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PORTFOLIO SOCIETY

On the Capitalist Mode of Prediction

by Ascher, Ivan

As financial markets expand and continue to refashion the world in their own image, the wealth of capitalist societies no longer presents itself as it did to Karl Marx in the nineteenth century, as a "monstrous collection of commodities." Instead, it appears as an equally monstrous collection of financial securities; in order to remain relevant, the critique of political economy must proceed accordingly. But what would it mean to write Capital in the twenty-first century?

Through a series of creative substitutions, Portfolio Society extends Marx's critical project in bold and unexpected ways. It asks if risk, rather than labor, should now be regarded as the true fount of economic value? If the credit
relation - at least in the global North - has replaced the wage relation as the key site of exploitation and political struggle? If precarity is the name of today's proletarian condition? And finally, what possible future do these developments actually portend, what analysis do they require?

Portfolio Society demystifies crucial dimensions of contemporary finance and considers the predicaments of societies whose futures are now shaped by volatile financial markets. Through this critique, Portfolio Society succeeds in revealing the potential limits of Capital while reveling still in its limitless potential.

Ivan Ascher is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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German World All

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Antonia Fritz

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Comments

Author will spend his sabbatical from August 2018 to August 2019 in France.

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Find more reviews under the following link

http://people.uwm.edu/ascher/portfolio-society/

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Five minutes with Ivan Ascher, part one.

https://mitpress.mit.edu/blog/five-minutes-ivan-ascher-part-1

Interview: Client

Portfolio Society is a brilliant account of what happens when those at the commanding heights of the economy shift their focus from production to prediction...Ascher paints our present conjuncture in expressionistic hues, fleetly dissecting the pat narratives of finance theory. I have never seen restrained horror, gallows humor, and elegant prose so deftly combined in political theory - and these stylistic achievements match the penetrating analysis in the work. --- —Frank Pasquale, author of The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information

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