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Bαρέα και ανθυγιεινά στα εργοστάσια του Facebook

Εργαζόμαστε όταν κάνουμε ένα tweet ή όταν ανεβάζουμε φωτογραφίες με γατάκια στο Facebook; Η απάντηση στο ερώτημα, υποστηρίζουν αρκετοί οικονομολόγοι, ίσως μας επιτρέψει να διαπιστώσουμε ποιοι θα είναι οι κυρίαρχοι της οικονομίας του κυβερνοχώρου στον 21ο αιώνα.

του Άρη Χατζηστεφάνου

Eάν ένα σχόλιο που κάνουμε στο Facebook βοηθά την εταιρεία να συγκεντρώσει πληροφορίες για εμάς, τις οποίες στη συνέχεια πουλά σε διαφημιστικές εταιρείες για να μας στέλνουν στοχευμένα διαφημιστικά μηνύματα, είναι προφανές ότι κάποιοι κερδίζουν χρήματα από μια δική μας δραστηριότητα.

Η παρατήρηση αυτή οδήγησε ορισμένους στο συμπέρασμα ότι το Facebook και άλλες πλατφόρμες, που καταγράφουν και επεξεργάζονται κάθε μας κίνηση… μας χρωστάνε πολλά μηνιάτικα από την «εργασία» που τους προσφέραμε.

Αυτό ήταν παραδείγματος χάριν το συμπέρασμα μια καλλιτεχνικής καμπάνιας με τίτλο «Wages for Facebook» («Μισθοί για το Facebook») που μας καλούσε να αντιμετωπίσουμε κάθε δραστηριότητά μας στο διαδίκτυο ως απλήρωτη εργασία. Στο «μανιφέστο» τους, το οποίο παρουσίαζαν σε εκθέσεις με τη μορφή ενός κειμένου που εμφανιζόταν σε ένα iPad, σημείωναν μεταξύ άλλων: «Το αποκαλούν φιλία. Εμείς το αποκαλούμε απλήρωτη εργασία. Με κάθε μας like και chat η υποκειμενικότητά μας δημιουργεί κέρδη τα οποία καρπώνονται αυτοί. Το αποκαλούν διαμοιρασμό, εμείς το αποκαλούμε κλοπή».

Η πρωτοβουλία αντέγραφε ουσιαστικά ορισμένες από τις βασικές αρχές του προγράμματος «Wages for Housework» («Μισθός για την οικιακή εργασία») που αναπτύχθηκε από το ριζοσπαστικό φεμινιστικό κίνημα της Ιταλίας τη δεκαετία του 1970 και απαιτούσε από το κράτος να πληρώνει την εργασία που πραγματοποιούν οι γυναίκες για τη συντήρηση των νοικοκυριών τους. Ενώ, όμως, το «Wages for Housework» πατούσε σε στιβαρές οικονομικές αναλύσεις ακαδημαϊκών όπως η Σίλβια Φεντερίτσι, που άσκησαν εποικοδομητική κριτική στον μαρξισμό και αντιμετώπισαν τα οικιακά σαν μια μορφή εργασίας για την αναπαραγωγής της εργατικής δύναμης (reproductive labor), τα επιχειρήματα του «Wages for Facebook» φάνταζαν ελαφρώς έωλα.

Παρ’ όλα αυτά, αρκετοί ακαδημαϊκοί, όπως ο Κρίστιαν Φουτς, από το Πανεπιστήμιο του Westminster, έδωσαν νέο νόημα στη σχετική συζήτηση, υποστηρίζοντας ότι τα μέσα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης «αποτελούν χώρους για την εκμετάλλευση πλεονάζουσας εργατικής δύναμης σε καπιταλιστικές συνθήκες». Στα βιβλία του ο Φουτς αναφέρεται σε διαφορετικές μορφές απλήρωτης εργασίας (από τους σκλάβους και τις νοικοκυρές μέχρι… τους χρήστες του Facebook) και αναλύει τους μηχανισμούς με τους οποίους εξαναγκάζονται να προσφέρουν δωρεάν εργασία (οι σκλάβοι με την απειλή του θανάτου, οι γυναίκες της πατριαρχικής κοινωνίας άλλοτε με τη φυσική βία και άλλοτε με συναισθηματικές πιέσεις και οι «εργάτες» του Facebοok με την απειλή να αποκλειστούν από κοινωνικές δραστηριότητες).

