Lecture by Maurizio Ferraris on The Internet: A Political Approach

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The Internet: A Political Approach

Maurizio Ferraris

Friday, November 1, 2019, 2:00 p.m.
Park 141, UB North Campus

Abstract: I will defend the view that the internet in particular and social media in general represent a form of realized communism -- that we are today living in a society which is closer to communism than any society that history has ever known. As Marx defined it, communism means: the workers have control over the means of production, there is no more alienation and division of labor, society is classless and stateless. All these characteristics are very common in many contemporary societies that believe themselves to be capitalist.

Think about it. We all have mobile phones, with which we create data (i.e. wealth). The data belongs to us, just like the car we use when we work for Uber: we are the owners of the means of production. Hence the end of alienation: the difference between working time and leisure time has vanished; we all do a large number of things all of the time instead of being forced to spend our days engaging in repetitive, monotonous tasks. The difference between intellectual work and manual labor is disappearing as more and more people in Western societies use their arms and legs to keep fit, and their fingers to work the keyboard. The bulk of physical work is done by machines and we all only have one job, that of living and consuming. Hence the populism that is taking hold in Europe and America. This is just the realization of that intermediate phase between bourgeois society and communism that Marx called the dictatorship of the proletariat.