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From the Mass-Worker to Cognitive Labour: Historical and Theoretical Considerations

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Chapter Summary

This chapter attempts to reconstruct the essential characteristics of 'Americanism and Fordism', which encompasses the transition from the class-composition of the mass-worker to that of immaterial and cognitive labour. The first section presents the method and concepts on which a post-workerist analysis of capitalism's dynamic is based. The second and third sections are devoted to putting the crisis of Fordism and the transition to cognitive capitalism in historical perspective. After a close look at the origin of cognitive capitalism, the chapter shows how the ever more central role of rent-income deplaces the terms of the traditional antagonism based on the opposition between wages and company-profit a deplacement that leads to the transition from a 'vampiric' to a 'parasitic' capitalism in which the becoming-rent of profit presents itself as the other face of the crisis of the law of value.

Keywords: Americanism; class-composition; cognitive labour; Fordism; labour-capital relation; mass-worker; parasitic capitalism; post-workerist analysis



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