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Business & Finance Series: Expert Comment

The Death of Homo Economicus

Work, Debt and the Myth of Endless Accumulation

by Amy Ripley (PR and Communications Manager)

In today’s workplaces we work harder and longer, labouring under the illusion that this will bring us more wealth. As this myth becomes increasingly preposterous, it’s time to understand why we believe in it, and where it came from.

The Death of Homo Economicus, a new book by Professor Peter Fleming, Cass Business School, explores the origin of this oppressive myth, in order to destroy it. The story begins with the creation of a fake persona labelled the ‘dollar-hunting man’, invented by economists Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek. Today, this persona, driven by competition and ego, is used by politicians and managers to draw a veil over the terrible reality of work under capitalism.

Creeping into all aspects of life, the desire to constantly compete and accumulate must be resisted if we are to create a better way of life for all.

Read an extract from the book here.

The Death of Homo Economicus:Work, Debt and the Myth of Endless Accumulation is published by Pluto Press.

Peter Fleming is Professor of Business and Society at Cass Business School, City University London. He researches the changing politics of capitalist employment relations, and has a Guardian column on this topic. He is the author of The Mythology of Work (Pluto Press, 2015).

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