Cognitive-cultural economy

Cognitive-cultural economy

Cognitive-cultural economy (or cognitive-cultural capitalism) is represented by sectors such as high-technology industry, business and financial services, personal services, the media, the cultural industries and so on. It is characterized by digital technologies combined with high levels of cognitive and cultural labor. Alternative designations include "post-Fordism," "cognitive capitalism," the "knowledge economy," the "new economy," and so on. The cognitive-cultural economy is concentrated above all in major world cities such as New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul, etc.

As fordist mass production began to wane after the mid to late 1970s in the advanced capitalist countries, a new more flexible system of productive activity began to take its place. Empirical studies of this new system were published in the 1980s on the basis of case-study materials focused mainly on high-technology industrial districts in the United States (Silicon Valley, Orange County, Boston's Route 128, etc., - see Saxenian) and revivified craft industries in the north-east and center of Italy (the so-called Third Italy - see Bagnasco, Becattini,Garofoli). Over the next two decades, considerable empirical and theoretical advances were made on these issues. An important contribution to the debate involved the publication of "The New Division of Labor" by Levy and Murnane in 2004. Levy and Murnane do not mention the "cognitive-cultural economy" but their work is important because it highlights the replacement of standardized machinery in the American production system by digital technologies that not only substitute for routine labor, but that also complement and enhance the intellectual and affective assets of the labor force. These technologies have underpinned an enormous expansion of the technology-intensive, service, financial, craft, and cultural industries that are at the heart of the cognitive-cultural economy today.


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3. Scott, A. J. 2008. Social Economy of the Metropolis: Cognitive-Cultural Capitalism and the Global Resurgence of Cities. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

4. Amin, A., ed. 1994. Post-Fordism: A Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.

5. Bagnasco, A. 1977. Tre Italie: la Problematica Territoriale dello Sviluppo Italiano. Bolgna: Il Mulino.

6. Becattini, G., ed. 1987. Mercato e forze locali: il distretto industriale. Bologna: Il Mulino.

7. Cenzatti, M. 1993. Los Angeles and the L.A. School: Postmodernism and Urban Studies. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.

8. Garofoli, G. 1987. Il modello territoriale di sviluppo degli anni '70-'80. Note Economiche 1:156-176.

9. Hutton, T. A. 2008. The New Economy of the Inner City: Restructuring, Regeneration, and Dislocation in the Twenty-First Century Metropolis. London: Routledge.

10. Saxenian, A. L. 1983. The urban contradictions of Silicon Valley - regional growth and the restructuring of the semiconductor industry. International Journal of Urban And Regional Research 7 (2):237-262.

11. Scott, A. J. 2010. Cultural Economy and the Creative Field of the City. Geografiska Annaler, Series B - Human Geography.

12. Vercellone, C. 2005. The Hypothesis of Cognitive Capitalism, Working Paper Presented at Birkbeck College and SOAS, United Kingdom.[1]

13. Fumagalli, A. & Lucarelli, S. 2007. A model of Cognitive Capitalism: a preliminary analysis, European Journal of Economic and Social Systems, vol. 20, n. 1.[2]


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