Unproductive accumulation in the USA, 21 March – London

16th Mar 2018

Dr Tomas Rotta (University of Greenwich)

Unproductive accumulation in the USA: Knowledge, exploitation and income inequality

21 March 2018, 18:00-19:30

King’s College London, Strand Building, S-3.20 (basement)

Strand Campus, London WC2R 2LS


In this paper I offer an innovative analysis of unproductive accumulation in the US economy from 1947 to 2011. I develop a new theoretical and empirical framework to analyze the accumulation of capital in its productive and unproductive forms. I also develop a methodology to compute Marxist categories predicated on the idea that the production of knowledge and information is an unproductive activity that relies on the creation of knowledge-rents. In particular, I provide new empirical estimates to uncover the shifting balance between productive and unproductive forms of accumulation. The accumulation pattern observed during the 1947–79 phase that prioritized productive accumulation gave way after the 1980s to a contrasting pattern prioritizing unproductive accumulation. Unproductive activity has been growing at a fast pace in terms of incomes, fixed assets and employment. Among all forms of unproductive activity, my approach places special attention on how the production of knowledge and information has constituted a rising share of total unproductive income and capital stock. Additionally, productive stagnation and rapid unproductive accumulation have been related to greater exploitation of productive workers and to widening income inequality.

This talk is open to the public. No registration is required. Contact: Matt Vidal (mgvidal@gmail.com)


Also coming up:

Dr Alexander Loftus (King’s College London)

Gramsci as a historical geographical materialist


9 May 2018, 18:00-19:30

King’s College London, King’s Building, K2.31 Nash Lecture Theatre 

Strand Campus, London WC2R 2LS


Exposed to the vicissitudes of uneven geographical development from an early age, Antonio Gramsci was deeply sensitive to the profoundly unequal spatialities of capitalist processes, as well as to the influence of geography on political alliances, solidarities and common sense. It is therefore unsurprising that several scholars have, in recent years, noted Gramsci’s perceptiveness to the ways in which space, uneven development and geography matter. In this paper, I will explore Gramsci’s geographies a little further while also considering the surprising lack of dialogue between a spatialized Marxism – or what is sometimes termed a historical geographical materialism – and Gramsci’s philosophy of praxis.

This talk is open to the public. No registration is required. Contact: Matt Vidal (mgvidal@gmail.com

For past and future speakers in the seminar series, see https://www.kcl.ac.uk/marxist-theory-seminar/cmt.aspx