UPDATE: Reid of Planomenology takes on some of the issues in his recent post here.
The recent surge of project-oriented philosophy and its bellicose denial of such wonderful things as procrastination and idleness* made me think about a number of issues, but primarily about the projected work ethic of such philosophical attitude – why should one get a project and why does this attitude remind me so much of a “time is money” late capitalist attitude of middle managers trying to get as much value from their employees as possible? In other words, what are the ideological underpinnings of such drive for productivity and originality? Is it possible that an unexplored dimension of such calls for philosophical productivity is a simple influence of late capitalist model of production where original ideas are commodities to be exchanged for higher and higher academic positions and philosophical “work ethic” is a new religion of producing as much philosophical capital as possible in order to justify one’s existence as a philosopher?
Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello argue in their excellent The New Spirit of Capitalism that we are looking at a new ideological mode, a new (third) capitalist spirit:
Whereas the first spirit of capitalism gave more than its due to an ethic of saving, and the second to an ethic of work and competence, the new spirit is marked by a change in terms of the relation to both money and work.
In the form of the spirit of capitalism that dominated the nineteenth century and the first third of the twentieth, saving constituted the main means of access to the world of capital and the instrument of social advancement. It was, in large part, by means of inculcating an ethic of saving that the values of self-control, moderation, restraint, hard work, regularity, perseverance, and stability prized by firms were transmitted. [151-2]
So the old attitude toward money was to save it and to advance oneself socially by accumulating more and more money (“I am worth X amount of money”). The new spirit of capitalism, however, is not about saving and accumulation but about allocating time:
In this [new] world, to save is thus in the first instance to prove sparing with one’s time and judicious in the way one allocates it. Obviously, this applies in the first instance to the time one devotes to others: not wasting time involves reserving it for establishing and maintaining the most profitable connections… as opposed to squandering it in relations with intimates or people with whom social intercourse brings only pleasure of an affective or ludic variety. 
People must not be prodigal with their time, or reserve it for themselves – save it up to no purpose. They should devote their time to seeking information about good projects and, if they have saved up time, not squander it on useless things, but keep it in reserve to exploit opportunities to invest in a new project, which is unexpected but potentially interesting. 
This new attitude toward time directs one to ignore things one does for oneself (leisure, making friends, starting a family and etc, i.e. “saving up”) and to invest time into projects (or the project). At the same time, the changing attitude toward work follows directly from this attitude toward time and effort one must put into one’s projects:
Associated in the first state of capitalism with rational asceticism and then, in the mid-twentieth century, with responsibility and knowledge, it tends to make way for a premium on activity, without any clear distinction between personal or even leisure activity and professional activity. To be doing something, to move, to change – this is what enjoys prestige, as against stability, which is often regarded as synonymous with inaction. 
So, an ascetic scholar (old school types with a couple of books and a dozen of articles to his/her name, but all of the highest quality) is replaced with an expert scholar (a specialist, and therefore highly knowledgeable and therefore academically responsible) and now a new emerging type of scholar, corresponding to this new spirit of capitalism, is a project manager scholar who is making important connections, creating new projects that would connect him/her with other project managers with a goal of mutual amelioration and increase of scholarly status and thus exposure to more projects and more connections. In this sense, blogosphere is an essential medium replacing conference shmoozing and networking – or so it seems.**
So we go from idle and societally useless Socrates to a highly efficient and well-connected project manager scholar. Idlessness and reflection, irresponsible ranting and “just thinking aloud” are no longer productive modes of scholarly acitivities – death is the ultimate limit, make an important contribution to contemporary philosophy or die trying.
* See all that talk of “trolles” and “vampires” and “nitpicking” and so on, I don’t have specific links, as it was all over this corner of blogosphere.
** Boltanski/Chiapello talk of an emerging new normativity, not a simple adjustment from previous forms of capitalism – one might think of it as a new gospel.