back to article Workers rejoice! Marx’s vision will become reality, argues SAP veep

Marx’s vision of the lumpen proleteriat casting off their alienating shackles to become masters of their own destiny could be about to become a reality – just as soon as they sign up as Uber and Airbnb vendors. That was the argument put forward by SAP's Eric Verniaut, senior vice president for industries EMEA, at Huawei’s …

  1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Surely a driver owning their own car is a capitalist owning the means of production? I don't think Marx would be happy.

  2. David Roberts Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Some nice phrases in there

    Including the French revolting workers, and those loosely described as (or at least rhyming with) bankers.

    Up the workers indeed!

    Shame you can't upvote articles.

    1. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Headmaster

      Some revolting phrases in there

      'Revolting' means 'disgusting' or 'very unpleasant' - nothing like the revolutionary workers that Marx talked about; 'revolving' means 'tending to recur' - which does reflect his ideas either.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Some nice phrases in there

      Count De Monet - Sir, the peasants are revolting!

      King Louis - You said it. They stink on ice.

  3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

    He doesn't mention the workers being the owners of the means

    One of Marx's ideas was that work workers would seize and own the means of production. It was the alienation of the worker from the ownership of what he or she made that was crucial to Marx's philosophy. To be Marxian, Uber would be a cooperative of drivers and AirBnB the same. I would argue that the internet can and does support non-structural membership organisations, but in the end someone always owns them. The fact that the owners of Uber and AirBnB can become grotesquely rich off the earnings of the not-well-off, who remain not-well-off, suggests to me that these are not avenues to a workers' paradise. Workers remain exactly what they are: the means by which capitalists disproportionately own capital. Piketty gives a lot of clarity on how the process works now.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: He doesn't mention the workers being the owners of the means

      AirBnB hosts and Uber drivers are workers with the normal protections and benefits of an employee stripped. All the worst aspects of being self employed and an employee, while "big data" companies make the real profits.

      Same with Amazon, Google, Facebook.

      It's not a Marxist vision of the future but all the worst bits of "Fahrenheit 451", "1984", "Shockwave Rider" and Harry Harrison's "To the Stars" trilogy.

      The guy is either evil or naive or both.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: He doesn't mention the workers being the owners of the means

        I suspect very naïve and probably hasn't read Marx. Ok.. maybe a Wiki article...

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: He doesn't mention the workers being the owners of the means

      "these are not avenues to a workers' paradise" - One thing I have learned is never to trust anyone who promotes something as Utopia. It does not matter if it is Marx or some self-serving loud mouth politician/business man/etc., they are selling snake oil which if taken will enhance their prestige and power at the expense of the everyone eles. Also, most of these dimbulbs ignore the fact that any social system run by humans will have problems with the same human foibles that cause problems in all the other systems. The only difference between social systems is the precise rules to be followed to get to the top.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Rejoice! Really?

    ... 40 per cent of US workers expect to be freelancers by 2020 ...

    Eventually this will allow tomorrow’s workers to realise Marx’s vision, and become masters of their own destiny.

    If everyone is a freelancer than everyone will be fighting everyone else every day to get to the front of the hiring queue (and probably by selling themselves as cheaply as possible).

    Doesn't sound like freedom to me : more like Depression-era life.

    1. David Roberts Silver badge

      Re: Rejoice! Really?

      Freelancer is a synonym for "zero hours contract".

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Rejoice! Really?

        No it isn't.

        Also a Zero Hours Contract is a synonym ( read: politicised name for ) casual labour, which has been going on since forever, before Labour created a bandwagon and leaped upon it.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Rejoice! Really?

          I'm a freelancer. I earn lots and get to say NO if I don't want to do something.

          Day off tomorrow even though I don't want to watch the football - I just fancy a day off.

          Have a beer on me - you probably can't afford one.

          1. strum Silver badge

            Re: Rejoice! Really?

            >Have a beer on me - you probably can't afford one

            And we probably don't have your endearing people skills, either.

            1. AMBxx Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: Rejoice! Really?

              Looks like the bitter wage slaves are uniting. Public sector?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @AMBxx - Re: Rejoice! Really?

                You have it wrong there. I'm out of all this fuss now.

                I was simply trying to warn you of what the future holds.

                You may think of yourself as a merc now, but tomorrow you're likely to be just another Trabant in the car pool.

                Better not take the day off - bank it while you can.

  5. Alan Bourke

    SAP should do less kite-flying

    and more concentrating on avoiding disastrous implementations and lawsuits.

    1. maffski

      Re: SAP should do less kite-flying

      No, SAP are concentrating on bringing about the workers playtime. Mainly by using their disastrous implementations to destroy the capitalist resources.

  6. quattroprorocked

    And in other lessons from history...

    "Let them eat cake".

    I suspect that if the blinkered 1% don't wake up fast they will soon find out that there is nothing quite as dangerous to their wealth as a middle class scorned.

