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Cognitive Bio-Capitalism, Social (Re) Production and the Precarity Trap: Why Not Basic Income?

di Andrea Fumagalli, Cristina Morini

Nowadays, there is a link between the theoretical framework which defines the current economic and organizational paradigm (we call it “cognitive-biocapitalism”) and the issue of “social (re)production”. This latter was already analyzed and investigated by the materialist feminism of the Seventies, but it needs to be updated. The link we intend to shed light on rests upon the fact that contemporary social reproduction takes the form of productive valorization, and it should therefore be analyzed not only from an economic point of view, but also from a sociological and psychological one. In fact, social reproduction is nothing else than the form assumed by contemporary production as a whole, in a metropolitan context where the city is the new factory and in which precarity becomes the main organizational form of the labor market, and human faculties as well as life time are ceaselessly commodified. This paper aims at analyzing the link between “productive” social reproduction (better said: “social (re)production”) and the central role played by precarity as a generalized, structural and living condition. The rising of a “precarity trap” is the way through which social reproduction is valorized, and we argue that basic income could be the answer to the multifarious social problematics it raises. A first preliminary version of this paper has been presented at the X Annual “Historical Materialism Conference”, November 7-10th, 2013, SOAS, London.


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