Having and Being Had: Enmeshed in a capitalist world

Book review: Eula Biss takes a nuanced look at inequality, race, precarity and money

Eula Biss’s  sentences have retained a poet’s precision. Photograph: Awakening/Getty Images

Eula Biss’s sentences have retained a poet’s precision. Photograph: Awakening/Getty Images

The most recent addition to my reading pile is Worked Over, in which sociologist Jamie K McCallum argues that Americans, in particular, have lost control of their work time, and that a reduction in working hours should now be a core tenet of social justice.

McCallum’s book was published in the US in September, the same month as Harvard philosopher Michael J Sandel’s The Tyranny of Merit, which contends that the mantra of individual striving, the notion that just rewards will come to those who, as Leo Varadkar might say, “get up early in the morning”, has taken a hammer to the idea of the common good.

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