Unnecessary Suffering: Managing Market Utopia

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Verso, 1996 - Business & Economics - 167 pages
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They have a dream - a dream of a world where everything and everybody can be bought and sold, a world run efficiently by managers, a world where 'freedom' means the free market. Maurice Glasman argues that this dream is an unrealisable utopia - or a nightmare if put into practice. He takes the management-speak cliches of the New Right, and New Labour alike and turns them on their head: managers are not efficient, they are a barrier to work and production; 'liberal democracy' - which now means the free market and the strong state - should be turned upside down, with democracy at the level of the economy and liberalism at the level of the state.
Drawing on the work of Karl Polanyi, Glasman argues that there is no need to surrender solidarity and human rights to the march of the managers and the market. There is another tradition, represented by the labour movement and the Catholic church in West Germany, which defended democracy in the workplace and reined back the savageries of capitalism. It was the tradition that Solidarity in Poland could have looked to after 1989, instead of allowing itself to be hijacked by the New Right and statist communitarianism. Unnecessary Suffering examines this tradition and issues a call that cries out that human beings and the environment cannot, should not, and will not be treated as commodities.

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About the author (1996)

Maurice Glasman has been a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Bologna and is currently a lecturer in political theory at London Guildhall University.

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