Abstract

The decline of traditional pensions and the rise of individualized retirement accounts such as 401(k)s can be read as a neoliberal program of transferring risk and responsibility for providing retirement income from employers to workers. Subsequent to this shift, American workers are facing a “retirement savings crisis.” While the stagnation of incomes in the United States has certainly contributed to this crisis, I argue that the specific temporality of 401(k) investing also plays a role. Drawing on the work of John Clarke, E. P. Thompson, and Paul Virilio, I argue that the neoliberal temporality of 401(k) investing conditions a new “time-sense” in workers-turned-employee-investors that privileges the present over the future. This present-focused time-sense contradicts the future orientation required for retirement investing.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 95-118
Launched on MUSE
2014-03-24
Open Access
No
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