Ego: The Game of Life

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en Limba Engleză Carte Hardback – 02 Oct 2015
Twenty–five years after the end of the Cold War, a new Cold War is being waged in our societies. During the Cold War a theoretical model of man was developed by economists and the military, an egotistical being interested only in his own benefit and in duping his opponents to achieve his ends: a modern homo oeconomicus. After his career in the Cold War ended, he was not scrapped but adapted to the needs of the twenty–first century. He became the ringmaster of a new era of information capitalism. He sought to read, control and influence thoughts; to predict, price and eliminate risks. Today stock–market trading is guided by him. He uses computer algorithms and Big Data to build up detailed pictures of our preferences and then suggest and sell goods to us. The model has become a self–fulfilling prophecy. We are no longer the masters of our own fate. The Game of Life runs without us.
Schirrmacher traces the progress of this extreme rationalization of social life from the Cold War games of the 1950s Rand Corporation to the stock–market trading techniques that brought about the financial crash of 2008, showing how these developments were interwoven with the rise of game theory, rational choice theory and neoliberal economics. The state and politics increasingly submitted themselves to the logic of computerized game theory and an economistic view of the world, evading real decision–making in the process. In this brave new world individuals, alone in front of their computers, may think they are constructing a reality of their own choosing, but in fact they are being manipulated all along by others who are setting the rules of the game.
This international bestseller by one of Germany’s most distinguished journalists is a powerful indictment of a way of thinking that has become pervasive and threatens to undermine not only parliaments and constitutions but also the sovereignty of the individual to be the person he or she wants to be.
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ISBN-13: 9780745686868
ISBN-10: 0745686869
Pagini: 260
Dimensiuni: 152 x 231 x 28 mm
Greutate: 0.50 kg
Editura: Polity Press
Locul publicării: Chichester, United Kingdom

Public țintă

Aimed at a wide, general readership, interested in political economy.


Preface vii Part I Optimization of the game
1 Trance 3
2 Game 8
3 Prophecy 16
4 Monsters 19
5 Screenplay 23
6 Reason 31
7 Social physics 43
8 Massacre 51
9 Blood circulation 57
10 Nervous system 66
11 Android 73
12 Brain 81
13 Genes 88
14 Kinship 91
15 Schizophrenia 96
16 Lightning 100
17 Politics 107
18 Matrix 115
19 Mind s eye 118
20 Coordination 124
21 Big data 130
22 Subjugation 135
Part II Optimization of the individual
23 The secret 143
24 Success 149
25 Alchemists 152
26 Transmutation of the soul 158
27 Death dating 167
28 Re–engineering 176
29 You 183
30 Mass delusions 189
31 Ego 197
Acknowledgements 203
Appendix 204
Notes 207
References 224
Index of names 237


"Frank Schirrmacher convincingly shows connections among such ostensibly disparate issues as the language of the Cold War and that of the trading floor, as he demonstrates how algorithms and statistical models have become the overwhelmingly dominant means we use to understand the brain, the market, the state and nature. In the end the human person becomes defined as a problem, because unable to be reduced to calculation in this way. This critique of contemporary egoism from the editor of Germany’s leading liberal conservative newspaper makes chilling but highly thought–provoking reading."
Colin Crouch, University of Warwick
"This book reads like a sociological thriller."
Ulrich Beck, Die Welt
"A piece of cultural criticism in the very best sense: a diagnosis, prognosis and cure all in one for our technologically induced egoism."
Der Tagesspiegel
"This book is an urgently needed appeal for us to rethink what we understand by economic rationality."
"In this new book, Frank Schirrmacher once again shows an extraordinary understanding of the volatility of our times, bringing into focus the widespread discontent felt in many sections of society."

Notă biografică

Frank Schirrmacher (1959–2014) was a journalist, essayist and Editor–in–Chief at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.