Digital Labour and Karl Marx by Christian FuchsHow is labour changing in the age of computers, the Internet, and social media such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter? In Digital Labour and Karl Marx, Christian Fuchs attempts to answer that question, crafting a systematic critical theorisation of labour as performed in the capitalist ICT industry. Relying on a range of global case studies--from unpaid social media prosumers or Chinese hardware assemblers at Foxconn to miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo--Fuchs sheds light on the labour costs of digital media, examining the way ICT corporations exploit human labour and the impact of this exploitation on the lives, bodies, and minds of workers.
What is digital labour in communicative capitalism?
Reconsidering Value and Labour in the Digital Age
Routledge, New York and Abingdon, His PhD focuses on the …. Fuchs has written a rigorous, passionate, and deeply humane book. It starts with a vivid account by an enslaved miner in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo 1 ofhis painful existence of forced labour in terrible conditions under gunpoint. The reason for this is cassiterite, one of many types of minerals that are used for the production of digital technology. Following this account come quotes from a Chinese worker at Foxconn Shenzhen manufacturer of Apple products , a Cambodian ICT information and communications technology worker in Silicon Valley, a project manager in the Indian software industry, and a software engineer working for Google — all telling either of long hours, precarious work, or exploitation. Fuchs aims to demonstrate the horrible conditions of the international division of digital labour IDDL and he does so with fervour.
But the first decade of the twenty-first century has seen a renewed interest surely due in part to the manifest capacities of electronic networks and biotechnologies to alter the cognitive and corporeal attributes of the human. - Fuchs, Christian.
Across the 20 th century, the spread of information and communication technologies had huge implications for the development of capitalism and labour relations, especially from the s onward, with the trend toward the computerization of the workplace. While all this is already well-known, the subsequent rise of pervasive interconnected networks the Internet brought forth two seemingly new forms of labour, entirely mediated through digital platforms, which came to be designated as digital labour. It refers to the ordinary spontaneous activities and social interactions that are mediated through digital platforms and which generate data. Indeed, certain capitalist platforms whether meant for blogging, tweeting, posting pictures or videos, professional networking, etc. If we acknowledge that value does not pop up from nowhere but has to derive from labour — a keystone of the Marxian critique of political economy —, then someone who produces data, even accidentally or without knowing it, while relating with friends or using any connected device, must literally be considered to be working and exploited. When the notion was coined in and 2 , global digital outsourcing was already a decade old but the fast-pace growth of digital platforms directly affecting the larger public was fairly recent.
In this chapter, I discuss some of the foundations for a digital labour theory of value, namely the concepts of time Section 2 , productive labour Section 3 , rent Section 4 and fetishism Section 5. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content. Advertisement Hide.
Digital Labour and Karl Marx. New York: Routledge. ISBN In Digital Labour and Karl Marx, Christian Fuchs attempts to answer that question, crafting a systematic critical theorisation of labour as performed in the capitalist ICT industry. The book Digital Labour and Karl Marx shows that labour, class and exploitation are not concepts of the past, but are at the heart of computing and the Internet in capitalist society.