Albena Azmanova, "Capitalism on Edge: How Fighting Precarity Can Achieve Radical Change Without Utopia or Crisis" (Columbia UP, 2020)


Capitalism seems to many to be in a sort of constant crisis, leaving many struggling to make ends meet. This desperation was intensified in 2008, and for many never went away in spite of claims of a general economic ‘recovery.’ More recently, the tensions and shortcomings of our current socioeconomic system have been exacerbated by the COVID-crisis, with poorly compensated frontline workers struggling to stay safe in workplaces that have failed to take adequate care of their health and safety.

The feeling that we’ve stuck riding along the precipice of disaster for years now is an animating idea for my guest today, Albena Azmanova, here to discuss her recent book Capitalism on Edge: How Fighting Precarity Can Achieve Radical Change Without Utopia or Crisis (Columbia University Press).

The book argues that the animating element of contemporary life under capitalism is precarity, and the driving force behind this precarity is the insatiable drive for profits which leaves workers desperately trying to keep up with capital. Synthesizing history, philosophy, economics and policy analysis, the book takes a sharp look at the elements that make up our current situation, and what our possibilities are for change.

Albena Azmanova is an associate professor of political and social theory at Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies. She is also the author of The Scandal of Reason: A Critical Theory of Political Judgement.

Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer.

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