This week I found myself reading Jameson in conversation with Hardt and Negri. In many ways it seems that while late/finance capitalism/post-modernity is argued to be the last stage of capitalism, the information economy seems to be a next stage.
For example, the information economy helps make the move from M-C-M to M-M’ more pronounced. The only commodity many companies need to profit is the information or attention of consumers. My idle attention clicking on facebook quizzes provides buzzfeed with a unique mass of demographic information that they can then sell. If you invest in information gathering mechanisms, (often a minimal investment) you can profit with little to no effort.
Finally, Jameson notes that “We have often been told, however, that we now inhabit the synchronic rather than the diachronic, and I think it is at least empirically arguable that our daily life, our psychic experience, our cultural languages, are today dominated by categories of space rather than by categories of time, as in the preceding period of high modernism.” However, in the information economy, not only has time become irrelevant (micro traders are actually able to sell stocks before they finish buying them to make a profit on the surge in sales they caused -- all without the risk of ever owning the stock), but in digital environments space is rendered largely meaningless. As more commodities and business become digital, economic exchanges become entirely unbounded by space and time, meaning it is only information or affect that has any meaningful value (rather than labor time – which includes the time to move across goods across space).
What all of these seem to suggest to me is that we are entering some phase of capitalism after late/finance capitalism. As the example of the micro trades shows, even the residuals of finance capital are moving to logics of speed and information exchange. While this can be construed as good, as the information economy has more space for the resistance to capitalism (as affect can never be fully commoditized), it also seems troubling if one believes that the moments to break capitalism are at moments of flux and transition (Clover). It seems we may have missed the moment of transition from finance capital (US economic hegemony) to information capital (a more global and decentered market) and thus may missed a moment for greater opportunity of revolution.