Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Martijn Konings: The Emotional Logic of Capitalism: What Progressives Have Missed

Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Martijn Konings: The Emotional Logic of Capitalism: What Progressives Have Missed

Article excerpt

Martijn Konings

The Emotional Logic of Capitalism: What Progressives have Missed

Stanford University Press, Stanford, Ca., 2015, 172pp.

Why is capitalism still widely regarded as tolerable, if not 'the best of all possible worlds', despite its corrosive effects on social life, the unequal distribution of its fruits and its manifest instability? This is indeed a conundrum for political economists whose analyses of capitalism typically lack deep explanations of why there are not more widespread anti-capitalist responses. The apparent acceptance of the status quo is commonly attributed to the power of the media, the crass compensations of consumerism and (the traditional favourite) 'false consciousness'. Martijn Konings seeks a deeper explanation by moving into less familiar fields of social inquiry such as social psychology and semiotics.

At the outset he emphasises the misleading influence of Karl Polanyi's writings, particularly the notion of a 'double movement' which leads to the expectation of popular demands for social protection from the ravages of unconstrained market forces. He contends that this current in progressive thought has failed to give adequate attention to the emotional content of the economy and the hold this has on people's thoughts and actions. …

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