Rational self-interest is often seen as being at the heart of liberal ecomic theory. In The Power at the End of the Ecomy Brian Massumi provides an alternative explanation, arguing that neoliberalism is grounded in complex interactions between the rational and the emotional. Offering a new theory of political ecomy that refuses the liberal prioritization of individual choice, Massumi emphasizes the means through which an individual's affective tendencies resonate with those of others on infra-individual and transindividual levels. This nconscious dimension of social and political events plays out in ways that defy the traditional equation between affect and the irrational. Massumi uses the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement as examples to show how transformative action that exceeds self-interest takes place. Drawing from David Hume, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Niklas Luhmann and the field of nconsciousness studies, Massumi urges a rethinking of the relationship between rational choice and affect, arguing for a reassessment of the role of sympathy in political and ecomic affairs.
Brian Massumi is Professor of Communication at the University of Montreal. He is the author of several books, including What Animals Teach Us about Politics and Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, both also published by Duke University Press.