Faculty Bookshelf

The Bonds of Debt

  • Published Date: Verso, 2011

dienst_2010Indebtedness as the universal condition of modern life. “Man is born free and is everywhere in debt,” declared the Economist in the summer of 2010, a cheeky admission that indebtedness and liberation are once again on the agenda across the globe. In this timely book, cultural critic Richard Dienst examines the current condition of indebtedness from a variety of angles, ranging from the financial crisis and global poverty to media politics and radical theory. Written in an engaging and forceful style, the book draws upon a surprising array of materials, including Obama’s national security strategy, the architecture of Prada stores, press photos of Bono, and a fairy tale told by Karl Marx. 

Moving beyond the dominant pieties and widespread anxieties surrounding the topic, Dienst reconceives indebtedness as a social, economic, and political bond, where the crushing weight of objectified wealth comes face to face with new demands for equality and solidarity.