From Post-Work to Post-Capitalism?: Discussing the Basic Income and Struggles for Alternative Forms of Social Reproduction

Ana Cecilia Dinerstein, Frederick Harry Pitts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper contests the suggestion that the automation of production and the provision of a basic income potentiate the transition from a post-work to a postcapitalist society. This vista misses how, at one end, capitalist work is preconditioned by a historically-specific set of antagonistic social relations of constrained social reproduction, and, at the other, determined by the specific social forms its results assume in commodity exchange and the constituted form of the nation-state. The paper argues that the transitional demands of automation and a basic income may therefore serve to stem postcapitalist transformation, stopping short at a post-work society characterised by the continuation of capitalist social relations and forms. Retaining money, commodities and value under the rule of the nation-state, the proposed transition between post-work and postcapitalist society remains stuck at the level of an abstract utopia that breaks insufficiently with the present, in some ways making it worse by replacing a wage over which workers can lawfully bargain with a state-administered monetary payment that creates a direct relationship of power between citizen and state, liquidating labour struggles. The paper explores this via two case studies from the Global South: 1) the rise of the basic income as part of Nerendra Modi’s authoritarian nationalist policy platform in India; 2) the Unemployed Workers Organisations in Argentina. The latter suggests a ‘concrete utopian’ alternative that creates the capacity to reshape the relationship between individuals, society and the rule of money, value and the state rather than reinforce it, principally by devolving monetary and non-monetary resources and power rather than centralising them in the hands of an all-powerful ‘postcapitalist’ state. The paper concludes by considering how such an alternative could create space for struggle in, against and beyond capitalist development in other contexts in the Global North, such as the United Kingdom.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Labor and Society
Early online date25 Sep 2018
DOIs
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sep 2018

Fingerprint

basic income
capitalist society
automation
Social Relations
nation state
commodity
workers' organization
purchasing power
utopia
Argentina
wage
money
labor
India
citizen
worker
Society
present
resources
Values

Keywords

  • post capitalism
  • post work
  • Paul Mason
  • concrete utopia
  • social reproduction
  • value theory
  • the state
  • UBI
  • money
  • social form
  • alternatives
  • class struggle
  • labour
  • India
  • Argentina
  • Piqueteros
  • Movement of Unemployed Workers
  • Dinerstein
  • Srniceck and Williams
  • Bloch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

@article{202aae422d0141eb8a5e1a5ed5bc8942,
title = "From Post-Work to Post-Capitalism?: Discussing the Basic Income and Struggles for Alternative Forms of Social Reproduction",
abstract = "This paper contests the suggestion that the automation of production and the provision of a basic income potentiate the transition from a post-work to a postcapitalist society. This vista misses how, at one end, capitalist work is preconditioned by a historically-specific set of antagonistic social relations of constrained social reproduction, and, at the other, determined by the specific social forms its results assume in commodity exchange and the constituted form of the nation-state. The paper argues that the transitional demands of automation and a basic income may therefore serve to stem postcapitalist transformation, stopping short at a post-work society characterised by the continuation of capitalist social relations and forms. Retaining money, commodities and value under the rule of the nation-state, the proposed transition between post-work and postcapitalist society remains stuck at the level of an abstract utopia that breaks insufficiently with the present, in some ways making it worse by replacing a wage over which workers can lawfully bargain with a state-administered monetary payment that creates a direct relationship of power between citizen and state, liquidating labour struggles. The paper explores this via two case studies from the Global South: 1) the rise of the basic income as part of Nerendra Modi’s authoritarian nationalist policy platform in India; 2) the Unemployed Workers Organisations in Argentina. The latter suggests a ‘concrete utopian’ alternative that creates the capacity to reshape the relationship between individuals, society and the rule of money, value and the state rather than reinforce it, principally by devolving monetary and non-monetary resources and power rather than centralising them in the hands of an all-powerful ‘postcapitalist’ state. The paper concludes by considering how such an alternative could create space for struggle in, against and beyond capitalist development in other contexts in the Global North, such as the United Kingdom.",
keywords = "post capitalism, post work, Paul Mason, concrete utopia, social reproduction, value theory, the state, UBI, money, social form, alternatives, class struggle, labour, India, Argentina, Piqueteros, Movement of Unemployed Workers, Dinerstein, Srniceck and Williams, Bloch",
author = "Dinerstein, {Ana Cecilia} and Pitts, {Frederick Harry}",
note = "Ana Cecilia Dinerstein is Associate Professor in Political Sociology at the University of Bath, and author of The Politics of Autonomy in Latin America: The Art of Organising Hope (Palgrave 2015). Frederick Harry Pitts is a Lecturer in Management at the University of Bristol, and author of Critiquing Capitalism Today: New Ways to Read Marx (Palgrave 2017).",
year = "2018",
month = "9",
day = "25",
doi = "10.1111/wusa.12359",
language = "English",
pages = "1--21",
journal = "Journal of Labor and Society",
issn = "2471-4607",
publisher = "Wiley Online Library",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - From Post-Work to Post-Capitalism?

