Five theses on the debt economy: A Review Essay on Maurizio Lazzarato

Karakilic, Emrah Ali (2017) Five theses on the debt economy: A Review Essay on Maurizio Lazzarato. Capital and Class, 41 (3). ISSN 0309-8168

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Maurizio Lazzarato is an independent researcher (sociologist, political philosopher and social theorist) and activist producing within and through the post-workerist (post-operaist) mode of Marxist thought since the 1990s. Notwithstanding the conceptual and political differences between the authors associated with the post-workerist movement (see Terranova 2014), a central thesis acts as the touchstone of a common base for post-workerism. It is upon this common base that Lazzarato also bases his argument. That is, the production of commodities and profit is inseparable from the ethico-political activity of producing the subject. ‘The central project of capitalist politics’, as Lazzarato (2004) puts it in Sign and Machines, ‘consists in the articulation of economic, technological, and social flows with the production of subjectivity’ (p. 8). In the books here under review, Lazzarato (2012) abstracts and analyses debt as the primary mechanism working precisely on forming such an articulation: ‘debt … combines work on the self and labour, in its classical sense, such that ethics and economics function conjointly’ (p. 11). This essay will review Lazzarato’s arguments, almost scattered as jigsaw puzzle pieces throughout the chapters, by categorising and approaching them under five key theses.

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Capital and Class
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14 Aug 2023 08:20
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18 Sep 2023 02:16