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 (Academic Journal)peer-review

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This article 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 -mainly represented by the work of Paul Mason and Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams misses how capitalist work is both preconditioned by a historically-specific set of antagonistic social relations of constrained social reproduction, and, determined by the specific social forms its results assume in commodity exchange and the constituted form of the nation-state. We argue that the transitional demands of automation and a basic income may serve to stem postcapitalist transformation, stopping short at a post-work society characterized by the continuation of capitalist social relations and forms. Retaining money under the rule of the nation-state, the proposed transition between post-work and postcapitalist society 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 labor struggles. We show how the Unemployed Workers Organizations in Argentina offer a ‘concrete utopian’ alternative that creates the capacity to reshape the relationship between individuals, society and the rule of money, value and the capitalist state rather than reinforce it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-491
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Labor and Society
Issue number4
Early online date25 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2018

Structured keywords

  • Digital Societies


  • Basic income
  • Automation
  • Postcapitalism
  • Post-work
  • Future of Work
  • Work
  • Labour
  • Marx
  • Social reproduction
  • Value
  • State
  • Money

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