T2 - Journal of Labor and Society

AU - Dinerstein, Ana Cecilia

AU - Pitts, Frederick Harry

N1 - Ana Cecilia Dinerstein is Associate Professor in Political Sociology at the University of Bath, and author of The Politics of Autonomy in Latin America: The Art of Organising Hope (Palgrave 2015). Frederick Harry Pitts is a Lecturer in Management at the University of Bristol, and author of Critiquing Capitalism Today: New Ways to Read Marx (Palgrave 2017).

PY - 2018/9/25

Y1 - 2018/9/25

N2 - This paper contests the suggestion that the automation of production and the provision of a basic income potentiate the transition from a post-work to a postcapitalist society. This vista misses how, at one end, capitalist work is preconditioned by a historically-specific set of antagonistic social relations of constrained social reproduction, and, at the other, determined by the specific social forms its results assume in commodity exchange and the constituted form of the nation-state. The paper argues that the transitional demands of automation and a basic income may therefore serve to stem postcapitalist transformation, stopping short at a post-work society characterised by the continuation of capitalist social relations and forms. Retaining money, commodities and value under the rule of the nation-state, the proposed transition between post-work and postcapitalist society remains stuck at the level of an abstract utopia that breaks insufficiently with the present, in some ways making it worse by replacing a wage over which workers can lawfully bargain with a state-administered monetary payment that creates a direct relationship of power between citizen and state, liquidating labour struggles. The paper explores this via two case studies from the Global South: 1) the rise of the basic income as part of Nerendra Modi’s authoritarian nationalist policy platform in India; 2) the Unemployed Workers Organisations in Argentina. The latter suggests a ‘concrete utopian’ alternative that creates the capacity to reshape the relationship between individuals, society and the rule of money, value and the state rather than reinforce it, principally by devolving monetary and non-monetary resources and power rather than centralising them in the hands of an all-powerful ‘postcapitalist’ state. The paper concludes by considering how such an alternative could create space for struggle in, against and beyond capitalist development in other contexts in the Global North, such as the United Kingdom.

AB - This paper contests the suggestion that the automation of production and the provision of a basic income potentiate the transition from a post-work to a postcapitalist society. This vista misses how, at one end, capitalist work is preconditioned by a historically-specific set of antagonistic social relations of constrained social reproduction, and, at the other, determined by the specific social forms its results assume in commodity exchange and the constituted form of the nation-state. The paper argues that the transitional demands of automation and a basic income may therefore serve to stem postcapitalist transformation, stopping short at a post-work society characterised by the continuation of capitalist social relations and forms. Retaining money, commodities and value under the rule of the nation-state, the proposed transition between post-work and postcapitalist society remains stuck at the level of an abstract utopia that breaks insufficiently with the present, in some ways making it worse by replacing a wage over which workers can lawfully bargain with a state-administered monetary payment that creates a direct relationship of power between citizen and state, liquidating labour struggles. The paper explores this via two case studies from the Global South: 1) the rise of the basic income as part of Nerendra Modi’s authoritarian nationalist policy platform in India; 2) the Unemployed Workers Organisations in Argentina. The latter suggests a ‘concrete utopian’ alternative that creates the capacity to reshape the relationship between individuals, society and the rule of money, value and the state rather than reinforce it, principally by devolving monetary and non-monetary resources and power rather than centralising them in the hands of an all-powerful ‘postcapitalist’ state. The paper concludes by considering how such an alternative could create space for struggle in, against and beyond capitalist development in other contexts in the Global North, such as the United Kingdom.

KW - post capitalism

KW - post work

KW - Paul Mason

KW - concrete utopia

KW - social reproduction

KW - value theory

KW - the state

KW - UBI

KW - money

KW - social form

KW - alternatives

KW - class struggle

KW - labour

KW - India

KW - Argentina

KW - Piqueteros

KW - Movement of Unemployed Workers

KW - Dinerstein

KW - Srniceck and Williams

KW - Bloch

U2 - 10.1111/wusa.12359

DO - 10.1111/wusa.12359

M3 - Article

SP - 1

EP - 21

JO - Journal of Labor and Society

JF - Journal of Labor and Society

SN - 2471-4607

ER -