Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Common as a Mode of Production

By Carlo Vercellone. An excerpt:

"To the temptations of a naturalist approach it is necessary to oppose the theoretical and political need for a materialist approach to the Common, as it alone can, in our view, comprehend the reasons for its current popularity and organise its potential. According to this approach, the Common is always a social and political construct, whether it refers to a mode of organising or a set of criteria to ascribe the status of common goods to a set of resources, goods or services. The ontological foundation, determined historically, of the current position of the Common, cannot be ascribed to the intrinsic nature of goods, but to the ability of labour to self-organise, an ability that in contemporary capitalism relies on the potential autonomy of the cooperation of cognitive labour."

"For those who approach the Common in the singular, the Common is neither a predetermined set of goods, nor a third intruder between State and the market, but a general principle of organisation for society. As Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri claim (2012), the 'common' is not an object, a substance that precedes and transcends human existence; the common is a socially and historically determinate activity that continuously produces new institutions, and these are at the same time the conditions and the product of the 'common' itself. Compared to economic theories of common goods, this results in a double reversal in theoretical and methodological terms."

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