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The pricing of progress economic indicators and the capitalization of American life

Author: Eli Cook
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts London Harvard University Press 2017
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
The political arithmetic of price -- Seeing like a capitalist -- The spirit of non-capitalism -- The age of moral statistics -- The hunt for growth -- The coronation of King Capital -- State of statistical war -- The pricing of progressivism -- Epilogue: Toward GDP
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Eli Cook
ISBN: 9780674976283 0674976282
OCLC Number: 988321465
Awards: Winner of S-USIH Annual Book Award 2018 (United States)
Description: 352 Seiten
Responsibility: Eli Cook

Abstract:

How did Americans come to quantify their society's well-being in units of money? In our GDP-run world, prices are the measure of not only goods and commodities but our environment, communities,  Read more...

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Eli Cook poses fundamental moral questions with elegance and authority, illuminating how Americans came to conceive everything--including human beings and whole societies--as capital investments. His Read more...

 
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In today\'s GDP-run world, prices are the standard measure of not only our goods and commodities but our environment, our communities, our nation, even our self-worth. The Pricing of Progress traces the long history of how and why we moderns adopted the monetizing values and valuations of capitalism as an indicator of human prosperity while losing sight of earlier social and moral metrics that did not put a price on everyday life. Cook roots the rise of economic indicators in the emergence of modern capitalism and the contested history of English enclosure, Caribbean slavery, American industrialization, economic thought, and corporate power. He explores how the maximization of market production became the chief objective of American economic and social policy. We see how distinctly capitalist quantification techniques used to manage or invest in railroad corporations, textile factories, real estate holdings, or cotton plantations escaped the confines of the business world and seeped into every nook and cranny of society. As economic elites quantified the nation as a for-profit, capitalized investment, the progress of its inhabitants, free or enslaved, came to be valued according to their moneymaking abilities. Today as in the nineteenth century, political struggles rage over who gets to determine the statistical yardsticks used to gauge the \"health\" of our economy and nation. 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