Is Digital Technology Burying the Middle Class?

By privatizing facets of general knowledge via intellectual property laws, digital technology is transforming society's hierarchy. Now salaried employees are protesting against capitalism.

What's the Latest Development?


Many of those protesting against the current wealth inequality in America are members of the middle class, fighting for their position of economic privilege, globally speaking. So how did capitalism's biggest headliner become its irritant? Technology, aided by developments in law protecting intellectual property, has allowed the privatization of large swaths of general knowledge, says Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek. This is precisely how Microsoft made Bill Gates so rich, he says.

What's the Big Idea?

Rather than moralizing away inequality by creating a more equitable social hierarchy, where more citizens are sufficiently compensated to keep quiet about the exploitation of natural and human resources around the globe, Zizek says we should take the renewal of global protests—from the Middle East to Occupy Wall Street to Spain and Greeceas a sign that capitalism, as a social phenomena, is spinning out of control. The new big earners are managers and CEOs of knowledge-based industries.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Related Articles

To save us, half of Earth needs to be given to animals

We're more dependent on them than we realize.

(Photo Lily on Unsplash)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists says our survival depends on biodiversity.
  • A natural climate strategy we often forget.
  • Seeing our place among the Earth's living creatures.
Keep reading Show less

New infographics show how cigarette smokers are socially penalized

There's a high social cost that comes with lighting up.

(Porch)
Sex & Relationships
  • The home improvement company Porch recently polled 1,009 people on their feelings about smoking.
  • The company recently published the results as infographics.
  • In terms of dating, 80 percent of nonsmokers find the habit a turnoff
Keep reading Show less

The "catch" to being on the keto diet

While short-term results are positive, there is mounting evidence against staying in ketosis for too long.

Brendan Hoffman / Getty
Surprising Science
  • Recent studies showed volunteers lost equal or more weight on high-carb, calorie-restricted diets than low-carb, calorie restricted diets.
  • There might be positive benefits to short-term usage of a ketogenic diet.
  • One dietician warns that the ketogenic diet could put diabetics at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis.
Keep reading Show less