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This article critically examines the historical emergence and predominance of the presentist time economy that has tended to unmoor contemporary consumer society from the past, while simultaneously destroying the possibility of a future that is anything more than the frenetic perpetuation of its own fragmented now. It begins with a philosophical investigation in order to stave off both the subjectivist and the objectivist understandings of time and argue for a radically historicist and sociopolitical approach to temporality. It then turns to the ways in which "time" is differentially constituted in rival historical and political imaginaries, before developing a detailed account of how the temporal economy of the "time of the now" operates in fields such as politics, economics and the mass media. It subsequently relates the fragmentary presentism of the dominant order to one of its reigning rhetorical strategies: crisis discourse. Finally, the article concludes by arguing for the collective construction of an alternative time economy, which recognizes that the urgency of ever-new crises and curios is actually rooted in the unrelenting perpetuation of the capitalist status quo.