We live in a time of transition, argues Yann Moulier Boutang. But the irony is that this is not a transition to a new type of society called ‘socialism’, as many on the Left had assumed; rather, it is a transition to a new type of capitalism. Socialism has been left behind by a new revolution in our midst. ‘Globalization’ effectively corresponds to the emergence, since 1975, of a third kind of capitalism. It does not have much to do with the industrial capitalism which, at the point of its birth (1750-1820), broke with earlier forms of mercantile capitalism. The aim of this book is to describe and explain the characteristics of this third age of capitalism.
Boutang coins the term ‘cognitive capitalism’ to describe this new form of capitalism. While this notion remains a working hypothesis, it already provides some basic orientations and anchor points which are indispensible for political action. The political economy which was born with Adam Smith no longer offers us the possibility of understanding the reality which is being constructed before our eyes — namely the value, wealth and complexity of the world economic system — and it also does not enable us to deal with the challenges that await humanity, whether ecological or social. This book thus seeks to put us onto the path of a provisional politics and morality capable of dealing with this new Great Transformation.
Preface to the English edition Introduction Chapter I The New Frontiers of Political Economy Chapter II What cognitive capitalism is not Chapter III What is cognitive capitalism?
Chapter IV New capitalism, new contradictions Chapter V The question of social classes and the composition of cognitive capitalism Chapter VI Macroeconomic dynamics: going beyond the critique of neoliberalism and financialisation Chapter VII Envoi: A Manifesto for the Pollen Society Chapter VIII Does the financial crisis sound the knell of a capitalism cognitive that is stillborn?