The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste


In The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste, John Asimakopoulos analyzes the political economy of the society of the spectacle, a philosophical concept developed by Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard. Using the analytical tools of social science, while historicizing, Asimakopoulos reveals that all societies in every epoch have been and continue to be caste systems legitimized by various ideologies. He concludes there is no such thing as capitalism (or socialism)—only a caste system hidden behind capitalist ideology. Key features of the book include its broad interdisciplinary-nonsectarian approach with quantitative and qualitative data. The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste is well written and clear, making it accessible to the general public.

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John Asimakopoulos, Ph.D., is Full Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York. His publications include Revolt! (Transformative Studies Institute, 2011), The Accumulation of Freedom (AK Press, 2012, with Eric Shannon and Anthony J. Nocella), Social Structures of Direct Democracy (Brill, 2014), and Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Temple University Press, 2018).
Greg Palast

Introduction: Busting out of Plato’s Cave

1 The Symbolic Institution of Society
 1 Symbolic Interactionism
 2 Interaction Exchange and Collective Norms
 3 Critical Theory and Post-Structuralism/Postmodernism
  3.1  Cornelius Castoriadis
  3.2  Michel Foucault
  3.3  Guy Debord
  3.4  Jean Baudrillard
 4 Beyond Post-Structuralism/Postmodernism

2The Spectacle
 1 Audience Segmentation
  1.1  Sociocultural and Spatial Segmentation
  1.2  Educational Segmentation
  1.3  Economic Segmentation
  1.4  Political Segmentation
 2 Total Propaganda
 3 Symbolic Institutions
  3.1  Educational Institutions
  3.2  Economic Institutions
  3.3  Political Institutions
  3.4  Legal Institutions
  3.5  Protective Institutions

3 It’s All Spectacular
 1 Spectacular History
 2 Postmodern Spectacles
  2.1  Doubleplusgood: Spectacular Capitalism
  2.2  Plusgood: Spectacular Socialism/Communism
 3 Spectacular Class
 4 The Quantum Mechanics of Value and Capital
  4.1  The Relativity of Value
  4.2  There Is No Spoon: Capital(ism)

4 The Monetization of Everything
 1 Life, Flesh, and Death
 2 Food, Water, and the Environment
 3 Cities, Nations, and Culture
 4 Time and Space
 5 The Global Spectacle
  5.1  Finance
  5.2  Trade
  5.3  Segmented Labor

5 The Structure of Postmodern Caste
 1 Social Order
  1.1  Privileges and Disabilities Based on Ascription
  1.2  Who Pays the Piper?
  1.3  Extreme Structural Inequality
 2 Caste Groups
  2.1  Ruling Caste
  2.2  Nobles
  2.3  Privileged Labor
  2.4  Required Labor
  2.5  Precarious Labor
  2.6  Institutional Slaves
 3 Legitimizing Twenty-First-Century Serfdom
  3.1  Mr. Baptist Has Been Too Harsh on the Slavers

Conclusion: Bakunin’s Conundrum

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