Cognitive Capitalism and Entrepreneurship

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Article: Yann Moulier-Boutang. Cognitive Capitalism and Entrepreneurship: Decline in industrial entrepreneurship and the rising of collective intelligence Conference on Capitalism and Entrepreneurship. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, September 28-29, 2007



"Entrepreneurship has always constituted a weak point in classic and neo-classic standard economics. Nevertheless, its main characteristics were progressively introduced in the economic analysis. Some essential staples of this acquisition, as well as the essential characteristics of “entrepreneurship” are briefly summed up form the captain of industry, to the creative manager of giant firms, from the “diffused fabric” of “the second industrial divide” to the Net Generation start-uppers. The paper examines how the shift to a third capitalism, what we call cognitive capitalism relying upon capture of positives externalities more and more produced, located, and acting outside the historical boundaries of the firm, for continuous innovation and production of different publics (audience) more than market of commodities, is modifying radically the nature of entrepreneurship. New models are emerging. To what extent these new post-industrial divides will become hegemonic new business models or remain marginal depend broadly on their relationship with the markets, State, property rights, new commons, ethical, civic and political values.

In this sense, the question of entrepreneurship in the digital era involves not only organizational (firm, cities, territories), institutional (regulation of class relations, work and employment issues) but the very constitutional questions of the crisis of the wage system of employment, the nature of a post-Beverigdean system of Welfare, the emergence of a post-Smithian division of labor and new approach of competencies, the shaping or horizontal authority and the role of collective intelligence in producing value. The lens of the “entrepreneurship” question lead us back to a plausible revival of a new political economy."