By Jim McGuigan

Thomas Frank coined the time period 'the conquest of cool'. This ebook exhibits how this conquest is on the center of the dynamics of latest capitalism.Jim McGuigan argues that 'cool capitalism' accommodates disaffection into capitalism itself, soaking up uprising and thereby neutralising competition to the current approach of tradition and society.McGuigan explores a big number of cultural examples, from the smooth pictures of mainstream ads, to the fringes of creative construction, delivering a vigourous critique of our figuring out of subversion, resistance and counter-culturalism.Has capitalism fairly colonised our planet? McGuigan exhibits that there's nonetheless a few house left for uprising opposed to the seductive energy of the unfastened industry economic climate.

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His whole thesis points towards the consumer’s engagement with cultural capitalism, and in that sense it complements Boltanski and Chiapello’s thesis. If we want to understand the new culture of capitalism – here, ‘cool capitalism’ – it should be examined from both the production and the consumption moments in the circuit. In fact, capitalism has a history of consumption as well as production that contributes to the characterisation of its different phases or ‘spirits’. Moreover, while it is important to register the succession of capitalist modes of production and consumption, it should also be noted that each successive spirit remains in play simultaneously and, to a degree, remains in contestation, despite the current dominance of ‘the new spirit of capitalism’.

He seems to regret the closing of the gap between art and capitalism by which, arguably, the arts are absorbed into capitalism and critical distance is lost. It is not only that capitalism reduces the independence of art but that it also seeks to encompass the whole of lived experience as well as artistic culture. All of this is captured by the metaphor of enclosing the cultural commons. 105 Later in the book, Rifkin discusses the depletion of cultural resources by their incessant mining, paralleling the ruthless and unsustainable exploitation of nature: Not surprisingly, as cultural production becomes the high-end sector of the economic value chain, marketing assumes an importance that extends well beyond the commercial realm.

Rifkin’s The Age of Access is a curiously ambivalent and, indeed, internally conflicted book. It is divided into two parts. Part I is entitled, ‘The New Capitalist Frontier’; Part II, ‘Enclosing the Cultural Commons’. The frontier metaphor is apt in that the first half of the book sets out an exciting and inspiring scenario for the young capitalist to take off into. The metaphor of a cultural commons, derived from the common land of pre-capitalism, being enclosed by the capitalist seizure and commodification of everything, problematises the whole process and links up with various sources of criticism: green politics, anti-capitalism, and so on.

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