I recently read a compelling article, The End of Capitalism Has Begun, that spoke of the transition to a post-capitalist reality that was already well under way thanks to the Information Technology revolution.
It has echoes for me to a time a little more than a decade ago when there was great talk that society needed to accept that a change was under way moving us from a production-based system to an idea-based system, where the next wave of innovators were going to be those who could package and sell ideas rather than tangible products.
We saw the beginnings of this with the dot com boom, and eventual bust thanks to the speculative market.
Innovation has always be borne in ideas, but had always been backed in the end by tangible products. The Internet removed that part of the equation, thus opening a whole new avenue for wealth to perpetuate itself out of thin air. That ultimately failed, of course, when the bubble burst. Silicon Valley VCs backed away from the whole mess, and rightfully so, but only for a while. Companies such as Facebook show that creating wealth out of thin air was still all the rage, but now didn't come from just ideas but also information. Your information, to be precise.
The problem we face now, in light of Orwellian surveillance and police oppression, is that capitalism is putting this information first and foremost, almost with a rabid fervency with more and more companies coming to market with more and more nefarious, proprietary ways to profit off of this information, our information before handing it over to any host of agencies who will do who knows what with it.
We can do what we can to try and protect ourselves, but day after day there is more force being applied to eradicate our privacy and our ability to secure our own data.
If Information Technology really will be the way to post-capitalism, we desperately need to find a way to stop capitalism from taking over the very nature or IT. Or else.