Οπως εξηγεί ο καθηγητής του Kings College, Νικ Σρνίτσεκ, στο πολύ ενδιαφέρον βιβλίο του «Platform Capitalism», «η απάντηση στο ερώτημα εάν οι online δραστηριότητές μας αποτελούν εργασία, στο πλαίσιο της καπιταλιστικής παραγωγής, δεν πρέπει να αντιμετωπίζεται σαν μια σχολαστική αντιπαράθεση μεταξύ ακαδημαϊκών». Εάν πρόκειται για δωρεάν εργασία, σημειώνει ο Σρνίτσεκ, οι εταιρείες που την καρπώνονται αποτελούν ένα θείο δώρο για το σύνολο του καπιταλιστικού συστήματος – καθώς ανοίγουν νέους δρόμους για την εκμετάλλευση της εργασίας. Εάν όμως οι online δραστηριότητές μας δεν αποτελούν εργασία, αυτές οι εταιρείες-πρότυπα απλώς παρασιτούν σε βάρος άλλων βιομηχανιών που παράγουν αξία. Συνεπώς ο καπιταλισμός βρίσκεται σε ακόμη πιο δεινή θέση απ’ ό,τι πιστεύαμε.

Η απάντηση, λοιπόν, στο ερώτημα εάν ένα like αποτελεί εργασία θα μας αποκαλύψει εάν το Facebook θα αποτελέσει την General Motors του 21ου αιώνα ή εάν πρόκειται για ένα ακόμη παράσιτο (όρο τον οποίο έχει χρησιμοποιήσει ο Ντέιβιντ Χάρβεϊ για να περιγράψει και πλατφόρμες όπως η Google). Οπως συμβαίνει πολύ συχνά, ο Σρνίτσεκ διαπίστωσε ότι οι απαντήσεις στα ερωτήματα που δημιουργεί η νέα οικονομία του διαδικτύου βρίσκονταν μπροστά στα μάτια μας και μάλιστα στις πρώτες σελίδες ενός βιβλίου που κυκλοφόρησε πριν από περίπου 150 χρόνια: τον πρώτο τόμο από το «Κεφάλαιο» του Μαρξ.

Στο «Κεφάλαιο» η παραγωγική εργασία συνδέεται άμεσα με την παραγωγή αντικειμένων τα οποία είναι χρήσιμα για άλλους. «Εάν ένα πράγμα είναι άχρηστο», εξηγούσε ο Μαρξ, «τότε είναι άχρηστη και η εργασία που περιέχει, δεν λογαριάζεται σαν εργασία και συνεπώς δεν αποτελεί αξία». Ο Σρνίτσεκ καταλήγει στο συμπέρασμα ότι οι πλατφόρμες όπως το Facebook δεν εκμεταλλεύονται δωρεάν εργασία, αλλά μετατρέπουν τις online δραστηριότητές μας σε «πρώτη ύλη», την οποία επεξεργάζονται με αλγόριθμους και πουλάνε στους διαφημιστές προκειμένου αυτοί να στέλνουν στοχευμένα διαφημιστικά μηνύματα. Και αυτό το συμπέρασμα όμως τροφοδοτεί έναν νέο γύρο αντιπαράθεσης: αποτελεί η διαφήμιση μια παραγωγική διαδικασία;

Πριν από μερικές δεκαετίες, ο μεγάλος μαρξιστής οικονομολόγος Πολ Σουίζι είχε απαντήσει αρνητικά, περιγράφοντας τις διαφημίσεις ως μια μη παραγωγική ιδιότητα του μονοπωλιακού καπιταλισμού. Πιθανότατα, δηλαδή, θα κατέτασσε και αυτός ορισμένες πλατφόρμες, όπως το Facebook, στα παράσιτα της σημερινής οικονομίας.

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