Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets (Paperback)

Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets By Todd McGowan Cover Image

Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets (Paperback)

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Despite creating vast inequalities and propping up reactionary world regimes, capitalism has many passionate defenders--but not because of what it withholds from some and gives to others. Capitalism dominates, Todd McGowan argues, because it mimics the structure of our desire while hiding the trauma that the system inflicts upon it. People from all backgrounds enjoy what capitalism provides, but at the same time are told more and better is yet to come. Capitalism traps us through an incomplete satisfaction that compels us after the new, the better, and the more.

Capitalism's parasitic relationship to our desires gives it the illusion of corresponding to our natural impulses, which is how capitalism's defenders characterize it. By understanding this psychic strategy, McGowan hopes to divest us of our addiction to capitalist enrichment and help us rediscover enjoyment as we actually experienced it. By locating it in the present, McGowan frees us from our attachment to a better future and the belief that capitalism is an essential outgrowth of human nature. From this perspective, our economic, social, and political worlds open up to real political change. Eloquent and enlivened by examples from film, television, consumer culture, and everyday life, Capitalism and Desire brings a new, psychoanalytically grounded approach to political and social theory.
Todd McGowan is professor of film studies at the University of Vermont. His Columbia University Press books include The Impossible David Lynch (2007), Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution (2019), and Universality and Identity Politics (2020).
Product Details ISBN: 9780231178730
ISBN-10: 0231178735
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: March 28th, 2023
Pages: 304
Language: English