Private Government
How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It)
Elizabeth Anderson

Editions

Why our workplaces are authoritarian private governments—and why we can’t see it

One in four American workers says their workplace is a “dictatorship.” Yet that number almost certainly would be higher if we recognized employers for what they are—private governments with sweeping authoritarian power over our lives. Many employers minutely regulate workers’ speech, clothing, and manners on the job, and employers often extend their authority to the off-duty lives of workers, who can be fired for their political speech, recreational activities, diet, and almost anything else employers care to govern. In this compelling book, Elizabeth Anderson examines why, despite all this, we continue to talk as if free markets make workers free, and she proposes a better way to think about the workplace, opening up space for discovering how workers can enjoy real freedom.

Elizabeth Anderson is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. Her books include The Imperative of Integration (Princeton).