A crisis of measurability? Critiquing post-operaismo on labour, value and the basic income

Frederick Pitts

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This article critiques postoperaist conceptualisations of immaterial labour from the perspective of Marxian value-form theory. Critiquing the idea of the ‘crisis of measurability’ created by immaterial labour and the contention that this makes redundant the law of value, it contests the novelty, immediate abstractness and immeasurable productivity postoperaists attribute to contemporary labour using the New Reading of Marx. The first part explores this theoretical conflict, asserting that post-operaismo refutes Marx’s value theory only insofar as it holds a productivist understanding of value to begin with. The second reflects upon the political implications through a consideration of the postoperaist advocacy of a universal basic income (UBI). Appeals to reward, recompense and redistribution rest upon the veracity of the claims made in the post-operaist treatment of labour, value and their immateriality and immeasurability. A value-form analysis exposes flaws in the assumptions about value and labour that support their case for a UBI.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCapital and Class
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2016


  • Marx
  • critical management studies
  • Immaterial labour
  • Marxism
  • Labour
  • Capitalism
  • Work
  • post work
  • post capitalism
  • Postoperaismo
  • Antonio Negri
  • New Reading of Marx
  • Sociology of Work
  • Critical Theory
  • Michael Heinrich
  • Werner Bonefeld
  • abstract labour
  • Measurement
  • crisis
  • Political Economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Philosophy


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