The $100bn Facebook question: Will capitalism survive 'value abundance'?
Chiang Mai, Thailand - Does Facebook exploit its users? And where is the $100bn in the company's estimated value coming from? This is not a new debate. It resurfaces regularly in the blogosphere and academic circles, ever since Tiziana Terranova coined the term "Free Labour" to indicate a new form of capitalist exploitation of unpaid labour - firstly referring to the viewers of classic broadcast media, and now to the new generation of social media participants on sites such as Facebook. The argument can be summarised very succinctly by the catch phrase: "If it's free, then you are the product being sold." This term was recently relaunched in an article by University of Essex academics Christopher Land and Steffen Böhm, entitled "They are exploiting us! This line of argument is misleading, however, because it conflates two types of value creation that were already recognised as distinct by 18th century political economists. Engineering scarcity But this is no longer happening.
Related: Hyperglobalization and Finance Capitalism