John Lanchester · Marx at 193 · LRB 5 April 2012
John Lanchester’s explanation of how Facebook – a company that creates no obvious material value – could be worth more than $100 billion is interesting. I wonder, though, if Marx would have seen Facebook’s owners more as landowners or ‘rentiers’ than as capitalists. Websites don’t create any value, but by exploiting their property rights in highly sophisticated advertising space they allow capitalists to compete with each other in exchange for a slice of the heightened surplus value. Facebook’s appearance as a (free) leisure good is supported by its essence as prime retail space.