The Populist Moment, Chapter 11, Part 2
Alain de Benoist
“Multitudes” Against the People
On the Theses of Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri
Translated by F. Roger Devlin
“The Empire is constructing a biopolitical order because production has become biopolitical,” states Antonion Negri.[i] That means that the emergence of the Empire as a paradigm of biopower is indissociable from the appearance of a new form of production, viz. “immaterial” labor, which is defined by Hardt and Negri as “labor which produces a non-material good such as a service, a cultural product, knowledge, or communication” (E., 355). This category, perceived straight away as “biopolitical,” covers service activities, research, innovation, education, computer science, advertising, marketing, communication, cultural industries, and so on. Characterized especially by the penetration of cognitive labor in the sphere of production, immaterial labor, which also includes “the production and manipulation of affect” (E., 358), henceforth represents the dominant form of social labor by contrast with industrial labor, now in decline:
The secondary sector tends to disappear, in capitalist countries, to the benefit of services. Insofar as labor becomes cognitive, intellectual, it can no longer be quantified. . . . Formerly, capitalist exploitation concerned the brute labor of workers, and the place where that exploitation occurred was the factory. Today it is intellectual aptitudes and affective needs which are exploited.[ii]
Of course, Hardt and Negri know quite well that the dominant model of work in the world today is still of the Taylorist sort, so that on the world scale the figure of classical exploitation remains hegemonic. They also know that about half the planet’s population is still working in agriculture. But they think they must emphasize the tendency which seems to them most pregnant of the future: “An overall analysis is only good insofar as it is illuminated by the tendency which governs its evolution.” Immaterial labor is in the process of dethroning industrial labor in the same way industrial labor was in the process of replacing agriculture in the nineteenth century; i.e., it is the tendency which forces even other forms of labor to adopt its characteristics. In this context, one might compare the transition from (exclusive) material property to (reproducible and shared) immaterial property to the transition from immovable property to movable, or the transition from exploitation by rent to exploitation by profit. This is why Hardt and Negri constantly insist on the “ontological” centrality of immaterial labor:
The object of exploitation and domination tends no longer to be especially productive activities, but the universal capacity to produce; i.e., abstract social activity and its total power. This abstract labor is an activity without a locus. . . . It is the social diffusion of living labor, both not belonging to anyone [non appartenante] and creative; it is the desire and the effort of the multitude of adaptable and mobile workers, and at the same time, it is the intellectual energy, and linguistic and communicative construction, of the multitude of intellectual and affective workers.
For her part, Anne Herla remarks:
Immaterial labor is biopolitical labor par excellence, since it is not satisfied with creating material goods, but also produces relations and social life itself. Its modes of functioning are information, communication, cooperation. Its organization is typically post-Fordist: putting the stress on the flexibility of work time and mobility, it functions in smaller decentralized unites which collaborate in the form of a network.[iii]
The thesis maintained by Hardt and Negri is that this form of labor cannot be controlled or exploited as was done with earlier industrial labor, for it requires the free deployment of creative subjectivities and the spontaneous cooperation of workers beyond national borders. Immaterial labor is already situated beyond capitalism, since it has the capacity to realize its own value [or valorize itself: se valoriser lui-même] without being purchased by Capital, which amounts to saying that living labor can in the end create value without Capital’s intervention: “What distinguishes immaterial labor is the fact that its products are themselves in many respects immediately social and common” (M., 141). In immaterial labor, surplus labor extracted from labor power is hard to translate into surplus value, and tends on the contrary to present itself as a “revolutionary excess.” Decentralized and deterritorialized, but also cooperative and creative of shared value, immaterial labor develops by means of horizontal connections which tend to escape the Empire’s vertical control. It is in all this that its liberatory potential resides. Hardt and Negri conclude firstly that immaterial labor also involves freedom of thought, which is bold to say the least,[iv] but above all that it must be admitted that henceforward the deployment of Capital’s guardianship across new forms of activity is also what creates the possibility of escaping from it. As Thomas Coutrot writes, “Its organization in collaborative networks allows the multitude not only to retake control of social production from Capital, but to seize control of society and radically democratize it in spite of the Empire.”[v] Biopower thus comes down to the biopower of subjects, a power itself also bioproductive.
