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Elizabeth Anderson

Feb 7, 2022

Private Government

How Employers Rule Our Lives (and why We Don't Talk about It)

Princeton University Press 2017

One in four American workers says their workplace is a "dictatorship." Yet that number almost certainly would be higher if we recognized employers for what they are-private governments with sweeping authoritarian power over our lives. Many employers minutely regulate workers' speech, clothing, and manners on the job, and employers often extend their authority to the off-duty lives of workers, who can be fired for their political speech, recreational activities, diet, and almost anything else employers care to govern. In Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It) (Princeton UP, 2019), Elizabeth Anderson examines why, despite all this, we continue to talk as if free markets make workers free, and she proposes a better way to think about the workplace, opening up space for discovering how workers can enjoy real freedom.

Elizabeth Anderson is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan and specializes in political philosophy, ethics, and feminist philosophy. She is the author of The Imperative of Integration, and Value in Ethics and Economics.

Tom Discenna is Professor of Communication at Oakland University whose work examines issues of academic labor and communicative labor more broadly.

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Thomas Discenna

Tom Discenna is Professor of Communication at Oakland University whose work examines issues of academic labor and communicative labor more broadly.
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