Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Betancourt, Michael
Year of Publication: 
Anything that can be automated, will be. The "magic" that digital technology has brought us - self-driving cars, Bitcoin, high frequency trading, internet of things, social networking, mass surveillance, the 2009 housing bubble - has not been considered ideologically. The Critique of Digital Capitalism identifies how digital technology has captured contemporary society in a reification of capitalist priorities. The theory proposed in this book is the description of how digital capitalism as an ideologically "invisible" framework is realized in technology. Written as a series of articles between 2003 and 2015, it provides a broad critical scope for understanding the inherent demands of capitalist protocols for expansion without constraint (regardless of social, legal or ethical limits) that are increasingly being realized as autonomous systems no longer dependent on human labor or oversight and implemented without social discussion of their impacts. The digital illusion of infinite resources, infinite production, and no costs appears as an "end to scarcity," whereby digital production supposedly eliminates costs and makes everything equally available to everyone. This fantasy of production without consumption hides the physical costs and real-world impacts of these technologies. The critique introduced in this book develops from basic questions about how digital technologies directly change the structure of society: why is "Digital Rights Management" not only the dominant "solution" for distributing digital information, but also the only option being considered? During the burst of the "Housing Bubble" in 2009, why were the immaterial commodities being traded of primary concern, but the actual physical assets and the impacts on the people living in them generally ignored? How do surveillance (pervasive monitoring) and agnotology coincide as mutually reinforcing technologies of control and restraint? If technology makes the assumptions of its society manifest as instrumentality - then what ideology is being realized as the digital computer? This final question animates the critical framework this analysis proposes.
commodities trading
digital capitalism
digital rights management
Marxist critique
new media
political philosophy
virtual currency
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Creative Commons License:
Document Type: 
Document Version: 
Published Version
Appears in Collections:

Files in This Item:

Items in EconStor are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.