Contrary to a commonly held view of crowdsourcing as a transfer of low-skill work to low cost locations, our analysis shows that more than half of all the crowdsourcing workers live in North America and Europe and workers are generally very well educated. Almost half have bachelor degree and only 5% are truly low skill workers with only an elementary education.
The awareness that we live in a system or, better, that our lives and livelihoods are articulated through systemic forces, does not need to lead us to despair. Knowledge of these forces does not make us weaker; on the contrary, it makes us stronger, because the system reveals its Achilles heel by showing what it must do in order to survive: it must promote enclosures and it must pit producers, both waged and unwaged, against each other, thus creating the appearance of abundance, but instead reproducing scarcity.
As a matter of fact, capitalist economy is not and cannot be stationary. Nor is it merely expanding in a steady manner. It is incessantly being revolutionized from within by new enterprise, i.e., by the intrusion of new commodities or new methods of production or new commercial opportunities into the industrial structure as it exists at any moment. Any existing structures and all the conditions of doing business are always in a process of change. Every situation is being upset before it has had time to work itself out. Economic progress, in capitalist society, means turmoil.
The possibility of the privatisation of the general intellect was something Marx never envisaged in his writings about capitalism (largely because he overlooked its social dimension). Yet this is at the core of today’s struggles over intellectual property: as the role of the general intellect – based on collective knowledge and social co-operation – has increased in post-industrial capitalism, so wealth accumulates out of all proportion to the labour expended in its production. The result is not, as Marx seems to have expected, the self-dissolution of capitalism, but the gradual transformation of the profit generated by the exploitation of labour into rent appropriated through the privatisation of knowledge.