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Basic Income and Counter-power (short version)

di Andrea Fumagalli, Stefano Lucarelli

Tratto dalla rivista telematica Basic Income Studies sul reddito di base e contro-potere. (In inglese)

From Introduction

What Counter-power measures should be put into place if we really want to redress the imbalance of power characterizing the existing paradigm of accumulation inherent to cognitive capitalism?1 Today, these questions are undeniably relevant, if we recognise that the causes leading to the present economic crisis are to be found in an excessively fragmented labour force and the attached unfair income distribution.2 Any progressive economic policy presupposes the establishment of counter-power measures aimed at redressing forms of exploitation inherent to the present accumulation regime. The critical perspective here proposed is within the framework of Cognitive Capitalism (CC). The starting point of CC is a radical critique of the apologetic vision of the actual mutation entailed by the new liberal theories of knowledgebased economy. This critical perspective is clearly indicated by the two terms that compose our object of analysis: 1. the term of capitalism underlines the permanence of the structural invariants of the capitalist mode of production: in particular, the driving role of profit and the wage relation, or more precisely the different forms of dependent labour upon which the extraction of surplus labour rests; 2. the term cognitive emphasizes the changed nature of the capital-labour relation and the forms of property upon which the accumulation of capital depends. (Vercellone 2005: 2) Does Basic Income (henceforth BI) represent a sufficiently strong economic intervention able to recompose an increasingly fragmented labour force whilst allowing a minimum level of income? We shall try to explain why BI is the most appropriate economic intervention necessary to deal with the unprecedented flexibilization of the labour market characterising contemporary society. With the term BI we intend the proposal of a universal and unconditional economic intervention, without discriminating against anyone, paid on a regular and perpetual base, independent of the actual working activity, aimed at guaranteeing a decent standard of life to all members of a political community.

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