Why do I write books? Why do I think? Why should I be passionate? Because things could be different, they could be made better.
I suspect that one of capitalism’s crucial assets derives from the fact that the imagination of economists, including its critics, lags well behind its own inventiveness, the arbitrariness of its undertaking and the ruthlessness of the way in which it proceeds.
Power, in a nutshell, is the ability to get things done, and politics is the ability to decide which things need to be done.
In our world of rampant ‘individualisation’, relationships are mixed blessings. They vacillate between a sweet dream and a nightmare, and there is no telling when one turns into the other.
Partnerships are increasingly seen through the prism of promises and expectations, and as a kind of product for consumers: satisfaction on the spot, and if not fully satisfied, return the product to the shop or replace it with a new and improved one! You don’t, after all, stick to your car, or computer, or iPod, when better ones appear.
Human attention tends to be focused on the satisfactions relationships are hoped to bring, precisely because somehow they have not been truly satisfactory. And if they do satisfy, the price of this satisfaction has often been found to be unacceptable.
In a consumer society, people wallow in things, fascinating, enjoyable things. If you define your value by the things you acquire and surround yourself with, being excluded is humiliating.
I was leftwing, I am leftwing, and I will die leftwing.
The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.
We already have – thanks to technology, development, skills, the efficiency of our work – enough resources to satisfy all human needs. But we don’t have enough resources, and we are unlikely ever to have, to satisfy human greed.
This awful concept of underclass is really horrifying. You’re not lower class, you are excluded – outside.
As far as love is concerned, possession, power, fusion and disenchantment are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
The carrying power of a bridge is not the average strength of the pillars, but the strength of the weakest pillar. I have always believed that you do not measure the health of a society by GNP but by the condition of its worst off.
The risk of the Holocaust is not that it will be forgotten, but that it will be embalmed and surrounded by monuments and used to absolve all future sins.
In a liquid modern life there are no permanent bonds, and any that we take up for a time must be tied loosely so that they can be untied again, as quickly and as effortlessly as possible, when circumstances change – as they surely will in our liquid modern society, over and over again.
Attempts to tame the wayward and domesticate the riotous, to make the unknowable predictable and enchain the free-roaming – all such things sound the death knell to love.
Unlike ‘real relationships’, ‘virtual relationships’ are easy to enter and to exit. They look smart and clean, feel easy to use, when compared with the heavy, slow-moving, messy real stuff.
Capitalism proceeds through creative destruction. What is created is capitalism in a ‘new and improved’ form – and what is destroyed is self-sustaining capacity, livelihood and dignity of its innumerable and multiplied ‘host organisms’ into which all of us are drawn/seduced one way or another.
We live in a globalising world. That means that all of us, consciously or not, depend on each other. Whatever we do or refrain from doing affects the lives of people who live in places we’ll never visit.
In a world of global dependencies with no corresponding global polity and few tools of global justice, the rich of the world are free to pursue their own interests while paying no attention to the rest.