A deft and caustic takedown of the new prophets of profit, from Bill Gates to Oprah
As severe environmental degradation, breathtaking inequality, and increasing alienation push capitalism against its own contradictions, mythmaking has become as central to sustaining our economy as profitmaking.
Enter the new prophets of capital: Sheryl Sandberg touting the capitalist work ethic as the antidote to gender inequality; John Mackey promising that free markets will heal the planet; Oprah Winfrey urging us to find solutions to poverty and alienation within ourselves; and Bill and Melinda Gates offering the generosity of the 1 percent as the answer to a persistent, systemic inequality. The new prophets of capital buttress an exploitative system, even as the cracks grow more visible.
About the Author
Nicole Aschoff is the author of The New Prophets of Capital and an editor at Jacobin magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous outlets including The Guardian, The Nation, Al Jazeera, and Dissent magazine. She can be followed at nicoleaschoff.com and @NicoleAschoff.
"Wry and adroit." — The New Republic
“A highly original and fascinating exploration of what we might think of as ‘changeless change’—the kind of innovation that simultaneously upends current practices and studiously protects existing wealth and power inequities. Through four well-chosen and emblematic case studies, Aschoff tackles this slippery subject with confidence and subtlety, providing readers with key intellectual tools to separate fact from fiction.” —Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate
“Nicole Aschoff expertly dissects the magical thinking behind America’s idolatry of the invisible hand. In a series of lively and closely argued case studies, she lets readers see the threadbare state of our rationales for the market’s uncontested sovereignty. And just as impressively, she urges us not to be daunted by the challenges ahead.” —Chris Lehmann, author of Rich People Things: Real-Life Secrets of the Predator Class
“Nicole Aschoff has skewered the high priests and priestesses of our most unshakable religion: capitalism. Anyone persuading you to ‘lean in,’ engage in ‘conscious capitalism’ or admire philanthropists will be (rightfully) upset by Aschoff’s takedown of some of the big-name ‘ethical capitalists’ of our era: Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, Whole Foods’ John Mackey. Aschoff takes apart the platitudes of liberal capitalism and offers a solid set of alternatives that stress the collective over the individual, people over profit, and real narratives over cover stories.” —Nina Power, author of One Dimensional Woman
“The New Prophets of Capital is intellectually serious without succumbing to critical jargon, and Aschoff makes her points both thoughtfully and rigorously.” —Boston Globe
“Straightforward, concise, and impressive.” —Counterpunch