Barbrook, R. (2000). Cyber-communism: how the Americans are superseding capitalism in cyberspace. Science as Culture, 9(1), 5-40.
The American openness and spontaneity which led to the development of the internet could not have occurred in the totalitarian Soviet Union. Now, the same forces which allowed the internet to develop are injecting capitalist ideals. Barbrook writes, “the Tofflers have long been convinced that the convergence of computing, telecommunications and the media would free individuals from the clutches of both big business and big government” (6). However, despite the fact that “among the cyber-feminists, communication guerrillas, techno-nomads and digital anarchists, there is no new version of the once dominant current of the Stalinist communism” (6), the new internet is not a technology which enables the kind of intellectual equality Dyer-Witheford mentions in his book. Instead, the gap between the rich and poor is widening due. “In contrast with the European and East Asian forms of capitalism, American neo-liberalism can successfully combine economic progress with social immobility” (7). (Great job, us!)
Dyer-Witheford, N. (2001). Empire, immaterial labor, the new combinations, and the global worker. Rethinking Marxism, 13(3-4), 70-80.
As defined by Negri, Hardt, and Lazaratto, “immaterial labor” is not a term reserved for a select group of workers, but instead a generalized form of labor-power, and in those theorists’ words, a “massified quality of the laboring intelligentsia, of cyborgs and hackers” (72). Though technological competency exists explicitly among “qualified” workers, these skills also exist in “virtual” form among unemployed labors. These competencies for the prerequisites of everyday high-tech life. These theorists subsume the concepts of “immaterial labor” and “general intellect” with Foucault’s “biopower” and use the concept of “biopolitical production,” the idea that the object of capitalist appropriation is life itself.
Dyer-Witheford, N. (2005). Cognitive capitalism and the contested campus. European Journal of Higher Education,(2), Accessed, 15.
“Academia Inc.”, aka “Corporate U” as Dyer-Witheford puts it, is an accomplished fact. Academic institutions have been forced to become institutions conceived and funded by policy elites. While efforts within universities have been struggles against marketization, it is in fact the very capitalistic forces within Academia that allow new technologies (which allow for the concepts of “general intellect,” “immaterial labor,” “biopower,” and “multitude” to continue to exist. Essentially, Academia has enabled an organic trend towards technological capitalism. As he wrote in his book, Dyer-Witheford references “a time when wealth will come to depend not on direct expenditure of labour time but on the ‘development of general powers of the human head’,” i.e. ideas (72). The university has become the ground where ideas which enable new capitalism can incubate.
Petersen, S. M. (2008). Loser generated content: From participation to exploitation. First Monday, 13(3).
While the internet does allow for a space where democracy, participation, creativity, and even piracy are fostered, it is clear that companies have subverted these expressions for capital. Essentially, the architecture of participation is the architecture of exploitation. As users participate in the free exchange of ideas and content, companies exploit these ideas and content to then capitalize on Web 2.0 technologies. Corporations are excellent at reterritorializing online practices.
Renault, C. S. (2006). Academic capitalism and university incentives for faculty entrepreneurship. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 31(2), 227-239.
Ritzer, G., & Jurgenson, N. (2010). Production, Consumption, Prosumption The nature of capitalism in the age of the digital ëprosumerí. Journal of Consumer Culture, 10(1), 13-36.
This article premises that capitalist economies have always been dominated by prosumption, an economic function involving both production and consumption rather than focusing on exclusively one or the other. The emergence of Web 2.0 in very recent years has simply brought this type of consumption into economic centrality. From the industrial age (and the time of Marx) until the mid-twentieth century, production was at the center of the Western world’s economy. However, that declined with the decline of American production in the 1950s and 1960s. The article cites many examples of how consumers are now becoming part of the production process, such as using electronic kiosks to buy tickets, checking their glucose and blood pressure at home, and being part of Reality TV. Additionally, websites prominently feature prosumer contributions such as reviews or articles.