Capitalism, Technology and Work: Interrogating the Tipping Point Thesis


Thompson P (2020) Capitalism, Technology and Work: Interrogating the Tipping Point Thesis. Political Quarterly, 91 (2), pp. 299-309.

Post-work politics, with a focus on universal basic income, rather than an agenda of saving jobs and improving the quality of work, has been a growth area on the left. This article chal- lenges the views of proponents that their claims are ‘on trend’ with developments in markets and technology. It does so by examining two supposed ‘tipping points’ concerning crises in the production of value in capitalism and in the availability of and attachment to work. Through a rigorous examination of available evidence, the article demonstrates that the sto- ries contained in post-work discourses about business models, technologies, labour markets and workers are not empirically sustainable. Suggestions are then made about what more credible accounts of actually existing capital, technology and labour might look like, and what the direction of alternative, progressive policy agendas might be.

post-work; post-capitalism; automation; business models; financialisation; quality of work

Political Quarterly: Volume 91, Issue 2

Publication date30/06/2020
Publication date online04/12/2019
Date accepted by journal01/12/2019