[iDC] Class and the Internet, New Capitalism, and (True New) Socialism for the 21st Century

Christian Fuchs christian.fuchs at sbg.ac.at
Sun Jun 21 20:46:46 UTC 2009

dear saul,

for me appropriation is one element of class: 1. a relation is 
established in which one group or more groups are forced to produce in 
order to survive and wealth is generated through this production, 2. 
conditions are created that secure a privileged access to resources for 
certain groups and exclude others from this access, 3. appropriation: 
the produced goods are appropriated by the privileged group that 
controls the privileged access to resources and expropriates the 
producers of these resources. all three elements can be found in marx's 
notions of class and surplus value and exploitation requires all three 

class is also an international phenomenon, especially concerning the 
overexploitation of labour in developing countries. i agree with you 
that concerning the global "digital divide" and the "digital divide" in 
general, it would be a mistake to reduce this issue to class. class is 
one dimension of inequality besides several others of this divide. of 
course you can discuss which weight each of these elements carries. the 
digital divide is mainly in issue of exclusion, not exploitation, that 
is indirectly structured by issues of class. so we cannot explain all 
problems with the concept of class, but my claim is that all problems of 
contemporary society have an aspect of class, which makes it a very 
important mechanism, but class relations are not all-determining 
structuring structures, only important elements within a complex field 
of forces of inequality of capitalism that all interact.

one should also not overvalue internet usage and other "information 
society" issues. this is one aspect of many of global society, and as 
you say most people are excluded from it or it is not important for 
them. we do not live in an "information society", informatization is 
just one of many levels of global capitalism. class is an issue that not 
only concerns the internet, it is a much larger issue. there is no 
outside to capital today, capital is everywhere. so there are numerous 
producation processes in developing countries that are directly and 
indirectly exploited by capital. indirectly the commons of these people 
are exploited in numerous ways.

best, christian

the poverty of one group depends on the wealth of others, 2. one or more 

Saul Ostrow schrieb:
> Christian
> I need two points of clarification from you – so as to continue this 
> exchange – seemingly you make no differentiation between exploitation 
> and appropriation can you explain to me how this advances your notion 
> of class
> And secondly can you give me your view on class as an international 
> phenomena in the context that only 12-15 percent of the world is wired 
> – I ask this only because it is my understanding that the the 
> condition of the middle classes should never be taken as norm and that 
> wage labor is the norm for the majority of the worlds peoples and as 
> you must know from classic Marxist theroies of class – the super 
> profits taken from imperialist exploitation are used to bribe the 
> middle classes

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