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Commonwealth

por Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri

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1782122,326 (4.31)1
When Empire appeared in 2000, it defined the political and economic challenges of the era of globalization and, thrillingly, found in them possibilities for new and more democratic forms of social organization. Now, with Commonwealth, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri conclude the trilogy begun with Empire and continued in Multitude, proposing an ethics of freedom for living in our common world and articulating a possible constitution for our common wealth. Drawing on scenarios from around the globe and elucidating the themes that unite them, Hardt and Negri focus on the logic of institutions and the models of governance adequate to our understanding of a global commonwealth. They argue for the idea of the "common" to replace the opposition of private and public and the politics predicated on that opposition. Ultimately, they articulate the theoretical bases for what they call "governing the revolution." Though this book functions as an extension and a completion of a sustained line of Hardt and Negri's thought, it also stands alone and is entirely accessible to readers who are not familiar with the previous works. It is certain to appeal to, challenge, and enrich the thinking of anyone interested in questions of politics and globalization.… (mais)
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Disclaimer: I'm not the most-informed person to review this - I've only read Empire some years ago (and had mixed feelings on it), but I was able to figure out what 'the multitude' was easily enough. I'm only passingly familiar with some of their theoretical background of Hegel, Kant, Spinoza, Marx. Foucault a little bit, but less so. Habermas and Deleuze are mysteries to me. So skip this ramble if you are more informed than I.

Empire was a very scathing review of modern globalization, providing a theoretical basis for multinational entities, abusing and manipulating the awareness of an underclass, etc. The multitude, as theorized, is a class which is so wide-ranging and disparate that it cannot self-rule, nor can be it be managed by a separate ruler. Reminiscent of Marx's description of the masses.

With modern neo-liberal capitalism cracking at the seams, Hardt and Negri argue for the 'social commons'. Subjective discourse, power of the multitude. Intellectual genealogy on ethics reaching back to Spinoza (which I respect immensely). Lots of stuff on biopolitics and the emphasis of 'love' and 'desire' in the new economy. We're moving past the old idea of the worker. Inherent distrust for organization and hierarchy. Separate 'outsider' groups are the focus on social reform. Although they will not all work together, their reforms will take on parallel paths. Abolition of private property (expected, these are Marxists). Focus on social relationships and personal interest as focus of new economy, which would be valueless. Some interpretations and misinterpretations of the Internet.

Some ideas in this book were very intriguing, but some descended into a contradicting mishmash. Empire still seems to be the most relevant, most advanced and most discussed, go there. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
A continuation of the theoretical thrust of Empire and Multitude. The authors present an argument relating to freedom, equality and democracy in the modern world. The title contains a neat pun on commonwealth in the sense of "state" and "common wealth."
  Fledgist | Dec 22, 2009 |
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Messrs. Hardt and Negri make little effort to build arguments in support of their wild assertions and predictions. They write as if ignorant of the 20th century and of much else, including economics and social science. (They still quote Lenin and Mao as if they were sources of wise political and economic analysis.) How would abolishing private property not lead to a threadbare totalitarian state, as it has in the past? The authors promise it will be different this time, without explaining why. If you abolish the family, how will children grow into flourishing adults? We must take it on faith that the post-family world will be just fine. (The word "children" almost never appears in the book.) How do the authors explain away capitalist globalization's record of elevating millions of people out of poverty? Answer: They don't.

"Commonwealth" is a dark, evil book, and it is troubling that it appears under the prestigious imprimaturof Harvard University Press. Countless millions were slaughtered by adherents of Karl Marx in the 20th century. God help us if the scourge returns in the 21st.
 

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When Empire appeared in 2000, it defined the political and economic challenges of the era of globalization and, thrillingly, found in them possibilities for new and more democratic forms of social organization. Now, with Commonwealth, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri conclude the trilogy begun with Empire and continued in Multitude, proposing an ethics of freedom for living in our common world and articulating a possible constitution for our common wealth. Drawing on scenarios from around the globe and elucidating the themes that unite them, Hardt and Negri focus on the logic of institutions and the models of governance adequate to our understanding of a global commonwealth. They argue for the idea of the "common" to replace the opposition of private and public and the politics predicated on that opposition. Ultimately, they articulate the theoretical bases for what they call "governing the revolution." Though this book functions as an extension and a completion of a sustained line of Hardt and Negri's thought, it also stands alone and is entirely accessible to readers who are not familiar with the previous works. It is certain to appeal to, challenge, and enrich the thinking of anyone interested in questions of politics and globalization.

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