Posts Tagged ‘labour’

Blog post – Colin Drake

After reading the introduction of the Consumer Society Reader, I’ve come to understand that almost, if not all of our day to day activities are being commodified in one way or another. Our choices on what we choose to purchase, where to purchase it, how much of it to purchase etc., in my opinion, have been influenced by some sort of direct or even subliminal type of advertising that is based on our fabricated ‘preferences’.  In the text, the authors mention that “advertisers have been successful because they have been able to embed valued meanings in products…the corporation both creates the want and satisfies it” ( Schor & Holt p. xi -xii).  Some of us associate with a certain brand because we like it, or because it holds some sort of meaning,  identity, status and/or moral value attached to it. Think of our cell phones. Some of us may prefer using an iPhone rather than a Blackberry for example.  Some of us might also be loyal to one brand more so than the other. Even on the internet, some of us may also have a preference in the type of social networking platforms we use. Some may choose Facebook, some may choose MySpace. One platform may seem ‘cooler’ or more efficient than the other because of the value or identity attached to it by its users.

In this digital age, many of us are using texting and social networking platforms to communicate with each other. Some of us may use Facebook to keep in touch with our friends. Since we are constantly updating our lives on Facebook, and texting our friends on a regular basis, most of us are unaware of the privacy and surveillance implications of these devices and platforms. As well, some of us may or may not know that the time we spend on these things producing information (a form of immaterial labour) is also being commodified through these devices and platforms as well. Our information is being bought and sold without us even knowing it. (Have you ever noticed the pop up ads on your Facebook page, or Gmail account and how they may relate, or seem similar to your ‘interests’, ‘preferences’ or ‘topic of conversation’ in an email?)

In my opinion it seems in this day and age, everything is becoming a commodity. Even our personal and digital information! In our capitalist society we have become convinced that the market itself is the source of all our needs, wants, desires and also the solution to all of our problems. If everything (even our information) has become a commodity in the marketplace, is our only agency in and through the market itself?