The problem with defining capitalism by its inherently critical dimension, as do Boltanski and Chiapello, is that it is then necessary to account for what obstructs, as stupidity [betise], the passage to the critical, noetic act. And this is precisely what is missing in their work – even though the loss of this spirit is what defines it as an epoch of stupidity. This stupidity may be inherent, thanks to the intermittent character of noesis (if not to the ‘transcendental5 character of stupidity), but in this epoch, and undoubtedly for the first time in the history of humanity and of its inhumanity, stupidity rules as such, totally and shamelessly, a fact that seems neither to concern nor to affect Boltanski and Chiapello.

The Lost Spirit of Capitalism

Bernard Stiegler

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