The Brave New World of Surveillance Capitalism
Certain radical critiques of capitalism posit that it must necessarily monetize everything in time. The basic argument is that capitalism inherently requires infinite economic growth to function properly, but we are in a world of finite resources. As traditional resources used to feed the furnace are exhausted, more aspects of life that were previously outside of the money economy must be drawn into it – including abstract things like behavior, relationships and even thoughts.
The merits of such theories are debatable. What is beyond debate is that human thoughts and relationships are already in the advanced stages of monetization. Prof. Shoshana Zuboff, a leading expert in the field of business administration in information technology settings since the 1980s, coined the idea of “surveillance capitalism” (in the April 2015 edition of the Journal of Information Technology) to describe this phenomenon – the observation and recording of as much personal data as possible to create highly effective targeted advertisements.