In such a context, exploitation by Capital is no longer a certain relation between the quantity of necessary labor and the quantity of surplus labor generative of surplus value, but is defined as “expropriation of what is in common” (M., 184). Now, as Perre Dardot observes,
such a redefinition is less innocent than it appears, insofar as it rests on the idea that the wealth (in common) produced by immaterial labor is produced outside the control of capital. . . . This amounts to saying it is entirely impossible for capital to privatize the whole of the common, that expropriation is condemned to remain partial, and, consequently, that a “common surplus” is thus constituted in which the multitude increasingly draws to produce ever more common wealth.[vi]
This is in fact what Hardt and Negri maintain. “Cognitive labor is extremely difficult for Capital to digest,” Negri assures us.[vii] Once immaterial labor generalizes reproducible and shared property, exclusive and privatized property “becomes a fetter for the capitalist mode of reproduction,” adds Michael Hardt.[viii] Here again, Hardt and Negri, starting from a correct observation (with Bill Gates, the “private property of the means of production” no longer means much), draw a conclusion from it that is both doubtful and optimistic, to say the least. By proclaiming that Capital is henceforth “in people’s brains” (in immaterial labor, the instrument of labor is the brain, instruments of production themselves becoming prostheses of brains), Hardt and Negri state in fact, contrary to all reality, that it has stopped imposing itself as a social relation.
Here again, Hardt and Negri think themselves able to appeal to Marx in alleging the Marxian concept of “general intellect” [in English in the original] to analyze the phenomenon of the Internet and, more generally, immaterial labor in a direction scarcely different from the discourse of the theorists of the “web economy” and “fortunate globalization.” In his Grundrisse (1857-58), Marx in fact announced, by means of his considerations on the “general intellect,” the massive integration of intellectual-cognitive labor into productive labor. But he saw in this only an element aggravating the contradictions inherent in the law of value. If he was one of the first to observe that “science, a product of the general intellect of the development of society, also appears directly incorporated into Capital,” this was to add immediately that “its application to the process of material production [is] independent of the knowledge and capacity of the individual worker.”[ix] Under these conditions, it seems rather abusive to appeal to Marx to support the idea that immaterial labor largely escapes the grasp of Form-Capital. In speaking of “immaterial labor” as a synonym for “intellectual labor power” or “general intellect,” Hardt and Negri are clearly guilty of misinterpretation.
Moreover, the way Hardt and Negri speak of knowledge as the principal source of value and profit in “immaterial labor” often falls into a sort of fetishism of knowledge or intelligence (without taking into account individual inequalities in cognitive capacities, of course). Jacques Guigou and Jacques Wajnsztejn write on this subject that “the pretention to reduce what has been defined as general intellect to the individual capacity of self-valorization allowed by the development of science and technology is ridiculous. These intelligences are subjected to the machine with an inversion of the prosthetic function, which makes its vehicles reproducers of what exists.”[x]
The very concept of “immaterial labor” must be examined more closely. Even without subscribing to Michel Husson’s opinion according to which, as concerns the organization of labor, “we uncover no tendency toward a rise in the power of the cognitive model sufficient to supplant today’s dominant model, which can be described as neo-Taylorist,”[xi] it must be remarked at the outset that, strictly speaking, immaterial labor quite simply does not exist. What exists is immaterial production, which in fact is tending to increase today, but which nonetheless most often remains the result of quite concrete labor. (And there is also, of course, an immaterial capital which likewise continues to develop by means of financial capitalism.) To confuse an activity — productive labor — with its result — the nature of the thing produced — is already clumsy. To draw from the rise in immaterial production the conclusion that “immaterial labor” has intrinsic emancipatory virtues amounts to setting little value on labor’s concrete conditions for the people who participate in that production, whether in developed countries or the Third World. In fact, cognitive capitalism tends rather to reinforce the constraints imposed on workers, and not to lighten them, since henceforward the production of Capital demands the domination of every social form: “The upheaval brought by information and communication technology allows capitalism to snatch up the worker’s time for living not only during his working hour but also outside them.”[xii] “Technological transformations,” adds Michel Husson, “are taken advantage of the better to control workers. The constraints they undergo have never been so heavy, and the new technologies are taken advantage of to exercise an increasingly tight and individualized form of control.”[xiii] This is what Thomas Coutrot has been able to establish through a whole series of field studies.[xiv]
