Cognitive Capitalism, Welfare and Labour: The Commonfare Hypothesis, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Cognitive Capitalism, Welfare and Labour

The Commonfare Hypothesis, 1st Edition

By Andrea Fumagalli, Alfonso Giuliani, Stefano Lucarelli, Carlo Vercellone


216 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138654303
pub: 2019-06-24
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This book deals with the transformations of both accumulation process and labour in the transition from a Fordist to a cognitive capitalism paradigm, with specific regard to Western economies. It outlines the advent, after industrial capitalism, of a new phase of the capitalist system in which the value of cognitive labour becomes dominant. In this framework, the central stakes of capital valorisation and forms of property are directly based on the control and privatization of the production of collective knowledge. Here, the transformation of knowledge itself, into a commodity or a fictitious capital, is analyzed.

Building on this foundation, the authors outline their concept of ‘commonfare’. This idea of commonfare implies, as a prerequisite, the social re-appropriation of the gains arising from the exploitation of those social relations which are the basis of accumulation today. This re-appropriation does not necessarily lead to the transition from private to public ownership but it does make it necessary to distinguish between common goods and the commonwealth. This book explains this distinction and how common goods and the commonwealth require a different framework of analysis.

This volume will be of great interest to all scholars and researchers, as well as a more general readership, who wish to develop a critical thinking of the mainstream analysis of this topic. Contributing to the "Marxism-heterodox" approach using rigorous theoretical analysis and empirical evidence, it is aimed at all those who act socially and aspire to a better understanding of the development and the contradictions of contemporary capitalism.

Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures


1. An introduction to Cognitive Capitalism: A Marxist Approach, Carlo Vercellone and Alfonso Giuliani

2. Metamorphosis of the theory of value and becoming rent of profit: an attempt to clarify the terms of a debate, Carlo Vercellone and Stefano Dughera

3. Twenty Thesis on contemporary capitalism (bio-cognitve capitalism), Andrea Fumagalli

4. New Forms of Exploitation in Bio-Cognitive Capitalism: Towards Life Subsumption, Andrea Fumagalli

5. A Financialized Monetary Economy of Production, Andrea Fumagalli, Stefano Lucarelli

6. Instability and Uncertainty in Cognitive Capitalism Paradigm, Andrea Fumagalli and Stefano Lucarelli

7. Common and commons in the contradictory dynamics between knowledge-based economy and cognitive capitalism, Carlo Vercellone and Alfonso Giuliani

8. Postface, Antonio Negri


About the Authors

Andrea Fumagalli is Associate Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and Management at University of Pavia, Italy. He also teaches at IUSS Pavia and his research focuses on issues of labour precarity, on basic income and transformations of contemporary capitalism.

Alfonso Giuliani is a Research Fellow at Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CNRS UMR 8174, France. His research focuses on issues of institutional economics, political economy of commons, cognitive capitalism, monetary theory of production, history of economic thought.

Stefano Lucarelli is Associate Professor in Economic Policy at University of Bergamo, Italy. His research projects include institutional economics, cognitive capitalism, monetary theory of production, financialization, stock-flow consistent models and complementary currencies.

Carlo Vercellone is Full Professor at Université de Paris 8, France, Department of Culture and Communication. He is also a member of Centre d'Études sur les Médias et l'Internationalisation (CEMTI) and Associate Researcher at CNRS- Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne (CES). His research focuses on the knowledge economy, cognitive capitalism, welfare state and basic income.

About the Series

Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy

In recent years, there has been widespread criticism of mainstream economics. This has taken many forms, from methodological critiques of its excessive formalism, to concern about its failure to connect with many of the most pressing social issues. This series provides a forum for research which is developing alternative forms of economic analysis. Reclaiming the traditional 'political economy' title, it refrains from emphasising any single school of thought, but instead attempts to foster greater diversity within economics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Knowledge Capital