You can now order Keywords direct from the publisher, here. Not only do you get a 50% discount through the beginning of 2019, but Amazon won't have it for weeks. It makes a great holiday gift for the crabby neoliberal subject on your list! And for those who have asked through the "suggest a keyword" … Continue reading Keywords now shipping for 50% off from Haymarket Books!
A reader recently suggested the term "safety net," which as they pointed out, is a metaphor that characterizes our working lives as a life-threatening high-wire act. It's appropriate, therefore, that the most popular image search result for "safety net" depicts a construction worker saved at the last minute from certain death. In the absolute best … Continue reading Keywords for the Age of Austerity 33: Safety Net
Thanks to Rebecca Stoner for this wonderful first review of Keywords. A brief excerpt: By demonstrating how dramatically these words’ meanings have transformed, Leary suggests that they might change further, that the definitions put in place by the ruling class aren’t permanent or beyond dispute. As he explores what our language has looked like, and … Continue reading New review in The Outline
Download these posters with inspirational quotations from Keywords: The New Language of Capitalism for your home or workplace! And don't forget to buy the book!
I have a short piece in the Chronic on the proliferation of "innovation centers," "makerspaces," "hubs," etc. in American universities. My argument, in short, is that academic institutions and the administrators who run them are, generally speaking, not innovative, and that innovation centers function mostly as vanity projects and political missions for wealthy donors. At … Continue reading On the rise of the “Innovation Center,” in the Chronicle of Higher Ed
Every Columbus Day, it's popular to draw fatuous links between the contemporary cult of entrepreneurship and the legacy of Christopher Columbus’ conquest—err, startup—of America some 500 years ago. After all, who better to take life and leadership lessons from than a famously venal and cruel 15th-century sea captain whose own men overthrew him? https://twitter.com/JarrettStepman/status/916708382567993345 Life Lessons … Continue reading Happy Imperialist #Entrepreneurship Day from the Keywords #Team! [Updated!]
In the archives of the National Association of Manufacturers, I found an interesting memo from the organization's public relations department. The NAM got its start in the depression of the 1890s, as a confederation of industrialists fighting labor militancy, and in the 1930s became a leading enemy of the New Deal. During World War II, … Continue reading Public, Private, Management
Reading for "innovation" in the history of management and self-help literature reminds me of a line from the beginning of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man: “Beware of those who speak of the spiral of history; they are preparing a boomerang. Keep a steel helmet handy.” A spiral of history can be understood as a historical movement marked by reverses, repetitions, … Continue reading The More Innovation Changes, The More It Stays the Same
I have a new academic-ish article up at boundary 2 online in a special issue edited by David Golumbia on the "Digital Turn." It's on "social innovation" and the way that it circulates in the so-called "Third World" and in humanitarian and development agencies. It picks up on the argument of my first book, which explored the … Continue reading New article: “Innovation and the Neoliberal Idioms of Development”
A recurring feature of the words I've written about here is tautology: some executives are resilient because they bounce back from hardship; the Harvard Business Review essays on the innovation of innovation; excellence is the pursuit of excellence (you'll have to wait for the book for that one). This problem, I think, derives from the ideological … Continue reading On the tautologies of “centrism”