Synopses & Reviews
The utopian promise of the internet, much talked about even a few years ago, has given way to the information highways brutal realities: coltan mines in the Congo, electronics factories in China, devastated neighborhoods in Detroit. In Cyber-Proletariat
, Nick Dyer-Witheford shows the dark side of the information revolution through an unsparing analysis of class power and computerization. He reveals how technology facilitates growing polarization between wealthy elites and precarious workers and how class dominates everything from expanding online surveillance to intensifying robotization. At the same time he looks at possibilities for information technology within radical movements, casting contemporary economic and social struggles in the blue glow of the computer screen.
Cyber-Proletariat brings Marxist analysis to bear on a range of modern informational technologies. The result is a book indispensable to social theorists and hacktivists alike and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how Silicon Valley shapes the way we live today.
“Nick Dyer-Witheford’s Cyber-Proletariat tracks the eddies and flows of the perfect storm that is contemporary capitalism. This panoramic work reveals the relentless force of material destruction and brutal violence concealed by the sleek surfaces of digital culture. Not without hope, Dyer-Witheford offers a clear-eyed reflection on the conditions facing the global proletariat in its struggle to win a better world.”
, Dyer-Witheford teases out the tensions between new communization and autonomist Marxist theories to portray the struggles of workers along the entire global capitalist commodity chain. An epic story, it is two parts the unending battle against capitalist cyber-vampires, and one part the Wizard of Oz- like alliance of ‘all who care for one another and for the world.’”
“Nick Dyer-Witheford follows up his now-classic Cyber-Marx with a synoptic view of the relationship between the poles of the contemporary global proletariat from the Turkish miners killed in a shaft collapse to the highly paid "hackers" in Silicon Valley. Cyber-Proletariat
is rich in empirical detail and has a wide theoretical horizon. You will find in these pages workers in Foxconn contemplating suicide cheek-by-jowl with the Gezi Park demonstrators protesting the enclosure of a public park to build a shopping mall. It is written with Dyer-Witherford's well-known eloquence and passion. Cyber-proletarians should thank him for writing it and get it.”
With the radical changes in information production that the Internet has introduced, we stand at an important moment of transition, says Yochai Benkler in this thought-provoking book. The phenomenon he describes as social production is reshaping markets, while at the same time offering new opportunities to enhance individual freedom, cultural diversity, political discourse, and justice. But these results are by no means inevitable: a systematic campaign to protect the entrenched industrial information economy of the last century threatens the promise of todays emerging networked information environment.
In this comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy, Benkler describes how patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production are changingand shows that the way information and knowledge are made available can either limit or enlarge the ways people can create and express themselves. He describes the range of legal and policy choices that confront us and maintains that there is much to be gainedor lostby the decisions we make today.
About the Author
Nick Dyer-Witheford is associate professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at University of Western Ontario. He is author of Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High-Technology Capitalism and co-author of Digital Play: The Interaction of Technology, Culture, and Marketing and Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games.
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