Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Cognitive Capitalism as a Financial Economy of Production

Fumagalli, Andrea and Lucarelli, Stefano (2008): Cognitive Capitalism as a Financial Economy of Production. Published in: Andrea Fumagalli, Carlo Vercellone and Vladimir Cvijanović (eds.), "Cognitive Capitalism and its Reflections in South-Eastern Europe, Frankfurt", Peter Lang (2010)

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The structural changes that occurred in the last 30 years have substantially modified the capitalistic organization of society, both at national and international level. In order to understand the evolution of social and economic systems it is necessary to focus on the relations of production, that is on those social relationships that explain the valorisation process. Since the economic crisis of the 1970's until the late 1990's the structure of production in the developed countries has been characterised by the development of highly flexible forms of production. The organizational revolution that occurred within production activity has been achieved through introducing new information technologies and restructuring of production within increasingly wider territories. A new regime of accumulation devoid of a stable mode of regulation and centred on financial valorisation of new socio-economic growth perspectives has been consolidating. Conditions imposed by financial markets in order to create the shareholder's value consisted of promoting downsizing, reengineering, outsourcing and Merger & Acquisitions processes. The flexibilization of labour force and precarization of existence has thus been the result of the established valorization norm. But why should the corporate restructuring sustain the enterprise value by creating income stock ? In order to answer this question it is necessary to analyse the importance of knowledge in the production process. For this purpose, we shall use some categories of the so called French Regulation School. The definition of a new regime of accumulation involves a research on the criteria of valorisation and the prevailing technological paradigm. The main changes of new capitalism concern mainly two spheres: the role played by knowledge in the new technological paradigm and valorisation process and the importance of finance. The dominant technological paradigm and the role played by knowledge within it are not enough to explain the evolution of the accumulation regime. It is needed to introduce further elements necessary to explain the expectations that sustain the investment choices made by capitalists; these are the conventions or collective beliefs. Then, after describing the main features of the accumulation paradigm that many scholars have named as Cognitive Capitalism , we shall attempt to provide a theoretical framework of it intended as a financial economy of production. We shall therefore proceed to the reformulation of the schemes of monetary circuit.

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