02. Multitudes 2 : May 2000

Multitudes : May

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MAJEURE : New Economics

1° Towards a renewal of political economy
Old concepts and theoretical innovation Capital and labour cannot explain alone the production of wealth. Since the 80’s, endogenous growth models and the evolutionist theory of technical change constitute a fundamental renewal inside the economic thought. Their attempt to explain the emergence of new forms of wealth, and new modes of producing, through the concepts of increasing returns, externalities, human capital and learning, is however of a shy sort.

2° From new economy to knowledge capital.
For theoricians of new economy, the growth in United States in relation with the wide diffusion of CINT gives up with some economic laws. But this growth has a black face : growing of poverty and of social dualisation lead to more cautious evaluation. Anyhow it can be kept from the debate about new economy that knowledge is the core of capitalism today.

3° The by-products revolution.
New financial assets, related to incertainty and insurance against it, have come up. Those by-products are copied on contracts linked with the trade of land products and incertainty of weather. Those products are useful against the risk of tough variations in rates, but also to drive production by demand, or drive savings towards middle class housing.

4° New economy and new regulation.
Looked at from the angle of social debt, it is the substratum of life in society itself that can be conceived as an externality. In the globalization process, the company becomes much more than the sector the effective locus of negotiation. For insecure workers the wage relation needs to be reconceived as an economic dependence. Among new social security rights to redefine, the right to get education during one’s entire lifetime is one of the most important.

5° From steel industry to New economy.
Having obtained guarantied income benefits since the 1967’s movements, former steel -workers from Loraine develop know-how and practices that the capital does not stop capturing. The “new economy” is not only about a technological revolution imposed from the top, carried out by young professionals with strong mobility, and limited to some “high tech” specific sectors.

6° The cognitive capitalism : a feeling of déjà vu?
In postfordism, knowledge appears as disembodied both from capital and labour, and is simultaneously presented as a fundamental resource and a product. This constitutes a paradigmatic shift inside capitalism, imposing a new theory of labour and of capital. This shy reveals the crisis in the theory of value, both the utility value theory of standard political economics, and the Marxian labour-value theory.

7° Social diversity in economic dynamics.
Wealth creation comes from invention, cooperation, scattering and imitation rather than from industrial organization said Tarde at the end of the XIXth century. For him, it was better to study the little associated inventions which create wealth in everyday life than the big inventions that generate crisis.


1° Freedom and necessity in Spinoza’s work: some alternatives.
Spinoza constitutes a shift in the history of materialism in his way to approach the opposition between necessity and freedom. Everything is necessary, nothing is contingent, and however Hegel is wrong when seeing in Spinoza’s necessarist murdering freedom. Freedom is breathing, from the powerful breath of innovation and transformation.

2° Time and politics in Spinoza’s work.
The imagination of time (representation of the future, memory of the past, that may generate hope or fear) is an auxiliary of power, in its permanent attempt to reproduce the obedience of the multitude. Thus, sovereignty is in keeping with the instability of a duration, it shows as a succession of opportunities : opportunities for the power to enslave the multitude, but also opportunities for the multitude to perform its vigilance.