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Portfolio Society: On the Capitalist Mode of Prediction

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  3 reviews
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, and the critique of political economy must proceed acc ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 2nd 2016 by Zone Books
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Ahmed
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Portfolio society is such a well-written book of economic and political theory that it is hard to put down–no small feat for the genre. Ascher knows how to tell a story, and, like his model Marx, does so with remarkable wit and charm, even as he accounts for the financialization of the economies of the capitalist core and the accompanying neoliberal turn, which ultimately depend on the creation of a new subjectivity, homo probabilis. He tells this story using a brilliant homology between the cre ...more
Bryan McNeil
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
"After all, if Archimedes was surely right to imagine that he could move the Earth, did he not also acknowledge that he would need a place on which to stand? Who bears the burden of financialization, one wonders, and whose world does it truly lift?"

Ascher revisits Marx with a compelling and informative thought experiment. If Marx was driven to theorize how capitalism refashions social relations around the wage relationship, Ascher asks how, given the expansion of financial markets that reach dee
...more
Dennis
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ascher's essay identifies the development of financial markets and the corresponding process of securitization as the centerpoint of contemporary neoliberal critique. He reads the recent history of financialization against Karl Marx' classical critique of capitalism in Das Kapital to devise further updates in theorizing contemporary capitalism. Lastly, he traces the development of Homo oeconomicus to the financial era, a development from a subject defined by exchange towards that of an investor ...more
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