ABSTRACT. This paper examines the conceptual relationship between the notion of assessment and the law of value. Framed within the theoretical context of the Grundrisse, it locates the crisis of the law of value in the transition between industrial and cognitive capitalism. In this context, universities are analyzed as the new frontier of accumulation, the feeding ground meant to perpetuate and conceal the crisis of the law of value and make up for the crisis of measurability of control. Looking at assessment as the very embodiment of the law of value, I argue that while the restructuring of education promises efficiency, productivity and excellence, assessment looks like a desperate attempt to sacrifice progress in the name of control, the ultimate manifestation of an ancient prophecy whereby “beyond a certain point, the development of the powers of production becomes a barrier for capital; hence the capital relation a barrier for the development of the productive powers of labor” (Marx, 1973: 749). pp. 142–166

Keywords: Grundrisse; assessment; accumulation; crowd-sourcing; neoliberal university; cognitive capitalism

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Cà Foscari University of Venice

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