Digital Capital Reading Group

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= UK academic reading group that met in the fall-winter of 2012


"The influence of Karl Marx’s writing on twentieth century critical thought is plain to see. Defined, in Fredric Jameson’s terms, as “the science of the inherent contradictions of capitalism” Marxism provides us with a wide ranging framework for the analysis of political economy and its cultural manifestations. But today, the story goes, we live in an era when the form of capitalism Marx examines, rooted as it is in an industrial mode of production, is in the process of being supplanted by a new, informatic mode. Whether we define this current stage as post Fordist, networked,communicative or neoliberal, it is clear that questions around its relative novelty or continuity with‘classical’ forms of capitalist political economy have seen several contemporary thinkers return toMarx with fresh eyes.

This reading group will read excerpts from a range of Marx’s economic, philosophical and political works alongside examples drawn from contemporary critical writing in order to think through the key terms for a critique of political economy that is rooted in the digital present but which recognises the ongoing need to refigure and reformulate a Marx for our times." (


Capital after Capital

  1. Karl Marx, The ‘Fragment on Machines’, in the Grundrisse. [1]
  2. Paolo Virno, ‘Ten Theses on the Multitude and Post-­‐Fordist Capitalism’, in Grammar of the Multitude. [2]

Wages and Labour Time

Karl Marx, Capital volume 1, chapters 19-­‐22. Readings here: Ch 19 - Ch 20 - Ch 21 - Ch 22

  • Matteo Pasquinelli, ‘Google’s PageRank Algorithm: A Diagram of the Cognitive Capitalism and the Rentier of the Common Intellect’. Reading Here

Forms of Life and Biocapital

  • Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (excerpts – sections on ‘Estranged Labour' p322 , ‘The Relationship of Private Property p334’, ‘Private Property and Labour' p.341, ‘Private Property and Communism p.345’ Page numbers are from the Penguin edition of Marx Early Writings, PDF version Here
  • Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Biocapital: The Constitution of Postgenomic Life Chapter 3, plus coda. PDF version [3]


  • Karl Marx, Capital volume 1, chapters 31-­‐33
  1. Ch. 31: Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist
  2. Ch. 32: Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation
  3. Ch. 33: The Modern Theory of Colonisation

  • Susan Buck-­‐Morss, ‘Envisioning Capital: Political Economy on Display’, in Critical Inquiry 21:2 (Winter 1995). PDF [4]


KM and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto Here

McKenzie Wark, A Hacker Manifesto (Chapters 1 & 2: Abstraction and Class pp1-19) Here

Dmytri Kleiner, The Telekommunist Manifesto (The Client-Server Capitalist State & Manifesto of Telekommunisten Network pp8-28) Here