speculative capitalism by fjzhangm


									Department of Sociology & Anthropology, CEU The Global speculative Capitalism and the Emerging Commons of knowledge: Capitalism of the New Millennium and its Antithesis Instructor: Jakob Rigi Fall 2009 4 credits, 8 ECT credits This course aims at outlining and analyzing what has been called “the Millennial Capitalism” and its contradictions and crisis. The contradiction between the speculative requirements of the finance capital and the social character of productive forces, particularly, the new modes of intellectual knowledge based productive forces is the major characteristic of this capitalism. Finance capital, as the most advanced and hegemonic form of capital tends to subsume all human activities, parts of human bodies and the nature into its regime of value on the global scale. Finance capital declares that everything is for sale and tries to harness nations, states, families, individuals, happiness, illness, life and death to the logic of financial speculation. Neo-liberal globalization, currently in the death bed, has been the apt strategy of finance capital to expand its dominations to all corners of the world and to all quarters of life. Speculation, counterfeits, magic, and generally the flows of sign freed from contexts, fragmentations, prevalence of identity politics, violence and crisis are various aspects of the speculative capitalism. The commoditization of knowledge/culture (signs and symbols) on the one hand and the penetration of economy by culture/knowledge, on the other are the hallmarks of cultural economy of this capitalism. On the other hand, this capitalism has resulted in the enormous expansion of the immaterial collective knowledge-based productive forces. These forces which consist of intellectual workers, their modes of creativity and cooperation, and the new forms of knowledge and technology have stimulated the emergence of new forms of collective labor in the production processes and to a lesser extent new forms of sharing and distribution of the products. These new forms question radically the logic of commodity and capital in general and the financial speculation in particular. The products of socially collective intellectual labor are physically unbounded and their consumption does not diminish their values. It seems that their nature contradict commodity based value system. The use and appropriation of such products by some groups or individuals, unlike hard material products, doe not exclude the simultaneous use and appropriation of them by others. Scientific discoveries and soft-wares are good examples of such products. These conditions have led to the emergence of the new commons of knowledge in which people tend to share products of knowledge freely or for small prices, subverting the greedy drive of the finance capital.


Aims This course has the following aims: 1- To discuss theoretically and ethnographically major aspects of contemporary capitalism; 2- To probe the hypothesis whether the emergent forms of cooperation and commons of knowledge and the concomitant distributive forms are the signs of an emerging viable society that can replace capitalism. Learning Outcomes The student will learn on the following: 1- On concepts of production and distribution. 2- On pre-capitalist mode of productions. 3- On the core logic of industrial capitalism. 4- And finally on the contradictions of contemporary capitalism.

The structure of the course The course has an introduction, two backgrounds parts, one main part, and a conclusion. The introduction introduces the main concepts of the political economy, the method and gives and overview of the content of the course. The first part deals with pre-capitalist modes of production through reading works of Polanyi, Marx , Maus and other related authors. Concepts of household economy, reciprocity, redistribution, gift and coercive extraction of surplus are central to this part. We deal with these concepts not only for historical /comparative reasons but also due to the fact that most, if not all, of them, have acquired a new salience under information society. We will also revisit these concepts in the concluding part of this course. Part two deals with specifics of capitalist mode of production and distribution in general through reading of Polanyi, Duncan Foley and Marx. Money, Market, contract, value, surplus value, wage, profit and rent are the main concepts of this part. We will also discuss that the inherent tendency of capitalist mode production for continuous revolutionizing the forces of production. Part four which is the major part and the focus of the course deals with contradictions of the contemporary capitalism and covers the following topics: Information Society, Late Capitalism, Finance Capital, post-Modernism, immaterial labor, Multitude, New Commons, Knowledge Economy and property rights. We will map out the new revolution in the productive forces and its effects on relations of production and distribution.


Conclusions deals with logic of emergent mode of cooperation and distribution which are based on knowledge economy. Revisiting concepts of gift and general reciprocity it will probe which concepts are more suitable for theorizing these emergent trends.

Mode of Teaching: One hour lecture by instructor followed by shorter presentations by students, questions and discussions. Coursework: Each student is required to give a brief summary (two pages) of the main reading, highlighting major arguments. They are also required to give brief presentations, 15 minutes, of a topic of a week of their own choice. They are also required to attend the classes and actively participate in discussions. Students are required to read carefully main reading and read selectively the supplementary readings. All main readings are included in the reader. Some supplementary readings are not included in the reader but all are available in CEU‟s library. Grading: Attending Active participation Weekly Summaries Presentation A final essay on a relevant topic to the course (2500-3000 words %15 %15 %20 %5 %45

Week 1: Introduction: Overview of the course and basic concepts In this week we deal with major general concepts of political economy and some methodological issues and will overview the content of the course. Main reading 1) Modes of production : Marx K, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859). In Tucker R. 1973. Marx-Engels Reader. New York: Norton. Pp. 3-6. Marx, K. 1973: “Production, consumption, distribution and exchange”, in Grundrisse. Pp. 83-100. “Introduction to Late Capitalism, by Mandel, E. 1999: London: Verso 13-23.


