Value in Informational Capitalism and on the Internet
Adam Arvidsson and Elanor Colleoni
We engage with recent applications of the Marxist 'labor theory of value' to online prosumer practices, and offer an alternative framework for theorizing value creation in such practices. We argue that the labor theory of value is difficult to apply to online prosumer practices for two reasons. One, value creation in such practices is poorly related to time. Two, the realization of the value accumulated by social media companies generally occurs in financial markets, rather than in direct commodity exchange. In an alternative framework, we offer an understanding of value creation as based primarily on the capacity to initiate and sustain webs of affective relations, and value realization as linked to a reputation based financial economy. We argue that this model describes the process of value creation and appropriation in the context of online prosumer platforms better than an approach based on the Marxist labor theory of value. We also suggest that our approach can cast new light on value creation within informational capitalism in general.
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