Works like a Charm
Incentive Rhetoric and the Economization of Everyday Life
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Works like a Charm addresses a simple question: Why are “incentives” everywhere now? From inducements to work harder at our jobs to tax rebates for corporations, “incentive” names a general theory of motivation—according to economists, we are incentive-driven creatures. Yet far from being a neutral generalization, this understanding of human behavior smuggles in a quintessentially economic way of seeing the world. Works like a Charm applies Jacques Lacan's psychoanalytic concept of retroactive causality to explain the metastasis of the language and logic of incentives: To discover an incentive is to place in the untouchable past an economic cause for a contextual, historical force. Tracing “incentive” from its roots in antiquity to its uptake by neoclassical and then Chicago-school economists, Robert O. McDonald diagnoses the spread of incentives across the social, cultural, and political field and warns readers of the dangers of handing over causality to the economists.
|ISBNs||1438494106, 9781438494081, 9781438494104|
|Number of Pages||304|