"Software Engineering and the Production of Surplus Value";
The aim of this paper is to outline some aspects of a Marxist labor theory of value in the Information Age. There are very differing views on productive and unproductive labor in this new informational phase of capitalism that we are witnessing today. Some argue that all types of services and knowledge work produce value; others say that all of these works are unproductive types of labor. I will argue for a layered approach that covers multiple aspects of productive labor, including: 1. the production of use values; 2. individual labor processes that result in the production of material-substantial outputs that can be accumulated in order to make profit; and 3. the co-operative dimension of labor, i.e., the collective labor process that covers a combination of workers, each of whom plays only a part, more or less, in the production of the object of their labor. Surplus value can only be produced if there is a physical output that can be accumulated, stored, warehoused, transported and resold. This approach is explained by taking a look at the software engineering process. The shift from software engineering methodologies based on the waterfall model towards "participatory" and evolutionary methods reflects economic and ideological changes in late capitalism. Capital accumulation in the software industry is not only based on intellectual labour, but it is also in need of a substantial-material carrier of knowledge. Profits in the New Economy result from a large difference between the value of an information commodity and its price.
Erstellt aus der Publikationsdatenbank der Technischen Universitšt Wien.