PART 1 Week 2: Pre-capitalist Modes of Production

In this week we deal with economic categories of pre-capitalist societies such as reciprocity, household economy, gift, redistribution and coercive extraction of surplus labor and surplus products. Main Reading: Marx, Karl 164. Pre-Capitalist Modes of production. Pp.68-120 Narotzsky Sussana 1997. “Distribution and Exchange”pp.42-58. of New Directions in Economic Anthropology. London: Pluto Press. Polanyi Karl. 1992/1944. “Societies and Economic Systems”, chapter four of The Great Transformation. Boston: Beacon Press. Pp, 45-58. Malinowski, B. 1984/1992. “The Essentials of Kula”. Chapter III of Argonauts of the Western Pacific. Waveland Press. Pp 81-104. Supplementary Reading Mauss, Marcel 1900: The Gift: London: Routledge. Pp. 1-46. Particularly pp. 1-15;2031;39-44; and 46. Bourdieu Pierre. 1980/1999. “Work of Time”. Chapter. 6 of The Logic of Practice. Stanford: Stanford UP. Pp. 98-112. Selections fro Goudelier. 1999/1996. The Enigma of The Gift. Chicago: Chicago UP. Selection From Levi-Straus.


Week.3: Capitalist Mode of production in general In this week we will deal with market modes of contract and exchange and concomitant regimes of value and the transformation of labor, land and other factor of production into commodities and concomitant modes of distributions. Main Reading Foley Duncan K. 1986 Understanding Capital. Cambridge M.: Harvard UP. Pp 1-48. and 105 -124. Polanyi, Karl. Pp. 59-80. of the Great Transformation. Supplementary Reading Marx, Karl selections from Capital Vol. 1. Cap Vol. 2, Capital Vol.3


PART 4: Millennial Capitalism Weeks 4: Information Society: Terms of Debate In this week we will deal with the concept of informational society through reading the views of its proponents and their critics. Main Reading Mandel, Earnest. 1978/1972. . “The specific Nature of the third technological revolution.” Chapter 6 of Late Capitalism. London: Verso.pp. 184-222. Massuda, J. 2004. “Image of the Future: Information Society.” In F. Wbsner. Ed. The Information Society. New York. Routledge. Pp.15-20. Menzies Heather 1998. “challenging capitalism in Cyberspace”. In R. W. McChesney, E. M. Wood, and J. B. Foster (eds.) Capitalism and Information Age. New York: Monthly Review Press. Pp. 87-97. McChesney, R.W. “The political economy of global communication”. In Above. Pp. 126. Supplementary Reading. Leadbeater, Ch. “Living on Tin Air”. In Above F. ed. Pp. 21-30. Robbins, K. Webster F. “The Long History of the Information Revolution.” In F. Webster above.pp. 62-80. Week 5: Informational Society: Descriptive outlines: In this week we will delve more analytically and descriptively in Informational Society through Reading Castells‟ work. Castells is thoroughly descriptive and is an easy read, though not always analytically deep. Main Reading Castells, Manuel. 2000. The Rise of Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell P. pp. 1-99. Supplementary Reading Castells, Manuel. 1991. “The question of Technology”, chapter. 2 of The Collapse of Soviet Communism: A View from the Information Society. UCP: Berkeley. Pp. 27-39.

Catells, Manuel. 2001. The Rise of Internet Galaxy. Oxford: OUP.pp.1-187. Castells, Manuel & Himanen, Pekka. 2002. Oxford: OUP. 1-76,

Weeks 6 : Informational Society as Late Capitalism This week will deal with an alternative conceptualization by Earnest Mandel. This conceptualization has been influential through Fredrick Jameson‟s theory of postmodernity. We will compare Castells‟ and Mandel‟s concepts. Main Reading Castells, Manuel. 2000. The Rise of Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell P. pp 100-62.


Mandel. E. “The Expansion of Service Sector” chapter 12, Pp375-407. of Late Capitalism. Supplementary Reading Bell, D. Post-Industrial Society. 2004/1973. “Post-Industrial Society”. In F. Webster Ed. The information Society Reader. New York: Routledge. Pp. 86-102. Castells, Manuel. 2000. The Rise of Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell P. pp. 100-163.

Weeks 7 & 8: Finance Capital In these two weeks we will deal with financial capital through reading D. Harvey‟s brilliant analysis. Selective Reading of R. Hilferding is also highly recommended. Without understanding the mechanisms of financial capital the understanding of contemporary capitalism is impossible. Main Reading Harvey, D. 1999. Limits to Capital. Chapters 9 (Money, Credit and Finance) & 10 (Finance Capital and Its Contradictions). Pp. 239-324. London: Verso. Supplementary Reading Hilferding R. 1981. Finance Capital. Parts I & II Selections From Lenin‟s Imperialism. Pp. 637-672 of Selected work vol. 1. Moscow (1947).

