Can Information Technology Bring Capitalism to an End?

The aim of this article is to examine the consequences of information technology for the future of capitalism. Paul Mason’s book: Postcapitalism is taken as the paper’s point of departure because it represents the common thinking on this issue. The article starts by outlining the main arguments for Mason’s prediction of capitalism’s eclipse, especially the mismatch between a market system based on scarcity and an economy based on information which is abundant, and the accelerating exhaustion of capitalism’s capacity to adapt to InfoTech. Examination of these arguments and predictions, and of the nature of the “postcapitalist modes of production” that are said to be emerging within capitalism, showed that the scope is still wide for a peaceful coexistence between capitalism and InfoTech and the emerging business models. This conclusion does not negate the thesis that capitalism generates drastic contradictions which threaten its future.

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Abstract

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The aim of this article is to examine the consequences of information technology for the future of capitalism. Paul Mason’s book: Postcapitalism is taken as the paper’s point of departure because it represents the common thinking on this issue. The article starts by outlining the main arguments for Mason’s prediction of capitalism’s eclipse, especially the mismatch between a market system based on scarcity and an economy based on information which is abundant, and the accelerating exhaustion of capitalism’s capacity to adapt to InfoTech. Examination of these arguments and predictions, and of the nature of the “postcapitalist modes of production” that are said to be emerging within capitalism, showed that the scope is still wide for a peaceful coexistence between capitalism and InfoTech and the emerging business models. This conclusion does not negate the thesis that capitalism generates drastic contradictions which threaten its future.

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