In a new review up at the Goldsmith’s Political Economy Research Centre, Nils Peters discusses Rated Agency: Investee Politics in a Speculative Age by Michel Feher. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full review. An excerpt appears below:
“For many people, Uber has become the embodiment of what is wrong with contemporary capitalism. Not least for their refusal to treat drivers as employees, which deprives them of the most basic worker protections. Can the ‘Uberisation of everything’ be resisted by doubling down on demands for fair employment conditions?
In his book Rated Agency, Michel Feher seeks to make an intervention in how we address this question. He advocates shifting the critical focus from the relationship between employer and employee, towards investor and investee. In his view, neoliberal reforms set in motion financialisation, but the two shouldn’t be conflated. The initial intention of neoliberal reforms to restore entrepreneurialism in effect enabled the transfer of funds from the ‘real economy’ to the speculative circuits of finance. The ensuing process of financialisation put investors, and more generally the suppliers of credit, into an extraordinarily powerful position. They select the projects that deserve to be financed, they decide ‘what the real economy will comprise’ (p.17). In turn, investees adjust their behaviour, shifting away from profit-maximisation towards portfolio-optimisation.”