But it is an even more serious matter to confound this “immaterial labor” with the “abstract labor” mentioned by Marx, by writing, for example, that “through the computerization of production, work tends toward the position of an abstract form of labor” (E., 357). On the one hand, in fact, “concrete labor is an act, a deed, which is always material; i.e., an expense of energy and time, fatigue, stress; and whether it is predominantly manual, intellectual, or relational does not change this.”[xv] On the other hand, in speaking of abstract labor, Marx in no way alludes to the growing degree of labor or production’s “immateriality.” He merely wants to say that labor of whatever sort always has an abstract dimension because of its social character, more exactly because of the fact that the market validates a fraction of its social character through the exchange of merchandise, thus allowing the particular character of singular labor carried out by the producers to be forgotten:
Under capitalist conditions, all labor — even in mines or workshops — has an abstract aspect, because it represents a certain quantity of time necessary for its production. Computerization does not render labor more abstract than it was before. The labor which creates merchandise is always at once abstract and concrete.[xvi]
In fact, Hardt and Negri’s considerations on immaterial labor fit into the framework of what has been written for the past 20 years on “cognitive capitalism,” a concept first spread by Yann Moulier-Boutang[xvii] but which has also been studied by André Gorz.[xviii] This concept is fairly close to the “computing capitalism” [capitalisme informationnel] of which Manuel Castells speaks in the first volume of his trilogy on time in networks,[xix] or indeed to certain ideas of Bernard Stiegler.[xx] As for the idea of an opposition between the old vertical hierarchies and the self-regulating networks functioning in a horizontal way, it is similar to what Pierre Lévy has written on the “collective intelligence” which would result from the “interconnection between computers and brains on a planetary scale.”[xxi]
“Cognitive capitalism” refers to the new regime of Capital accumulation which is today tending to substitute itself for the Fordist and Taylorist capitalism of old mass production. Its theorists also connect it to the rise of an “immaterial economy,” defined as an economy in which knowledge becomes the principle productive force. This economy is naturally associated with the development of new computing and communicational technologies, beginning with computer science (the Internet), and with the rise in networks at the social level. The free software movement is paradigmatic of this “brain cooperation.” Just as immaterial labor tends to supplant industrial labor, cognitive capitalism is called upon to succeed industrial capitalism in the same way this latter (in part) succeeded the original commercial capitalism. Yann Moulier-Boutang speaks in this context of a “third sort” of capitalism whose emergence will amount — alluding to the famous book by Karl Polyani — to a new “Great Transformation.” Studying this development, the “cognitivists” assure us that it will involve not merely feedback between consumption and production, but also an “autonomization of the sphere of knowledge production as a sphere of capitalist accumulation unto itself” (Antonella Corsani).
Marx said that the real subject of the capitalist economy is value itself (the “automatic subject”). Now, according to the “cognitivists,” a fundamental trait of cognitive capitalism is that it involves a questioning of the concept of value, whether one thinks living labor is no longer a source of value or whether one thinks every instant of life must be included in living labor, which amounts to saying that everything is productive of value, that value is everywhere. Affirming that time today no longer simply measures value, certain writers, such as Yann Moulier-Boutang and Antonella Corsani, conclude that the law of value has disappeared. Others, like Hardt and Negri, tend to say that, since value is no longer measurable, one can just as well say it is everywhere — another way of saying that it is nowhere. In any case, since capitalism’s grasp can no longer be calculated in terms of labor time and surplus value, the Marxian theory of value must be abandoned, for it would be impossible today to distinguish between productive labor, reproductive labor, and unproductive labor. (The “cognitivists” do not go so far as to reject the distinction between living and dead labor.)
