Scorched Earth: Beyond the Digital Age to a Post-Capitalist World (Hardcover)

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Refusing the digital world of late capitalism

In this uncompromising essay, Jonathan Crary presents the obvious but unsayable reality: our “digital age” is synonymous with the disastrous terminal stage of global capitalism and its financialisation of social existence, mass impoverishment, ecocide, and military terror. Scorched Earth surveys the wrecking of a living world by the internet complex and its devastation of communities and their capacities for mutual support.

This polemic by the author of 24/7 dismantles the presumption that social media could be an instrument of radical change and contends that the networks and platforms of transnational corporations are intrinsically incompatible with a habitable earth or with the human interdependence needed to build egalitarian post-capitalist forms of life.

About the Author

Jonathan Crary is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University and is a founding editor of Zone Books. His publications include Techniques of the ObserverSuspensions of Perception and 24/7.

Praise For…

Praise for 24/7 by Jonathan Crary:

“A dark, brilliant book.”
– Michael Hardt, Artforum

“A polemic as finely concentrated as a line of pure cocaine.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

24/7 is the capstone of Crary’s archeology of the spectacle and arguably the most significant of the lot. It’s informed by the erudition of one of the most thorough and original researchers on the planet.”
– PopMatters

“A masterful exploration of the place of the human individual, their dreams and the future of the species in today’s age of nonstop neoliberal capitalism and its multitude of manifestations.”

“Jonathan Crary updates Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man with a vigilant critique of the totality of the seemingly eternal present.”
– McKenzie Wark, author of The Spectacle of Disintegration

24/7 cuts through a lot of the starry-eyed nonsense people talk about the empowering nature of new technologies and keeps in mind the whole time that, as far as late capitalism is concerned, we are nothing more than ultimately disposable units for keeping economies running … Read this, and ponder its implications. I would even venture to suggest you sleep on it.”
– Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

“Crary's talent as a pamphleteer is unequaled...”
– Corriere della Sera

“Sleep is a standing affront to capitalism. That is the argument of Jonathan Crary’s provocative and fascinating essay, which takes 24/7 as a spectral umbrella term for round-the-clock consumption and production in today’s world. The human power nap is a macho response to what Crary notes is the alarming shrinkage of sleep in modernity. ‘The average North American adult now sleeps approximately six and a half hours a night,’ he observes, which is ‘an erosion from eight hours a generation ago’ and ‘ten hours in the early twentieth century’ … A humane and bracingly splenetic counterblast, with a lot of interesting micro-theses along the way.”
– Steven Poole, New Statesman
Product Details
ISBN: 9781784784447
ISBN-10: 1784784443
Publisher: Verso
Publication Date: April 12th, 2022
Pages: 144
Language: English