Rated Agency

From Zone / Near Futures

Rated Agency

Investee Politics in a Speculative Age

By Michel Feher

Translated by Gregory Elliott

The extraordinary shift in conduct and orientation—among companies, governments, and individuals—generated by financialization.

Distributed for Zone Books

Hardcover $25.95 T £22.00

Overview

Author(s)

Praise

Summary

The extraordinary shift in conduct and orientation—among companies, governments, and individuals—generated by financialization.

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 with appreciation of their capital goods, skills, connections, and reputations. In this book, in clear and compelling prose, Michel Feher explains the extraordinary shift in conduct and orientation generated by financialization.

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. Above all, Feher articulates the new political resistances and aspirations that investees draw from their rated agency.

Hardcover

$25.95 T | £22.00 ISBN: 9781942130123 240 pp. | 6 in x 8 in

Contributors

Gregory Elliott.

Reviews

  • Belgian philosopher Feher (Rated Agency ) argues that, though industrial capitalism once pitched employers' interests against those of workers, in the present 'financialized' form of capitalism the conflict is between investors (those who decide when to extend credit) and 'investees,' and activism must adjust accordingly....The phenomena that Feher describes and the counterstrategy he outlines are likely to spark intra-left debate.

    Publishers Weekly

  • Feher clearly and systematically lays out how following the money may not be the grand capitulation that the Left considers it to be…his subtle but important conceptual shift of emphasis from “value” to “credit” may be Rated Agency's most enduring contribution to political economy going forward.

    Hyperallergic

  • Offers a story of how we got here and how activists can, if not throw off the yoke of debt, at least begin to alter the deal a bit more in their favor.

    The Baffler

  • Offers both critical evaluations and political discussions of the existing socio-economic theories about the dynamics of capitalism in the past half-century and the possible alternative directions current capitalism could take. His original and timely contribution lies in the argument that we can move beyond neoliberalism once we know how to use it as the source of resistance.

    Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association

  • A new book by the philosopher Michel Feher takes on the crucial task of imagining a politics capable of responding to the dominance of finance. Feher's project focuses on a major consequence of the neoliberal turn: the centrality of speculative investment in the contemporary economy. Though this “financialization” was not an intended result of the architects of neoliberalism, it has had a profound impact on the scope of political possibilities today. And despite the formidable constraints a financialized economy places on the democratic left, Feher believes it is possible to find within its logic the tools for social change.

    Books & Ideas

Endorsements

  • As power has shifted from producers and entrepreneurs to financiers and credit rating agencies, Michel Feher's new book proposes a bold strategy for turning the speculators' tools into instruments of logic and liberty, and placing them in the hands of the dispossessed, the exploited, and the manipulated. Rated Agency is a must read for anyone seeking to escape the melancholy of the Trump era by building an effective progressive movement against a creeping dystopia.

    Yanis Varoufakis

    cofounder of DiEM25, Professor of Economics at University of Athens, author of Adults In the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment

  • Rated Agency is the most astute analysis of financialized capitalism I have ever read. While so many, even on the left, long to rewind history, Feher has reckoned with the past, and imaginatively charted a path forward into the future.

    Jonathan Levy

    Professor of History, University of Chicago

  • This is a remarkable and timely contribution to current radical thinking on those various displacements brought about by the now long haul of neoliberalism: from workforce to “de-proletarianized” debtors, from salary to gig, from labour to rent, from welfare society to neo-nationalist movements.

    Angela McRobbie

    Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London