This book considers the transformations of both accumulation processes 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 valorization and of forms of property are directly based on the control and privatization of the production of collective knowledge. The transformation of knowledge itself, into a commodity or a fictitious capital, is analyzed. The contradiction between cognitive capitalism and a knowledge based economy will be here declined as a new historical form of the traditional contradiction between the development of productive forces and the exploitation of social relations.
Building on this foundation, the authors outline their concept of ‘commonfare’. The 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 leads to the transition from private to public ownership but it is necessary to distinguish between common goods and the commonwealth. As far as basic services such as health care or education or mobility are concerned (common goods), which are now increasingly privatized, the goal is to provide a public management of their supply as use-value against any attempt at commodification. But if we refer to the commonwealth, the framework is different, since the fruit of social cooperation and general intellect are neither private nor public goods. The only way to manage the commonwealth is the self-organization, by imagining a different régime of valorization, prioritising the needs of human beings.
1. The thesis of cognitive capitalism 2. The accumulation process in cognitive capitalism: new forms of exploitation 3. The accumulation process in cognitive capitalism: new forms of "dis-possession" 4. The crisis of the law of value and the becoming rent of profit 5. The precarity trap and the becoming rent of wages 6. Why Cognitive Capitalism is unstable 7. The valorization by common goods and by commonwealth 8. From Keynesian wel(work)fare to Commonfare 9. The pillars of Commonfare