Bifo on the Refusal of Work

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search


(reading notes from Michel Bauwens, 2003)


It is the refusal of work that is one of the fundamental drives of civilization, since it is the intelligence that replaces labor with machines.

Bifo recognizes three types of 'worker-producers', i.e. the sage, the warrior, the merchant:

  • The age produces socially useful knowledge and increases human freedom, but the warrior (ex: the Manhattan project) and the merchant (cognitive capitalism) want to transform knowledge into their power, and thus need to subdue or seduce the sage:

"Neither the warrior nor the merchant can decide the direction of the human race. Only the sage can establish it. Only human knowledge, following its own rules, its priorities and lines of possibility has the right to redefine the rules of production and exchange ... Only a movement of researchers, a high-tech movement of the cognitariat, that is autonomously organized an stop the dictatorship of financial corporations ... We have to reclaim the autonomy of the brain from profit."

"The attempt at the coercitive privatisation of collective knowledge has encountered resistance everywhere. Since intellectual labor is at the center of the productive scene, the merchant no longer possesses the juridical means to impose the principle of private property. When immaterial goods can be reproduced at will, the private appropriation of goods makes no sense. In the sphere of semiotic capital and cognitive labor, when a product is consumed, instead of disappearing, it remains available, while its value increases the more it is shared.

The fall of the dotcom economy was also the failure of the alliance of the merchant and the sage. The fail of the stock market in April 2000 was the beginning of a political crisis in the relation between capital and cognitive labor. This has led to a depression within, since the ensuing reaction limited freedom and experimentation, and led the foundation for the creation of a war economy. But war redefines everything and may lead to an awakening of the cognitariant, a process of self-organization and a demand for the autonomy of the sage."

Source: Neuro magazine ? See possibly the book by Franco Berardi: The Soul at Work | The MIT Press