Cognitive-cultural economy  

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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 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 advanced capitalist countries, a 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 revived 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 underpinned an enormous expansion of the technology-intensive, service, financial, craft, and cultural industries that became the heart of the cognitive-cultural economy.

See also

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