The “Commodification” of Knowledge in the Global Information Society

  • Peter Fleissner Institut für Gestaltungs- und Wirkungsforschung, Technische Universität Wien
Keywords: Commodification, Information Goods, Information Society


With the increasing division of labour and the emergence of markets, useful things have started to become sold and bought. They began a new career as commodities. Since Aristotle the dialectic face of commodities, later on in detail elaborated by Karl Marx, is well known, they carry value in use and value in exchange. Nowadays, where we understand the economy as a social construction and are aware of the relativity of value given to objects, we are still confronted with the same distinction and also with the transition of objects into commodities. The commodification process has not come to an end yet.

The paper gives an overview on the processes of commodification and de-commodification of goods and services as a background for analysing developments in the emerging information society on a global scale.

Possible strategies on how to go on from now are presented, among them the struggle and on-going resistance of the European Parliament on the one hand, against the European Commission and the European Patent Office on the other, also the movements of open source/free software and the ideas of copyleft to create new rules for information goods.
Special Issue: What is Really Information? An Interdisciplinary Approach.