Cyborg Economy: When Proletariat and Capitalist Fuse

One of the main features of economies over the last four or five centuries has been the separation between labor and capital. That is – because of technological conditions – the means of production had to be separate from the ownership of production.

It may help to read Marx’s Capital and Smith’s Wealth of Nations for deeper understandings of the ramifying influences of capitalism on the world (new conceptions of time, impacts on culture and class, etc.). But what matters most is to understand the key role of the separation of means of production from its ownership.

That separation has always created conflict: labor seeks better wages, hours, conditions; capital seeks lower wages, longer hours, cheaper conditions and more capital.

Until now, technology has been the primary agent in creating and enforcing this fundamental dichotomy. If a printing press cost too much for a writer to own and run, she had to rely on a capitalist to supply the ability to publish.

Now, the Web and cheapening technologies open the possibility of the proletariat and the capitalist to ‘fuse’ – that is, it’s now possible to use *and* own production.

It’s becoming more of a reality that workers (labor) can fund their own endeavors (capital).

You can see this fusion as the emergence of a new kind of cyborg, an economic one – let’s call it the Prolecapatarian.

The proletarian can now embed/extend capitalist features into her presence in the economy. Same thing for the capitalist.

But what’s the effect of these new economic cyborgs? Specifically, what happens to the classic conflict between labor and capital? Does it become internalized?

Does the Prolecapatarian face internal conflict? What does that look like?

It’s something to think about, because those of us who live the 24/7 nomadic life have to contend with being both the user and owner of production.

How about you: do you think we’ll see the emergence of this new kind of economic being? Or do you think we’re in a transition period and that eventually we’ll be back to the schism between labor and capital and the emergence of wholly larger concentrations of capital accumulation and labor surplus?

Are you a Prolecapatarian?

@PhilBaumann

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