Psychology and Capitalism: The Manipulation of Mind Paperback – 27 Feb 2015
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About the Author
Ron Roberts is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Kingston University with over 30 years' experience in Higher Education. He is the author of five books.
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Top customer reviews
The book is full of complaints about psychology acting as lackeys of capitalism. This is a curious matter, because research shows that psychologists are much more liberal than the general population. Are they really so stupid that they constantly work against their principles? Actually one can find a lot of critique of materialism and also individualism in psychology, but this is not based in Marxist theory.
The concept of alienation is often based on questionable belief that the common people do not know what is best for themselves. One often gets the feeling that those using this concept project their own alienation to others. Peple must be alienated because Marx or Fromm said so. If people are happy and satisfied, this is the ultimate sign of alienation, because nobody - except perhaps capitalists - can be happy under exploitation.
Psychology does have its problems and challenges, but making it a weapon of politics is not a solution. It is true that psychology can never solve the basic philosophical problems of human life, but it can study the conditions where she lives and perhaps make some suggestions improving her well-being - which of course is problem for scientific neutrality.
It also true that psychology often cannot produce universally applicable results, but this has to be accepted, because cultures are different. However locally relevant results can still be useful.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Dr. Roberts briefly discusses psychology’s history as a science developed by the elite who had become uneasy about the rapidly urbanizing spaces of early capitalism. We learn how modern day psychology’s obsessive focus on internal thoughts and behaviors has reinforced the capitalist ethic of selfish individualism. Dr. Roberts sharply criticizes the psychology profession’s close ties to the military/industrial complex and its unethical relationship with big business. Dr. Roberts wonders if psychology’s complicity in engineering mass illusion has made it nearly impossible for us to rationally take stock of our unique moment in history and speak truth to power.
Dr. Roberts draws on the great Marxist thinkers Michel Foucault and Eric Fromm to reclaim psychology as an Enlightenment science that can serve our collective interests. We are reminded that Foucault analyzed how language, discourse and power can shape our perceptions; while Fromm recognized psychology’s value as a tool to advance our human potential. Accordingly, Dr. Roberts encourages us to throw off our chains by engaging in an open, constructive dialogue about capitalism's oppressive tendencies. In this way, we will understand that many problems do not originate within us (as corporate psychology would have us believe). Dr. Roberts asserts that a robust moral and political debate may yet open psychology to new, more humane possibilities including love, imagination and art.
I highly recommend this excellent book to everyone.
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