The logic of capitalism against capital

Recently, Congressional Republicans restored free reign to ISPs to sell consumers’ internet data. The free market logic underlying capitalism holds that individuals acquire property through their labor and that such property can be exchanged for money in proportion to its value on the market. Since user data has economic value, and since users create this value through the labor of their internet activity, then users should be considered to own this data, should have the right to sell it or not, and should be compensated for the economic value it creates for those who collect and re-sell their data. (The same logic can be applied to a range of human activity, such as the labor of biological and social reproduction primarily performed by women without compensation.)

And in another recent example of the discrepancy between the justification and application of capitalist ideology, Congressional Republicans restored the fossil fuel industry’s freedom to pollute the atmosphere at a rate that costs lives and dirties the air we all breathe. The free market logic holds that a commodity’s price includes its production costs. Those costs should be included in the market price. If it unprofitable to operate when those costs are included, it is not a worthwhile enterprise.


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