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Over the last twenty-five years, Western societies have been reversing into the future. They are able neither to reproduce themselves in accordance with past norms, nor to exploit the unprecedented freedom offered by the savings in working time which new technology has generated. In this major new book, AndrE Gorz argues that the societies created by Fordism have been falling apart and have given way to "non-societies", in which a tiny dominant stratum has grabbed most of the surplus wealth. In the absence of any alternative political project, social disintegration and individual despair have prevailed. Mainstream economists seek solutions to this "crisis", but Gorz argues that we are in fact in the grip of a new system which is abolishing work as we know it. The worst forms of exploitation are being restored, as each is forced to fight against all (both at the individual and the national level) in a desperate struggle to obtain the diminishing supply of work.
In the face of these developments, Gorz argues that we should fight not against the destruction of work itself (in the sense of stable employment), but against the new system's efforts to perpetuate the ideology of work as a source of rights. We should welcome the reduction in the working hours required to meet our material needs and should realize the creative potential that this reduction could release. Through measures such as a sufficient unconditional basic income for all and new, co-operative economic structures, we can reclaim work and rebuild a future beyond the wage-based society.
Andre Gorz is one of the leading social and political thinkers of our time, and is the author of many books, including Critique of Economic Reason, Farewell to the Working Class and Paths to Paradise.