In this article in Public Books, Zone founding editor Michel Feher elaborates on the subject of his new book, Rated Agency: Investee Politics in a Speculative Age, just out this fall 2018. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full article. An excerpt appears below:
“The widespread resurgence of authoritarian nationalism in recent years has been met by the left with fear and loathing—but also a bit of envy. For it is generally assumed that xenophobic populists are reaping the benefits of the anger and suffering caused by unfettered financial capitalism. Progressives certainly have good reasons to be envious of the electoral successes enjoyed by their far-right foes. However, a closer look at the latter group’s good fortunes indicates that, far from hijacking popular rage against the proverbial 1 percent, what authoritarian nationalists are actually doing is extending the mode of valuation distinctive of global finance.
While hardly inclined to mend economic inequalities through market regulations and fiscal redistribution, nationalist leaders make sure that their supporters experience their native status, the color of their skin, the gender norms they uphold, and the cultural traditions to which they lay claim as so many valuable assets. For the left, therefore, what is worth emulating and challenging is not the populism of reactionary demagogues but their ability to define who and what deserve to be appreciated.”