Manufacturing Discontent: The Trap of Individualism in Corporate Society
by Michael Perelman
Pluto Press, 2005
Cloth: 978-0-7453-2407-4 | Paper: 978-0-7453-2406-7
Library of Congress Classification HD60.5.U5P39 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.34

Corporate power has a huge impact on the rights and privileges of individuals—as workers, consumers, and citizens. This book explores the myth of individualism, which makes people perceive themselves as having choices, when in fact most peoples' options are very limited.

Perelman describes the manufacture of unhappiness—the continual generation of dissatisfaction with products people are encouraged to purchase and quickly discard—and the complex techniques corporations employ to avoid responsibility and accountability to their workers, consumers and the environment. He outlines ways in which individuals can surpass individualism and instead work together to check the growing power of corporations.

While other books have surveyed the corporate landscape, or decried modern consumerism, Perelman, a professor of economics, places these ideas within a proper economic and historical context. He explores the limits of corporate accountability and responsibility, and investigates the relation between a wide range of phenomena such as food, fear and terrorism. Highly readable, Manufacturing Discontent will appeal to anyone with an interest in the way society works—and what really determines the rights of individuals in a corporate society.

Michael Perelman, Professor of Economics at California State University, Chico, received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of several books on economics and economic thought, including Railroading Economics (Routledge, 2006); Class Warfare in the Information Age (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000); The Invention of Capitalism (Duke University Press, 2000) and The Perverse Economy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

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