Dead Man Working

Dead Man Working

Carl Cederstrom, Peter Fleming

Language: English

Pages: 83

ISBN: 1780991568

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Capitalism has become strange. Ironically, while the ‘age of work’ seems to have come to an end, working has assumed a total presence – a ‘worker’s society’ in the worst sense of the term – where everyone finds themselves obsessed with it. So what does the worker tell us today? "I feel drained, empty… dead." This book tells the story of the dead man working. It follows this figure through the daily tedium of the office, to the humiliating mandatory team building exercise, to awkward encounters with the funky boss who pretends to hate capitalism and tells you to be authentic. In this society, the experience of work is not of dying...but neither of living. It is one of a living death. And yet, the dead man working is nevertheless compelled to wear the exterior signs of life, to throw a pretty smile, feign enthusiasm and make a half-baked joke. When the corporation has colonized life itself, even our dreams, the question of escape becomes ever more pressing, ever more desperate…

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troubling inconvenience, no doubt, much more serious than the old problem of self-alienation, of having to be someone we’re not. To make this point we need to return to prostitution and a man named Humping Hank, the compassionate and loving whoremonger, the connoisseur kerb-crawler, whose physical appearance is unnervingly similar to Bill Gates. We meet Hank in one of Louis Theroux’s documentaries of American subcultures, as the filmmaker travels to Nevada to visit the Wild Horse Adult Resort &

request. Like the secret speciality of a chic restaurant, you will not find this service on the menu; it has to be ordered in advance. This speciality is for the initiated known as the GFE: the girlfriend experience. And we soon learn that this is the only service Humping Hank is interested in. He does not fuck the prostitutes like the unrefined truck drivers who call in for a big steak, three beers, and a straight lay. Instead, Hank spends long nights with his ‘girlfriend’, watching TV, eating

and our desire to learn and share ideas. But as we all know, modern corporations cannot provide these drivers of value by their own accord. That’s why we are enlisted to do it for them. Self-exploitation has become a defining motif of working today. Indeed, the reason why so little is invested by large companies into training is because they have realized that workers train themselves, both on the job, using their life skills and social intelligence, and away from the job, on their own time. So

barracks, from the barracks to the factory), while in the societies of control one is never finished with anything – the corporation, the educational system, the armed services being metastable states coexisting in one and the same modulation, like a universal system of deformation. The traditional line-in-the-sand between capital and labor no longer makes sense to anyone. Today, the real struggle is between capital and life (bios), although the struggle is not played out under especially fair

The result was a novel kind of management-speak that openly expressed concerns about the alienating and stupefying effects of work. Now line-managers and tyrannical team leaders began parroting phrases that might only have been found in critical theory manifestos or Situationist fliers calling for a mass détournement. As Boltanski and Chiapello observe, ‘to maintain its power of attraction, capitalism therefore has to draw upon resources external to it, beliefs which, at a given moment in time,

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