Cognitive capitalism and finance: the impossibility of a “new deal” or the unstable valorization

by Andrea Fumagalli


University of Pavia

Cognitive Capitalism is characterized by three main aspect: the role played by the generation and diffusion of knowledge as key variable of accumulation process, the redefinition of the nexus capital-labor as a relation in which “machinery” is incorporated in the labor activity (“anthropogenetic model of production” according to Marazzi, 2007), and the pervasive role played by financial markets both as “finance” motive (Keynes, 1930) and as valorization of the social cooperation (“general intellect”). 

In this paper, we highlight the role played by financial markets as core of cognitive capitalism. More in particular, we discuss how financial markets represent nowadays the privatization of social security (once played by State), from one side, and a sort of monetary multiplier, able to positively affect aggregate demand and promote a distortive income distribution,  from the other. 

The financial crise shows how financial markets are not structurally able to guarantee a stable social compromise between valorization of the social cooperation and the distribution of the wealth in such a ways to improve, on average living, conditions. It’s the failure of the present economic governance of cognitive capitalism, also as result of the irreducibility of alive labor (“multitude”) to be socially controlled and mentally “lobotomized”.