Negri thus writes that the law of value “has become useless,” that it has lost “all meaning in view of boundless social accumulation, since the most important form of fixed Capital is henceforth found in the brain.”[xxii] The rise of immaterial labor, we also read in Multitude, supposedly has the consequence that “exploitation no longer amounts merely to the extraction of surplus value measured by individual or collective labor-time, but that it is above all the capture of a value produced by cooperative labor and which tends, by circulating within social networks, to become common value” (M., 141). Carlo Vercellone similarly states that the rise in knowledge calls into question
the theory according to which unmediated labor-time devoted to an activity of material production is the principal productive source of human labor. . . . At the theoretical level, the departure of industrial capitalism would toll the funeral bell of the law of labor-value. And on the political level, the only way out would be to accompany the evolution of this form of capitalism . . . which promises to each worker the chance to “produce himself.”[xxiii]
This obviously poses the question of whether the production of value remains or does not remain the goal of capitalist production. If the exchange value of merchandise is no longer determined by the quantity of general labor they contain, but by their content in information and knowledge, and if crystallized knowledge has replaced crystalized labor, what becomes of the very concept of value and the possibility of measuring it? And above all, what about value as social relation?
Like a number of other “cognitivists,” Hardt and Negri once again appeal to certain Marxian texts, in particular the passage where he envisages a mutation such that the creation of real wealth comes to depend “less on labor-time and the quantum of labor which the power of the agents has put in motion in the course of the time of labor”: “As soon as labor in its immediate form has ceased being the great source of wealth,” writes Marx, “labor-time ceases necessarily to be its measure, and consequently, exchange value ceases to be the measure of use value.”[xxiv] But Hardt and Negri read this passage wrongly. Marx in fact is speaking of the growing gap between living labor and the use value of the wealth created, not of a growing gap between labor and value. This is why he notes, quite correctly, that Capital’s tendency “is always to create disposable time on the one hand, and on the other to convert it into surplus labor.”[xxv] Marx, in other words, is indicating the contradiction between merchandise and the socialization of productive forces — by expressly emphasizing that, to resolve it, “it must be the working masses themselves which appropriates its own surplus labor” — whereas the theoreticians of cognitive capitalism refer to this socialization to make it the principle of a new form of capitalism.
The “cognitivists,” in the end, think that the creation of wealth no longer fundamentally rests on labor-time today, but on the level attained by science and information technology. “It is increasingly upstream from the sphere of ‘salaried work and the commercial world’ in society, and especially in the system of education and research, that the key to productivity and the development of social wealth is found.”[xxvi] From this they conclude that “with respect to the emergence of knowledge, the Marxian theory of value no longer holds,” because “labor is no longer the source of value, and labor-time is ceasing to be its measure.”[xxvii] In reaching this conclusion, and even though their initial observation is not incorrect, they are making at least three mistakes.
The first consists in confusing wealth and value (as exchange value, monetary and commercial), unlike Marx, who emphasized the difference between the two concepts, specifying that labor is not the only source of wealth, but the only source of value.[xxviii] It was even the dissociation between value and wealth which allowed Marx to point out one of the major contradictions in Capital’s logic, since it is indeed Capital which confines the economy to the sphere of exchange value, where wealth is merely a means. It is clear that, if we do not take that distinction into account, it is impossible to understand why the enormous gains in productivity recorded by capitalism have not resulted in proportionate levels of abundance, nor to any fundamental restructuring of social labor.
Their second mistake is to confuse value and the law of value, or, if you prefer, the creation of value by productive forces and the conditions of that creation; i.e., the social relations within which they operate. As Jean-Marie Harribey writes:
The development of productive forces leads to the gradual exclusion of living labor from the process of production and, in the long run, the value of merchandise, a development which reinforces the incorporation of increasingly greater knowledge. This exclusion does not constitute a negation of the law of value as a tendency, but is its strict application. . . . The law of value is not “obsolete” in the field of economy; it has never been more valid.[xxix]
In cognitive capitalism we behold a degeneration of value, but not a degeneration of social labor within the law of value. The third mistake, finally, is to confound, starting from an observation of feedback effects between production and consumption in the domain of computing, the irreducible difference between use value and exchange value, forgetting that the former is of a practical or symbolic order, while only the latter is of an economic order.
