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Rated Agency: Michel Feher at Columbia Maison Française

Columbia Maison Française Buell Hall, 515 W. 116 St., New York, NY 10027 East Gallery


Oct 23 / 6:30pm

Join us at Columbia University for a lecture by Michel Feher,as he discusses his new book, Rated Agency: Investee Politics in a Speculative Age, in conversation with Bernard Harcourt and Adam Tooze, and moderated by Camille Robcis. The event is co-sponsored by the Columbia Maison Française, Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, and European Institute.


The hegemony of finance compels a new orientation for everyone and everything: companies care more about the moods of their shareholders than about longstanding commercial success; governments subordinate citizen welfare to appeasing creditors; and individuals are concerned less with immediate income from labor than appreciation of their capital goods, skills, connections, and reputations.

That firms, states, and people depend more on their ratings than on the product of their activities also changes how capitalism is resisted. For activists, the focus of grievances shifts from the extraction of profit to the conditions under which financial institutions allocate credit. While the exploitation of employees by their employers has hardly been curbed, the power of investors to select investees — to decide who and what is deemed creditworthy — has become a new site of social struggle.

In clear and compelling prose, Michel Feher explains the extraordinary shift in conduct and orientation generated by financialization. Above all, he articulates the new political resistances and aspirations that investees draw from their rated agency.

MICHEL FEHER, a Belgian philosopher, is the author of Powerless by Design: The Age of the International Community and the editor of Nongovernmental Politics and Europe at a Crossroads, among other titles. Founder of Cette France-la, a monitoring group on French immigration policy, Feher is also a founding editor of Zone Books.