Amelia Horgan, Lost in Work – Escape from Capitalism is an intelligent book which starts from the observation of the state of work in UK to ask fundamental and radical questions about capitalism. She warns us that any account of capitalism according to which “things happen in a capitalist way because that’s just how capitalism works” is a useless account of our system. In other words, she urges us to abandon the banality of such a statement as “X, Y or Z happens because of capitalism”. To seek an alternative to the neoliberalism and austerity a different approach is needed.
The best way to proceed instead is to figure out what capitalism is like.
… without knowing the internal dynamics of capitalism, how it works, and how it affects us, as individuals and at the level of social whole, we can neither make sense of it nor change it. It’s not enough to say that capitalism is bad, we have to explain why and how, and imagine and fight for alternatives. P. 16
Work is a fundamental feature of capitalism; the form of work and wage labour are its defining feature. Our society is organised in such a way that without a job life is extremely difficult, so work is necessary. But work in capitalism is bad for all of us as it reduces people’s freedom and, if it produces some satisfaction, it does it at the expense of other kinds of pleasures or other ways of living. According to the author, the question then becomes the following one: which are the conditions in which work preferences are made? On what ground these same conditions are founded? Questions that the book will try to answer. Understanding work in the capitalist society is therefore the way to seek those answers.
Reading this book will open our mind to ways allowing us to take control of our workplace, to become less miserable and transform work as we know it.
Read it and empower yourself!