For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Critique of Economic Reason

by Gorz, André (1989)

Key Passage

Capitalism has been the expression of economic rationality finally set free of all restraint. It was the art of calculation, as developed by science, applied to the definition of the rules of conduct. It raised the quest for efficiency to the level of an 'exact science' and thus cleared the factors of moral or aesthetic criteria from the field of decision-making. Thus rationalized, economic activity could henceforth organize human behaviour and relationships 'objectively', leaving the subjectivity of. decision-makers out of account and making it impossible to raise a moral challenge on them. It was no longer a question of good or evil but only of correct calculation. 'Economic science', insofar as it guided decision-making and behaviour, relieved people of responsibility for their acts. They became 'servants of capital' in which economic rationality was embodied. They no longer had to accept responsibility for their own decisions since these were no longer attributable to them in person but were the result of a rigorously impersonal calculation procedure in which individual intentions had (apparently) no place.   (p.122)


Gorz, Green Movement, European Context, Capitalism, Marx, Marxism, Economic Rationality, Work Ethic, Emancipation, Leisure, Free Time, Working Hours, Wage, Universal Basic Income


Gorz Citations, Economics

Links to Reference


Handyside, G.; Turner, C.



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