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Futurability: The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A comprehensive philosophy of contemporary life and politics, by one of the sharpest critics of the present

We live in an age of impotence. Stuck between global war and global finance, between identity and capital, we seem to be incapable of producing the radical change that is so desperately needed. Is there still a way to disentangle ourselves from a global order that
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Verso (first published May 1st 2017)
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May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
After reading fiction almost exclusively for a while, it was definitely time for some good old Verso-published-capitalism-criticism-theory-slash-political-philosophy. Starting ‘Futurability’ got me thinking about why I read books like this. I definitely enjoy them, both sincerely and ironically. The sincere enjoyment comes from any potentially plausible structure and explanation being proposed for the destructive chaos of late capitalism, especially if the book also proposes some reason to hope ...more
Scriptor Ignotus
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: marxism, philosophy
We live, it seems, under a totalizing regime of inevitability. The abstract and disjunctive logics of financial capitalism and rentier economics, the inexorable loom of environmental degradation under the Epimethean ecology of the Anthropocene, the recrudescence of reactionary politics as an emasculated howl against a chimerical cabal of the twittering classes, the conquest and partition of the conjunctive mass of tactile human intercourse by the synthetically-connective interpolations of social ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
A schizo-semiotic ejaculation from self-literary potentiality to actualised potency (of the impotent); the limp bourgeois violence of Houellebecq, the infinitesimal spasmic vibrations of a Spinozan-Trump genealogy of power, and a masco-masochistic depressive deluge of Deleuzean counter-senescence. All reverberating on a techno-coagulation hyperplane of the Becoming of Becoming of Being (perhaps).

I rather enjoyed it.

The strange movement from terminology rich prose of declarations into a deeply
Samuele Petrangeli
Futurabilità parla di possibilità. Bifo parte da una considerazione filosofica, prima di tutto: che il presente contenga dentro di sé il futuro, o, meglio, tutti i futuri possibili. Che, come in uno stato quantistico, esistono potenzialmente tutti contemporaneamente, finché non se ne realizzerà soltanto uno. Una specie di scatola di Schrodinger a grandezza del mondo. Ora, tutti questi futuri, però, non ci appaiono visibili, o anche soltanto pensabili, vuoi perché comunque siamo limitati in ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As the times we live in are so singular, unprecedented, and schsimatic, a serious work by a major thinker nobly engaging the full breadth of our current crisis is something of which we are sorely in need. Only in reading FUTURABILITY was I able to fully comprehend how thirsty I had been for what is has to offer me. I will put it straight: I have read nothing that comes close to Berardi's book in anatomizing our current situation and conceptualizing the admittedly-wholly-unknowable future from ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bifo. Who else can do what he does? The first chapter is dense philosophy, the rest are too, but constellated through Bifo's recently found gifts at writing clear, direct prose that handles devilish complications and deeply troubling subjects with clarity: depression, old age, precarity, politics. And you, know, I have to say: every time I read him, I feel relieved and clarified.
Natty Peterkin
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very intellectually engaging and emotionally relatable at times, but has occasional moments of vagueness in its concepts and sometimes loose connection between topics. Those weaker moments are rare, however, and I was say the book was excellent if it wasn't for the conclusion, which was far too similar to that of many other political books: roughly along the lines of "I'm not sure how we fix all these problems but the first step is solidarity; cognitive workers should take control of the ...more
Nate Krenkel
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You've got futurability
You fly hard, don't you wanna
You've got futurability
You could be a star, it ain't hard
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it
A series of (more personal) essays, it seems, with good insights written occasionally in poetic flight.

"In the past century, we thought democracy and socialism had defeated nationalism. Wrong. Nationalism is back, thanks to the vengeance of the white working class, humiliated by neoliberal policies and betrayed by social reformists who have played into the hands of the financial dictatorship" (p.231).

Earlier Bifo wrote: "Mario Tronti has labelled industrial workers a 'rude pagan class' that
Bryce Galloway
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Berardi examines the bleak present of capitalism, subjugation to technology and the fake science of economics. But he's desperate to find something to champion so puts his faith in retrieving the "general intellect" from the capitalist blinkers toward more empathic computing and automation. There are dense moments where establishing a string of terms loses me altogether. But Berardi knows this, so will move into storytelling mode to keep the reader on board.
Yates Buckley
Some interesting left-leaning political ideas and terminology but overall poor writing, and supporting claims are made by connection to references whether pro or against, not by evidence.

How can open minded thinking need to rely on what is effectively just another battle ground of dogma?

I do very much like the idea of Futurability, look forward to someone else picking this up in clearer less dogmatic terms.
Steven Felicelli
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maybe the most accurate diagnosis of the far right strong man phenomenon (Putin, Assad, Duterte, Trump, Boris Johnson, et al). Impotence of the Versailles variety. Automation and the Statisticon resulting in a radical loss of autonomy/power (particularly displeasing to white males) - the loss of power being a sure precursor to its off-point demonstration in a spray of lethal testosterone
Kevin Svartvit
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bifo again shows great compotence in digesting complex structures into accessible blocks. The picture he paints here is bleak, like in ‘Heroes’, but this time accompanied by a sense of hope. In speaking of the impossible and the inconceivable he presents the reader with a sense of choice.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Wondering why people are so deluded? Read this.
Fabio Kevorkian
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First part is a bit too post-modern jargon, but in general has very valuable insights
Kamil Kopacewicz
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
That book is like a hand grenade. Disruptive, loud and confusing.

I wish it had more citations and less Hegel, but I still liked it a lot.
Erik Carter
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I understood maybe 20% of this lol
Joana Pestana
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What are the alternatives when solidarity is replaced by competition, when automation myth becomes a reality, when capitalism takes over education? ...
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Callum Dean
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Oct 31, 2017
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Nov 18, 2019
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Jan 01, 2020
Greg Gow
rated it it was ok
Aug 31, 2018
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Apr 01, 2019
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Franco "Bifo" Berardi (born 2 November 1948 in Bologna, Italy) is an Italian Marxist theorist and activist in the autonomist tradition, whose work mainly focuses on the role of the media and information technology within post-industrial capitalism. Berardi has written over two dozen published books, as well as a more extensive number of essays and speeches.

Unlike orthodox Marxists, Berardi's