To Live and Think Like Pigs
The Incitement of Envy and Boredom in Market Democracies
192 pp., 5 x 7 in,
- Published: September 5, 2014
- Published: December 21, 2018
A startlingly prescient treatise on the cybernetic automation of society and a burlesque satire of its middle-class celebrants.
An uproarious portrait of the evils of the market and a technical manual for its innermost ideological workings, this is the story of how the perverted legacy of liberalism sought to knead Marx's “free peasant” into a statistical “average man”—pliant raw material for the sausage-machine of postmodernity.
Combining the incandescent wrath of the betrayed comrade with the acute discrimination of the mathematician-physicist, Châtelet scrutinizes the pseudoscientific alibis employed to naturalize “market democracy” and the “triple alliance” between politics, economics, and cybernetics.
A bestseller in France on its publication in 1998, this book remains crucial reading for any future politics that wants to replace individualism with individuation and libertarianism with liberation, this new translation constitutes a major contribution to contemporary debate on neoliberalism, economics, and capitalist subjectivation.
Châtelet saw clearly the dangers of a taste for ideas such as chaos and emergence, and anticipates the buzz around big data, crowdsourcing, thought-leaders, market democracy, and even bespoke Brooklyn yogurt-makers. He is a Juvenal or Jonathan Swift for this disintegrating spectacle that is the over-developed world.
McKenzie Wark, author of The Beach Beneath the Street
While a surprising success in France, Châtelet's book was unavailable in English and has been somewhat overlooked. If we had been more aware of it outside of the Francophone context, then the anger and complexity of Chatelet's devastating account of the origins of our condition would have prepared us with frightening clarity and precision for what was to come.
Liam Gillick, e-flux