Surveillance Capitalism, 7

Zuboff reminds the readers that “taking things that live outside the market sphere and declaring their new life as market commodities” is what capitalism has always done.

Capitalism constantly comes up with more things it can bring into the market sphere. The libertarian economist Tyler Cowan has a series of posts on his blog titled “Markets in Everything.” Bringing the logic of market exchange into everything is what capitalism does. We have learned to speak of our relationships and bodies as if they were commodities, for instance.

Surveillance capitalism wants to turn human nature into a commodity. And we all know that commodities aren’t allowed to just exist. They are always futzed with to make them more appealing to the consumer. And remember, we are no longer the consumer. We are the raw material that commodities will be fashioned from:

In this future we are exiles from our own behavior, denied access to or control over knowledge derived from its dispossession by others for others. Knowledge, authority, and power rest with surveillance capital, for which we are merely “human natural resources.” We are the native peoples now whose tacit claims to self-determination have vanished from the maps of our own experience.


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