Recognition and Demystification of Commodified, Fetishized Being-in-the-World
In my paper, I will present the following arguments. Privatization of the Internet allowed capital to industrialize the production of being-in-the-world and to make internetworked being-in-the-world another by-product of capitalist social relations of production. Today, capital enjoys legal rights of ownership over the means of producing and distributing internetworked being-in-the-world. For this, capital turns the machinofacture of internetworked social being into the direct commodity production of internetworked being-in-the-world. That is to say, before capital agrees to machinofacture consumers of internetworked being-in-the-world, capital requires that consumers of internetworked being-in-the-world be passed through the crucible exchange. Bearing this in mind, we might easily conclude that the most overlooked aspect of internetworked being-in-the-world is its fetishistic character. When consumers of machinofactured being-in-the-world purchase access to their machinofactured selves, they make no attempt to penetrate the mystical veil of the commodified self, which now appears to us for what it is: another by-product of industrial "relations between people" that "takes on the character of a thing"; that "acquires" a "strictly rational," "all-embracing" "autonomy," or a "phantom objectivity"; that conceals all traces of its "fundamental nature," namely, its origins in the social relations of industrial production (Marx, Lukács). Bearing this in mind, we might also conclude that the correct response to widespread production and consumption of the commodified form of internetworked being-in-the-world would be to bring Marxist analysis to bear on the matter of internetworked being-in-the-world for the purpose of demystifying every internetworked person's fetishistic, thoroughly mystified relationship with the machinofactured, internetworked, commodified self.
Keywords: Marxism, Commodity, Internet, Internetworked Being-in-the-World, Fetish, Phantom Objectivity, Demystification
Professor, English Department, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth