Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 156, Issue 1, pp 289–292 | Cite as

Review of Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It) by Elizabeth Anderson

  • Joanne B. CiullaEmail author
Book Review

Throughout history, many employers have had an irresistible urge to control and profit from the work of others—slavery being the worst example of this. The ancient Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro regarded slaves as instrumentum vocale or talking tools, and it sometimes seems like we haven’t really gotten past that idea.1 Rousseau believed that humans fell from the golden age when they discovered how to get work from each other.2 Karl Marx said that employers alienated workers from their work and themselves.3 In the business ethics literature, David Ewing noted that most Americans leave their Constitutional rights at the door when they go to work,4 and Studs Terkel got straight to the point when he said, “for some people work is a daily humiliation.”5 So the question in the subtitle of this book raises an especially important one for Americans today, “Why don’t we talk about how employers rule our lives?”

Elizabeth Anderson is a prominent political theorist, and this book comes...


Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers Business SchoolPiscatawayUSA

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