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The central features of capitalism today are both the same as and different from Karl Marx’s writings on the subject in the late 19th century. Capitalism still relies on the exploitation of labor power through alienation in the workplace and the household, but what Marx called ideology—the values, beliefs, and morals shared by the majority of the people in a given society—has changed dramatically. Ideological directives are no longer issued solely from the pages of books. They are now encoded into the numerous layers and levels of a public world in which money, science, and speed have, in effect, replaced the written word. Capitalism has become a language game, a disempowered everyday life in which reading has been turned into a mindless rehearsal of ...

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