Foundation of a Marxist Theory of the Political Economy of Information

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* Foundation of a Marxist Theory of the Political Economy of Information: Trade Secrets and Intellectual Property, and the Production of Relative Surplus- Value and the Extraction of Rent-Tribute". By Jakob Rigi.



Jakob Rigi:

"These tow articles show that Marx theory of value explains adequately the political economy of information and social media. Rent which is a share of surplus value produced by the total social is the pillar of this [political economy. The second article with Robert Preay [which has been cited at least 29 times] demolishes Fuchs' quasi Marxist argument.

I think you are familiar with these articles, even if you are not familiar they are in print. You can read them and indeed must read them and take a critical stance against them before you take a stance on the state of Marxist theory on the political economy of information. The theory that I advocate is the dominant theory among orthodox Marxist economists, which includes prominent economists such as Duncan Foley and Michael Perelman. Fuchs and company are careless with regard to and indeed have no adequate grasp of Marx's theory of value." (email, July 2018)


Andrea Fumagalli:

"it's false that Negri and Hardts "the law of value does not govern contemporary “post-modern capitalism” , as written by Jacob, in this quote (and ohers")

"The hegemonic role of information in contemporary capitalism (Castells 2010/1996; Hardt and Negri 2000) has misled Negri and his associates to declare that the law of value does not govern contemporary “post-modern capitalism”. This claim is fundamentally wrong; the laws of value and surplus value remain the basic foundations of contemporary capitalism". (p. 910).

See for instance this quotation by Michel Hardt:

"But let me say some obvious things first. Our thesis on the crisis of the law of value is of course not a way to question that labor is today a source of value. The proposition at the beginning of the first volume of Capital is that the exchange value of every commodity is determined in some sense by the quantity of abstract labor that produces them. So the quantity of labor time that goes into making the commodity determines its exchange value. What is being questioned by this thesis on the crisis is not that labor is what produces value, it is rather that capital’s ability to quantify and measure labor’s contribution is in crisis. This is what I understand from this heterodox stream from the 1970s, including Negri, that the thesis on crisis that they posed was the thesis on the crisis of measure".


Michael Hardt, “The post-operaist approach: answers to Jan Sowa, “Three questions on autonomy and labour theory of value”, in Praktyka Teoretyczna, n. 2, Vol. 16, 2015, p. 168-69. [1]

More information

  • Article: Jakob Rigi and Robert Prey. Value, rent and the Political Economy of Social Media (2015, in Information Society,
  • Here is Jakob's 2015 article, a chapter to Reconsidering Value and Labour in the Digital Age, edited by Fuchs and Fisher:
    • The Demise of the Marxian Law of Value? A Critique of Michael Hardt

and Antonio Negri Jakob Rigi (

Articles on Value by the School of Cognitive Capitalism

  • C. Vercellone “From Formal Subsumption to General Intellect: Elements for a Marxist Reading of the Thesis of Cognitive Capitalism” , in Historical Materialism. Historical Materialism, Brill Academic Publishers, 2007, 15 (1), pp.13-36 [2]
  • A. Fumagalli, Twenty Thesis on contemporary capitalism (bio-cognitve capitalism), Angelaky, vol. 16, 2011 [3]
  • A. Fumagalli, “The concept of Subsumption of Labour to Capital. Towards the Life Subsumption in Bio-cognitive Capitalism”, in E. Fisher, C. Fuchs (eds), Reconsidering Value and Labor in the Digital Age, Palgrave, McMillan, Londra, 2015, pp. 224-245 (that's the same book in which there is Jacob's article)


  • A. Fumagalli, “Accumulation and Valorization of the Commonwealth: Some Introductory Notes”, in POJ ( Journal), Volume 2, Issue 2 , june 2017: [5]