their social dynamism and ability to generate innovation. This will have tremendous consequences for the future of society.
Whole Foods Market is tired of your “whole paycheck” jokes. Recently, “America’s healthiest grocery store” launched a multi-million dollar advertising campaign titled Values Matter.
Taylor Swift’s recent trademarking frenzy is another example of how artists are scrambling to maintain control over their work in the face of the digital tsunami.
Is plain packaging for cigarettes a barrier to trade?
It's just not possible to love something that says “be unique, but only as unique as we'll allow you to be.”
Why should we expect that the inner self waiting to be born corresponds to some paid job or profession?
In identifying “the system” as the issue of this election, Trump has managed to find a singular concept by which to encompass issues from wage stagnation to political corruption.
Who will emerge as the new elite from this particular moment’s cast of winners and losers?
It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that meat consumption has risen as fewer Americans participate in or even think about the slaughter that allows it.
To measure the Wealth of Nations, you had to inspect the shirts on people’s backs and the shoes on their feet.
As the titans of big tech see it, the reticence to upgrade is nothing less than resistance to progress. But a willingness to upgrade does not benefit customers in the long run.
What if the more successful political commentators on Substack, or music teachers on YouTube, or masters of the podcast interview, began to teach their craft to others?
We are distinctly susceptible to businesses that ingeniously cater to and profit from our greatest vulnerabilities
Like the tenants of the Bishop of Worcester, they know that in a tightening job market they have leverage.
What makes someone a likely Substack star is an ability to cultivate one-way, parasocial relationships with readers.
Western liberal democracy is something worth aspiring to—an optimal destiny, not an imminent fate.
Models are only valuable in the long run if we are free to take them apart.
Pretending that all workers are the same obscures rather than clarifies the reality of class.
That means, first, that I have to love my neighbor—my colleague—above my own productivity.
It would be prudent to take the Chinese at their word––especially if it is bound up in the mystifying language of Carl Schmitt.
Even defenders of the idea today such as Bruno Latour admit that Gaia in the original Greek context is “a figure of violence."
Throughout the book, Sherrell eschews the phrase “climate crisis,” substituting a much more nebulous term: “the Problem.”
The modern state is founded on a dream—the dream of perfect knowledge that secures perfect power.
Nature knows what is best for itself better than we do.
Just as Mims worries now over the unfulfilling tedium of employment at Amazon, Smith worried over the deleterious effects of monotonous work.
It is true that a thin plastic device that displays pixels doesn’t make much of a mess, but then, it is also true that life is messy.
The war has ruined any chance of Russo-Western cooperation any time soon; whatever hope the Biden administration has had of peeling Russia away from China lies in tatters.
It is my belief that rapid technological “progress” will always threaten a culture with social regress, and that mitigating that threat should be a priority.
Warikoo might have explored the ways in which Asian cultural repertoires matched up with the neoliberal transformation of our schools and colleges.
Does the Meta-Birkin seriously compromise consumers’ ability to separate the NFT from the real Hermès bag?
It is time for the tech world to start thinking institutionally.
What might the world look like if we refined our understanding of progress?
No one works in Rajneeshpuram. They “worship.” Worship includes grading roads, plowing fields, pursuing the many lawsuits brought by Bhagwan in Oregon.