In reality, Hardt and Negri never seriously question the concept of value. As Robert Kurz notes:
For them, form-value (that fetishized form which makes of the product a commodity) is simply an ontological given in which humanity realizes itself. . . . In this regard, Hardt and Negri are not equal to their ambitions, for to want to make a critique of capitalism without taking the form of value and its valorization into account is similar to wanting to make a critique of religion without taking the concept of divinity into account.[xxx]
Indeed, the ultimate goal of capitalism is still to augment surplus value (profit) and not the quantity of goods. Growth in the quantity of goods is merely the consequence of the constant attempt to augment surplus value. (In other words, it is not because we sell more commodities that profits increase, but it is because we want profits to increase that we sell ever more commodities, which amounts to saying that capital is a process of creating surplus value by way of producing commodities, this process permanently transforming living labor into dead labor.) It is indeed for this reason that we can conclude that, today as yesterday, capitalist production is still founded on value tied to the extraction of surplus labor, and that the knowledge of which Hardt and Negri make so much is merely the current form of living labor which Form-Capital tends to transform into dead labor.
Certain Marxist economists have, of course, reacted with a certain harshness against Hardt and Negri’s distortions of Marx’s thought. Michel Husson, for example, thinks that modern forms of commodity, far from leading to the obsolescence of the law of value alleged by the advocates of “cognitivism,” allow us to rediscover “the absolutely classic contradiction between the form assumed by the development of productive forces and capitalist relations of production.”[xxxi] The fact is that Hardt and Negri entirely forget Marx’s pages devoted to commodity reification (Verdinglichung) and commodity fetishism. Anselm Jappe even goes so far as to say that categories as central as commodity, labor, and money are not the object of any particular analysis in Hardt and Negri — any more than they criticize labor as a form of social life and sphere separate from life:
The authors of Empire accept these categories in their appearance as natural, ontological, anthropological categories exactly as does bourgeois science. . . . In their eyes, labor and Capital stand in the same relation as the plenum and the void. . . . For them, the multitude is an absolute and ontological positivity, whereas the “Empire” is a mere void, the absence of being and production. This is naturally incompatible with any analysis of fetishism or alienation.”[xxxii]
At the practical level, the whole question is whether “cognitive capitalism” is better or worse than the forms of capitalism that preceded it. There are clearly some reasons for considering it to be worse, since it results in a generalized alienation of the totality of social life, but Hardt and Negri resolutely adopt the contrary view, as we have seen. They maintain that cognitive capitalism, far from representing a new form of domination, on the contrary opens previously unknown paths of liberation.
Hardt and Negri’s thesis rests, let us remember, on the debatable idea that “cooperative networks of production” can henceforth emancipate themselves from the tutelage of capital by way of the “absolutely democratic” character of the network form (insofar as, in a network, the “immaterial laborers” can freely compare their creativity with their subjectivity). The rise in unemployment, and the diminution of the fraction of surplus value taken up by salaries, are not therefore the objects of any particular consideration for them. Flexibility and precariousness, which allow an increase in the levels of labor-power’s exploitation, are positively evaluated. Far from interpreting the rise of immaterial labor as the emergence of a sinister system for the domestication of bodies, aggravated by the mobility and “flexibility” of employment, Hard and Negri celebrate its virtues to the point of singing paeans to social precariousness,[xxxiii] opposing the rhizomatic example of the excluded, the nomad, the precarious worker to the enslaved rootedness of the worker to stable employment. The exclusion suffered is thus magically transformed into a voluntary and liberating exile, the flexibility of employment into a promising form of nomadism!
