To Live and Think Like Pigs: The Incitement of Envy and Boredom in Market Democracies

To Live and Think Like Pigs The Incitement of Envy and Boredom in Market Democracies Gilles Ch telet s scathing polemical tract opens at the end of the s when the liberatory dreams of are beginning to putrefy giving rise to conditions favourable to a new breed of self deluding

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  • Title: To Live and Think Like Pigs: The Incitement of Envy and Boredom in Market Democracies
  • Author: Gilles Châtelet
  • ISBN: 9780983216964
  • Page: 211
  • Format: Paperback
  • Gilles Ch telet s scathing polemical tract opens at the end of the 70s, when the liberatory dreams of 68 are beginning to putrefy, giving rise to conditions favourable to a new breed of self deluding nomads and voguish gardeners of the creative Gulled by a realism that reassures them that political struggle is for anachronistic losers, their allegiances beganGilles Ch telet s scathing polemical tract opens at the end of the 70s, when the liberatory dreams of 68 are beginning to putrefy, giving rise to conditions favourable to a new breed of self deluding nomads and voguish gardeners of the creative Gulled by a realism that reassures them that political struggle is for anachronistic losers, their allegiances began to slide inexorably toward the revolutionary forces of the market s invisible hand, and they join the celebrants of a new order governed by boredom, impotence and envy As might be expected of Ch telet mathematician, philosopher, militant gay activist, political polemicist, praised by contemporaries such as Deleuze and Badiou for his singularly penetrating philosophical mind this is no mere lament for a bygone age To Live and Think Like Pigs is the story of how the perverted legacy of liberalism, allied with statistical control and media communication, sought to knead Marx s free peasant into a statistical average man pliant raw material for the cybernetic sausage machine of postmodernity.Combining the incandescent wrath of the betrayed comrade with the acute discrimination of the mathematician physicist, Ch telet proceeds to scrutinize the pseudoscientific alibis employed to naturalize market democracy As he acerbically recounts, chaos , emergence , and the discourses of cybernetics and networks merely impart a futuristic sheen to Hobbesian political arithmetic and nineteenth century social physics a tradition that places the individual at the center of its apolitical fairy tales while stringently ignoring the inherently political process of individuation.When first published in 1998, Ch telet s book was a fierce revolt against the winter years and a mordant theory science fiction of the future portended by the reign of Reagan Thatcher Mitterand Today its diagnoses seem extraordinarily prescient the triple alliance between politics, economics and cybernetics the contrast between the self satisfied nomadism of a global overclass and the cultivated herds of neurolivestock whose brains labour dumbly in cybernetic pastures the arrogance of the knights of finance and the limitless complacency and petty envy of middle class dupes haplessly in thrall to household gods and openly hostile to the pursuit of a freedom that might require patience or labour Mercantile empiricists and acrobat intellectuals, fluid nomads and viscous losers, Robinsons on wheels, Turbo B cassines and Cyber Gideons Ch telet deploys a cast of grotesque philosophical personae across a series of expertly staged set pieces from Hobbes s Leviathan to Wiener s cybernetics from the ecstasies of Parisian nightlife to the equilibrial dystopia of Singapore s yoghurt maker from the mercantile empiricist for whom the state is a glorified watermelon seller to the coy urbanite with a broken hairdryer from the petronomadic stasis of the traffic jam to the financier chasing the horizon of absolute volatility from the demonization of cannabis to the fatuous celebration of difference.To Live and Think Like Pigs is both an uproarious portrait of the evils of the new world order, and a technical manual for its innermost ideological workings Ch telet s diagnosis of the neoliberal counter reformation is a significant moment in French political philosophy worthy to stand alongside Deleuze s Control Society and Foucault s liberal governmentality His book is crucial reading for any future politics that wants to replace individualism with an understanding of individuation, libertarianism with liberation, liquidity with plasticity, and the statistical average with the singular exception Its appearance in translation is an important new contribution to contemporary debate on neoliberalism, economics and capitalist subjectivation.

    One thought on “To Live and Think Like Pigs: The Incitement of Envy and Boredom in Market Democracies”

    1. A fierce attack on neoliberal societies. As Châtelet said in an interview somewhere, he intended to piss his readers off. The essay's main instrument is rhetoric, so there's plenty of quotable lines but sadly not that much substance. I'd love to hear more about the misuse of mathematics in contemporary economics. That's something one would expect from a philosopher of mathematics like the author, but I guess it wasn't the main idea for this essay. And it's true, some of the subtle references to [...]

    2. OK, like *this* is a legitimately good and interesting book that is horrifyingly bad in it's localization. That is, cultural references that are decidedly French popular culture are not footnoted for explanation (or are for some reason chapters after the term is introduced) and it really hurts the ability of the reader to enjoy what is a complex and engaging book that is littered with pop culture references. And this is sort of *why* people talk about theory books is being hyper inaccessible, li [...]

    3. A difficult, but at times rewarding, critique of neoliberal markets. What I appreciated most were the connections made between market structures and mathematic disciplines. For example, the structure of oil markets is an iteration of fluidics (or microfluidics), and the structure of futures markets is an iteration of what we can know concretely about chaos. Chatelet argues that the mathematic bases, however rigorous, are not enough to make economics a science, and that keen observers can see/env [...]

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