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  • Karl Marx in the Age of Big Data Capitalism

    Christian Fuchs

    Chapter from the book: Chandler D. & Fuchs C. 2019. Digital Objects, Digital Subjects: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Capitalism, Labour and Politics in the Age of Big Data.


    This chapter asks: what is big data capitalism? How relevant is Marx’s theory for the analysis and critique of big data capitalism? Marx’s theory is, as opposed to often claimed, not dead, outdated or confined to the analysis of 19th-century society. Rather, it will remain topical and important as long as capitalism and class exist. Just like society itself develops dialectically, also Marx’s theory has developed over the years and is applicable to the reality of 21st-century society. This chapter situates big data capitalism in the context of the commodification of (almost) everything, the securitisation of society, and the rise of a surveillance-industrial Internet complex. It points out the special relevance of Marx’s analysis of communication(s) and technology for the analysis and critique of big data capitalism. It argues that a contradiction between digital labour and digital capital is at the heart of big data capitalism. In the realm of ideology, we today especially find nationalism as a form of political fetishism that is communicated online. The chapter concludes by pointing out potential alternatives to big data capitalism that entail convergent political movements for the commons and social democracy 2.0.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Fuchs, C. 2019. Karl Marx in the Age of Big Data Capitalism. In: Chandler D. & Fuchs C (eds.), Digital Objects, Digital Subjects. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book29.d

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on Jan. 29, 2019