Week 9: The domination of Finance Capital over the new productive forces This week deals with ways in which the logic of finance capital has dominated the economy of signs and culture, and the signs and culture of economy. Main Reading Lyotard, J.F. 1984. Post-modern Conditions .pp.3-6. Jameson, F. “The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”. Chapter 1 of Post-Modernism, or Cultural Logic of Capitalism. Durham: Duke UP. Pp. 1-54. Hardt, M. & Negri, A. 2000 “Post-modernazation, or The Informatization of Production”, chapter 3.4 of Empire: Cambridge Mass. : Harvard UP. Pp. 280-303. Supplementary Reading Baudrillard J. 1994. Simulacra and Simulation. Michigan: Michigan UP. Debord, G. 1995. The Society of Spectacle. New York Nealon, J. 2008. “Genealogies of Capitalism”. Chapter 3 of Foucault Beyond Foucault., Stanford: Stanford UP. Pp.54-73.


Weeks 10: Immaterial labor and Multitude In this week we deal with the related concepts of immaterial labor and multitude through the reading of the work of Hrardt & Negri. The authors also deal with concepts of commons and property rights. Main Reading Marx, K. 1982. “The formal and Real Subsumption of Labor Under Capital”. Capital. Vol. 1. pp1019-1038. Penguin Books. --------“Productive and Unproductive Labour”…..pp. 1038-1049. Hardt M. & Negri A.2004. Multitude. Penguin Books. Pp.99-157. Supplementary Reading “The Decline and the Fall of Empire” , part 4 of Empire. Cambridge Mass: Harvard UP. Pp. 253-413. McIntyre, R. & Hillard, M. 2007. “De-centering wage labor in contemporary capitalism”, Rethinking Marxism, 19:4, pp. 536-548. Cocco, G. 2007. “The labor of Territories between De-territorialization and Re territorialization” Rethinking Marxism. 19:3, pp306-318. Zizek, S. 2007. “Multitude, Surplus, and Envy”. Rethinking Marxism. 19:1, pp. 46-46 58. Prichard, Craig. 2007. “Responding to Class theft: Theoretical and Empirical Links to Critical Management Studies”. Rethinking Marxism. 19:3, pp. 409-421. Nealon, Jeffery. 2007. “ The Associate Vice Provost in the Gray Flannel Suit: Administrative Labor and the Corporate University ”. Rethinking Marxism. 19:1, pp. 91109. Longman, Lauren. 2008. “Massive Change: The exhibit as Apology for “New Capitalism”. Rethinking Marxism. 20:3, pp. 464-471. Kostakis, Vasilis. 2009. “Amate Class, or, The Reserve Army of the Web”. Rethinking Marxism.21:3.pp.457-461. Freemam, Ch. 2001. “The Factory of the Future and Productivity Paradox”. In W. Dutton (ed.) Information and Communication Technologies. Oxford: OUP. Pp.123-141 Weeks 11: Knowledge Economy, Property Rights and New Commons In This week we deal with the major concepts of the knowledge economy, concepts of commons and property rights. Main Reading Benkler, Y. 2006. The Wealth of Networks. New Haven.: Yale UP. Pp. 1-176. Kollock, Peter. 1999.“The economies of on line cooperation: Gifts and Public goods in cyberspace”. In M.A. Smith & Peter Kollock. (eds.) Communities in Cyberspace. New York: Routledge. Pp.220-239.


Supplementary Reading Kod , D. 2003. “Indymedia.org: A New Communication Commons”. In M. Mccaughey and M. D. Ayers (rds.).Cyberactivism. New York: Routledge. Pp. 47-69. M.A. Smith. “Invisible crowds in Cyberspace: Mapping the social structure of Usenet”. In above. Pp. 195-219. Nico Stehr. 2004. “ The Economic Structure of Knowledge Societies”. In F. Webster. (ed.) The Information Society Reader. Pp.214-236. Sunstein C.S. Infiotopia. Oxford: OUP. 2006. 147-225 Week 12: Conclusions: Capitalist Crisis and alternatives to capitalism: Marx or Mauss ? In this week we deal with the logic of emergent forms of cooperation and distribution by revisiting Marx and Mauss. Main Reading Mandel, E. „The Crisis of Capitalist Mode of Production”. Pp.562-589 of Late capitalism. Mauss, Marcel 1900: The Gift: London: Routledge. Pp. 1-46. Particularly pp. 1-15;2031;39-44; and 46. Marx, K. Critique of Gotha program. In R. Tucker. Marx-Engels Reader. Pp.525-541. Marx, K: Parris Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts. In R. Tucker. Marx and Engels Reader. Pp.70-105. Marx, K. “The Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation”. Capital.Vol. 1. 927940. Supplementary Reading Ollman, Bertell. 1998. ed. Market Socialism. New York: Routledge. Keynes. J. M. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, pp. 313-371.


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