The facts in no way confirm immaterial labor’s intrinsically liberating virtues. “Nothing allows us to affirm that the individualized labor of a telemarketer, a part-time advertising agent [publicitaire intermittent], someone who runs a business from his home, is more liberating than labor power’s collective organization,” observes Daniel Bensaïd.[xxxiv] André Gorz, moreover, was able to maintain the exact opposite thesis, emphasizing that it is on the contrary labor’s loss of material substance which is expressed by increased alienation. Thomas Coutrot for his part observes that
the neoliberal enterprise in the form of a network in fact articulates, in a very hierarchical manner, quite heterogeneous forms of organization. . . . These forms are articulated not thanks to intersubjectivity and affective communication, but by fearful disciplinary processes: the fixing of goals, competition, a permanent process of selection. The mobility of Capital, in contrast with the relative immobility of labor, gives it the social power to orient workers’ productive activity in a manner that suits it, and to appropriate gains in efficiency. . . . To claim that organization in the form of a network naturally gives actors, independently of their position within the network, control over their activity and over the network is nonsensical. In current forms of business organization, it is enough to examine the concentration of income to the benefit of the holders of Capital and the insecurity imposed on workers to convince oneself of this: “collaborative networks” are in no way a guarantee of greater power or autonomy for the workers, even if they are “immaterial.”[xxxv]
The connection between the decentralization of decision-making and democracy are no more evident. Here, Hardt and Negri’s error consists in “hypostatizing a technical or organizational form, attributing to it an intrinsically liberating content, reducing the complex dialectic between technology, organization, and social relations to an unequivocal determinism.”[xxxvi] In reality, relations of production cannot be escaped en masse. “One does not collectively desert the system of exploitation and domination. One must either undergo it or confront it in order to break it.”[xxxvii] Far from uncovering or manifesting great emancipatory potential, “cognitive capital” marks above all the entrance of Form-Capital into an era where it tends to rid itself of all “rigidities” and all “archaisms” which still hamper it, and to rid itself of all regulations imposed on it by a century of social struggles.
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[i] Antonio Negri, “L’’Empire,’ stade suprème de l’impérialisme,” op. cit., 3.
[ii] Antonio Negri, interview in Philosophie Magazine, op. cit., 59.
[iii] Anne Herla, “Empire et Multitude : la démocratie selon Antonio Negri,” lecture for PhiloCité, January 23-25, 2007.
[iv] The more immaterial labor there is, Negri assures us, “the more freedom of thought is necessary to be productive” (interview in Philosophie Magazine, op. cit., 60). This is to blind oneself to the fact that immaterial labor is in reality perfectly compatible with mass conformism. As Slavoj Žižek writes, “Today, freedom of thought signifies the freedom to question the predominant liberal-democratic ‘post-ideological’ consensus — or else it does not signify anything” (Que veut l’Europe ? Réflexions sur une nécessaire réappropriation [Castelnau-le-Lez: Climats, 2005], 98). Cf. also Slavoj Žižek, “Have Michael Hardt and Toni Negri Rewritten the Communist Manifesto for the Twenty-First Century?”, in Rethinking Marxism, 2001, no. 3-4.
[v] Thomas Coutrot, “’Multitude” et démocratie : le saut périlleux,’ in Alain Caillé (ed.), Quelle démocratie voulons-nous ? Pieces pour un débat (Paris: La Découverte, 2006), 50.
[vi] Pierre Dardot, “A propos de la multitude,” in Mouvement, March-April 2005, 146.
[vii] Toni Negri, “Communisme : quelques réflexions sur le concept et la critique,” in Alain Badiou & Slavoj Žižek (eds.), L’Idée du communisme (Paris: Nouvelles éditions Lignes, 2010), 224.
[viii] Michael Hardt, “Le commun dans le communisme,” ibid., p. 164. Cf. also M., 147: “In immaterial production the creation of cooperation has become internal to labor and thus external to Capital.”
[ix] Karl Marx, Un chapitre inédit du “Capital,” (Paris: UGE/10-18, 1971), 249.
[x] Jacques Guigou & Jacques Wajnsztejn, L’Évanescence de la valeur. Une presentation critique du groupe Krisis (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2004), 134.
[xi] Michel Husson, “Sommes-nous entrés dans le capitalisme cognitif ?”, in Critique communiste, Summer-Autumn 2003. “What happens in a South Korean automobile factory remains at least as important as what is exchanged between two flexible and nomadic computer users,” writes Serge Quadruppani (“Notes critiques sur le livre de Toni Negri et Michael Hardt,” in No Pasaran, s.d. ).
[xii] Jean-Marie Harribey, “Le cognitivisme, nouvelle société ou impasse théorique et politique,” in Actuel Marx, September 2004, 151-180.
[xiii] Michel Husson, “Sommes-nous entrés dans le capitalisme cognitif ?”, op. cit.
[xiv] Cf. Thomas Coutrot, Critique de l’organisation du travail (Paris: La Découverte, 1999).
[xv] Jean-Marie Harribey, “Le cognitivisme, nouvelle société ou impasse théorique et politique,” op. cit.
[xvi] Anselm Jappe, “Les habits neufs du marxisme traditionnel,” op. cit., 30.
[xvii] Yann Moulier-Boutang, Le Capitalisme cognitif. La nouvelle grande transformation, second ed. (Paris: Amsterdam, 2008). Cf. also Christian Azais, Antonella Corsani, & Patrick Dieuaide (eds.), Vers un capitalisme cognitive (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2000).
[xviii] André Gorz, L’Immatériel. Connaissance, valeur et capital (Paris: Galilée, 2003).
[xix] Manuel Castells, La Société en réseaux. T. 1 : L’ère de l’information, tr. by Philippe Delamare (Paris: Fayard, 1999).
[xx] Bernard Stiegler, Pour une nouvelle critique de l’économie politique (Paris: Galilée, 2009).
[xxi] Pierre Lévy, L’Intelligence collective (Paris: La Découverte, 1997).
[xxii] The critique made by Hardt and Negri of the Marxian theory of value had already been developed by a neo-workerist such as Maurizio Lazzarato. Cf. Maurizio Lazzarato & Antonio Negri, “Travail immatériel et subjectivité,” in Futur antérieur, no. 6, Summer 1991.
[xxiii] Jean-Marie Harribey, “Le cognitivisme, nouvelle société ou impasse théorique et politique,” op. cit.
[xxiv] Karl Marx, Manuscrits de 1857-1858. Grundrisse, tr. by Jean-Pierre Lefevre, vol. 2 (Paris: Éditions Sociales, 1980), 192-193.
[xxv] Ibid., 196.
[xxvi] “Table ronde sur le capitalisme cognitif,” in Regards, April 2003, 260.
[xxvii] Antonella Corsani, “Le capitalisme cognitif: les impasses de l’économie politique,” in Carlo Vercellone (ed.), Sommes-nous sortis du capitalisme industriel? (Paris: La Dispute, 2002), 65.
[xxviii] David Ricardo had noted this before him: “The labour of a million of men in manufactures, will always produce the same value, but will not always produce the same riches” (Chapter 20, 320, of Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, third ed. [London: John Murray, 1821]).
[xxix] Jean-Marie Harribey, “Le cognitivisme, nouvelle société ou impasse théorique et politique,” op. cit.
[xxx] Robert Kurz, “L’Empire et ses théoriciens,” in Anselm Jappe & Robert Kurz, Les Habits neufs de l’Empire, op. cit., 86-87.
[xxxi] Michel Husson, “Le capitalisme contemporain et Marx,” in Droit social, 2008, 2, 238. The same author writes elsewhere: “The thesis concerning the passage from labor value to ‘knowledge value’ must be rejected for the following reasons: knowledge value does not exist within the field of capitalist social relations; capitalism integrates the workers’ knowledge with their productive power as it has always done; and the law of value continues to hold, with renewed brutality and breadth, ‘thanks’ to generalized commodification” (“Notes critiques sur le capitalism cognitif,” in Contretemps, February 2007).
[xxxii] Anselm Jappe, “Les habits neufs du marxisme traditionnel,” op. cit., 16 and 25. For a critical view of “cognitive capitalism,” cf. also Michel Husson, Un pur capitalisme (Lausanne: Page Deux, 2008); and David Forest, “De quoi le ‘capitalisme cognitif’ est-il le nom ?”, in Quaderni, Winter 2009-2010, 1-5. Cf. also Pierre Dardot, Christian Laval, & El Mouhoub Mouhoud, Sauver Marx ? Empire, multitude, travail immatériel (Paris: La Découverte, 2007).
[xxxiii] Cf. Toni Negri, “Refonder la gauche italienne,” in Le Monde diplomatique, August 2002.
[xxxiv] Daniel Bensaid, Éloge de la politique profane (Paris: Albin Michel, 2008), 288.
[xxxv] Thomas Coutrot, “’Multitude’ et démocratie : le saut périlleux,” op. cit., 51-52.
[xxxvi] Ibid., 53.
[xxxvii] Daniel Bensaid, Éloge de la politique profane, op. cit., 301.
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