In Letters of Blood and Fire in Publishers Weekly

In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism

Publishers Weekly
July 2013

In this collection of essays published as part of the Common Notion series, philosophy professor and activist Caffentzis drolly articulates the relevancies of Marxism to issues of contemporary capitalism. Topics include the current financial crisis, the reciprocal and beneficial relationship between capitalism and war, our romanticized view of mechanization, and the puritan undertones in the desire for space colonization-just to name a few. Each essay through different routes aims to unveil the inherent and pervasive violence of contemporary capitalism. To this end these essays are loosely themed using the three headings: “Work/Refusal;” “Machines;” and “Money, War, and Crisis.” Unfortunately, the categories provide little cohesion to the collection. Throughout the book certain ideas are excessively reiterated such as Caffentzis’ theories on Turing Machines, and others are left undeveloped. The essays themselves are uneven, ranging from witty and incisive to monotonous, self-important, and dull. Even so, Caffentzis’ analysis is cutting and the project he is attempting is extremely pertinent, which is the redeeming merit of the book.

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