A brief response to Chris Land’s and Steffen Bohm’s Short Essay: “They are exploiting us! Why we all work for Facebbok for free”
The gist of the essay is the following hypothesis: The users of Facebook produce value in the same way as wage workers produce it. Hence, Facebook exploits users by expropriating this value.
Although I have a great respect for Land’s and Bohm’s good intentions and sympathize with their anti Facebook sentiments their claim that Facebook exploits users by extracting value from them is wrong.
Facebook definitely exploits someone. But whom? The answer is: the total world wage labor which is exchanged with capital (variable capital), including its own workers. This is Marx’s definition of productive labor under capitalism. From the point of view of capital only the labor that produces value and surplus value is productive. Only, in this limited sense productive labor is equated with the wage labor, whether material or immaterial, which is exchanged with capital. Otherwise, all labor as far as it is a purposeful activity is productive, because it produces something, whether material or immaterial.