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Title: Interrogating the knowledge-based economy : from knowledge as a public good to Italian post-workerism
Author: Boffo, Marco
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis offers a critique of the reception of the Knowledge-Based Economy concept within both mainstream economics and contemporary Marxist debates. The first chapter analyses how this concept and attendant discussions have recently prompted mainstream economists to provide it with foundations within economic theory and advocate the development of an economics of knowledge. Given the fallacious understanding, within mainstream economics, of knowledge, the economy, and their interaction, the chapter demonstrates the flawed nature of the mainstream version of the Knowledge-Based Economy and the economics of knowledge as judged from the standpoint of any contribution holding different views on knowledge, the economy, and their interaction. The second chapter addresses the reinterpretation of the Knowledge-Based Economy as cognitive capitalism elaborated within Italian post-workerist autonomist Marxism. The latter theorises the preponderance of immaterial labour within contemporary capitalism, and has been recently recast in terms of Marxist economic analysis. Following the persistence of capitalism and the continuing relevance of Marxian analytical categories, the chapter demonstrates how the conceptualisation of contemporary capitalism as cognitive capitalism hinges on a misreading of Marxian value theory and its relation to the economy, and weakened links of the analysis with the politics of Marxism itself. The third chapter investigates issues related to the social ubiquity of networked computers, which is increasingly understood as driving new processes of class formation within capitalism and as instantiating new forms of exploitation considered, under the label of 'prosumption', as simultaneously more pervasive and less alienating. The chapter investigates these issues through the prism of recent work of Italian post-workerist Marxists critical of the cognitive capitalism debate. The chapter demonstrates the theoretical flaws inherent in both understanding technology as a vector of class formation and the concept of prosumption, while also deepening the critical understanding of Italian post-workerism elaborated in the second chapter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral