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Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher

My younger brother gave us this book a while back, and I finally decided to read it. I didn’t entirely understand Fisher’s very philosophical/academic style, but I think I grasped the basic concepts. I liked several of his points: that we ought to recognize the role that systems and structures play in causing societal issues; that we need to do more than just complain about a system we don’t like; and that there are of course alternative economic systems. I do wish Fisher had explored a bit more what exactly those alternative systems are since, as he makes clear, we live in a world where it’s hard to imagine anything besides capitalism.

Capitalist Realism reminded me several times of Borgmann’s Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life – both highlight ways in which our modern consumer society makes our lives rather shallow. Borgmann leaves the issue a bit more vague, claiming that “technology” is responsible for this shallowness, but Fisher pins the blame squarely on capitalism.

[This page was last updated on March 5, 2023.]