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Accounting for CapitalismThe World the Clerk Made$
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Michael Zakim

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226977973

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226545899.001.0001

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Conclusion: White Collar

Conclusion: White Collar

(p.191) Conclusion: White Collar
Accounting for Capitalism

Michael Zakim

University of Chicago Press

The “fast walking, fast driving, fast eating and drinking, fast bargains, [and] fast business” of the nineteenth century gave way to the “fast music, fast computers, and fast food” of the twentieth, proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same. This perpetuum mobilé of life under the aegis of capital – of “dialectics at a standstill” – continues to induce bouts of chronic fatigue and irritable bowels, a panicky focus on one’s diet, and the body-mass ratios of exercise routines at the gym. Capitalism likewise remains saturated with paper, even in the age of the “paperless office.” Novel methods for storing and retrieving information are still organized around the principles that made paper “the most convenient material ever discovered.” Documents, folders, and files fill the same function they always did. The ersatz quality of that digitized intelligence, by which knowledge inhabits a limitless number of surfaces all at once, replaces one context for another, and travels coeval trajectories in endowing an otherwise unilinear world with a widening array of temporalities and valences, is not, then, a function of machine logic. It is a cultural event, the culture of capitalism.

Keywords:   white collar, nostalgia, paperless office

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