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Additional resources for Capital and Class, 2006 spring, No 88
Subjectively-where the market has been fully developed-a man's activity becomes estranged from himself, it turns into a commodity which, subject to the non-human objectivity of the natural laws of society, must go its own way independently of man just like any consumer article. (Lukacs, 1923 : 87) Thus there is reification into naturalised market structures, causing their dependence on social interaction to be hidden, ° 42 Capital & Class #88 to a large extent; and reification (linked to the more formal legal alienation of products of labour) that sees the product of labour reduced to the commodity form for exchange.
If information and knowledge are not necessarily rival, then the duplication of an idea (a technological solution) or a particular expression (a piece of writing) is considerably less difficult to do than its initial development. Indeed, the expense of initial effort is a central aspect of the justification for IPRS. However, once an intellectual property has been commodified, one of the key threats to profitability is the unauthorised (and, therefore, unpaid) duplication of content or use of idea.
Both of these can be readily identified in discussions and disputes about the scope, applicability and costs of IPRS in the global system. This is to say that the reification of intellectual property contributes to the continuing discourse of depoliticisation and technocratic policy-making in this area. Thus, I argue that the reification of intellectual property must be resisted if we are to establish a meaningful global politics of information and knowledge. W e are often told that we have entered a new age and a new society: the 'information society'.