    And I'm a bloody Tory.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: And in other lessons from history...

      It was "Let them eat Brioche", because bread was price controlled so there was a shortage.

      It's funny how a quote about the perils of socialism has somehow morphed into something which the socialists like ( anti-upper-class ).

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: And in other lessons from history...

        She never actually said it, anyway.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: And in other lessons from history...

      "I suspect that if the blinkered 1% don't wake up fast they will soon find out that there is nothing quite as dangerous to their wealth as a middle class scorned." - Spor on, the elites can avoid any real interaction with us lower lifes and have no clue what issues we face. Nor do they see us lower life forms as human but more like a highly trained dog. Thomas Frank in his recent book noted that the elites in the US Democratic party do not really care what happens to US workers and care more about their power and prestige. The trend towards a two tiered economic distribution of extremely rich and semi-poor is one that leads to societal instability and social unrest.

  7. James Anderson

    I think the 18th century Enclosure Acts or 19th century Highland Clearances provide a better historical model for what will happen in the next decade.

    The rich will own the technology, the government and the "means of automation" the rest of you can starve or work for peanuts.

    1. naive

      We now live in a transition period, still needing expensive factories making things, but the need for "things" is rapidly declining, and all is about access to services.

      Smart phone replaced: TV, video recorder, photo camera, stereo set, a ton of books and even a desktop PC in some cases.

      Yes, the inequality has risen due to the global war on the middle class. On longer term, things like 3D printing might become mainstream once products are designed for that. These developments reduce our dependency on the few hundred people owning 90% of the worlds assets, since we do not need them anymore. In the end it is a double edged sword, they do not need us, we do not need them for products and jobs.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        People will always need "things". Just different things at different times.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        There's a major point you're missing... design and development. For example: the TV dies and you have a marvelous replicator... who designs the TV? Same for any other device, piece of furniture, etc. Sorry.. methinks corporations are going to be around for quite awhile. They may change as far as job skills and how things get done... but they'll still be here.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The 3D printing hype has already gone though the media cycle, and is now deader than dead.

        3D printing was a slightly cheaper prototyping tool for a few niche areas. I have a garage full of machine tools. I already make my own stainless steel parts. I make my own carbon fibre components, far far stronger than anything which can be 3D printed.

        Forget a technological messiah. It's the middle class version of buying a lottery ticket. That hope that technology will make tomorrow better instead of way more shitty. Look at who's writing the rules for that technology, and look at how shitty it already is.

  8. Herbert Meyer

    Londoners report ?

    Have any of you Londoners noticed a rumbling from Marx's grave ?

  9. Kurt Meyer

    My vision of the future has a picture of M. Verniaut and his brethren in the back of a tumbrel on its way to the Place de la Liberté.

  10. frank ly Silver badge

    "He said youngsters may no longer have the desire to own a car, ..."

    If everybody is running an Uber service, nobody will need to own a car. Oh, wait a minute.

  11. g00se
    FAIL

    Wrong

    What Marx probably would have said is that the current proliferation of service industries is merely an indication of the weakness of capitalism in the areas in which they emerge and that they are simply processing value created elsewhere.

  12. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    disintermediation, disaggregation, disingenuousness

    In the words of Groucho, he should drill a hole in himself and let the SAP run out.

  13. Ironclad

    Emphasis

    "40 per cent of US workers expect to be freelancers by 2020"

    Note that it's "expect to be", not "aim to be" or "would like to be".

    Trying to spin people having to hold down 3 jobs to make a living as a worker's paradise is a bit rich.

    Far too many mentions of 'digital' which the dailymash sums up best:

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/business/nobody-knows-what-digital-supposed-to-mean-20160614109525

  14. Diogenes

    Totally misses the monopoly argument

    Sure tech can provide lots of competetition and lower barriersto entry, but even a well funded alternative to uber or airbnb will struggle, as even Sir Richard Branson found . Give any tech marketplace just 2 to 5 years and it will settle into a pattern of a 600lb gorilla, a 300 pound gorrilla, and who?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    more like hypercapitalism

    uber and airbnb make money doing nothing but "dispatch". they carry no product, handle no liability and bear no responsibility. All operating expense and "product" is all borne by the worker. The payment goes thru the dispatch and the cut is taken for doing very little.Like being a pimp.

    industrial age capitalists would have loved a system where they not only forced their workers to perform in gruelling unsafe conditions, but have the workers pay for the machines and the raw materials, pay for the rental or ownership of the building, and then not hold any responsibility whatsoever when some kid loses his fingers in a steam powered loom. "He shoulda had insurance" says the UberCapitalist.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: more like hypercapitalism

      Would have loved? That's exactly how it was almost to the middle if the 20th century and still is in some ways and places.

  16. ecofeco Silver badge

    Let them eat Uber?

    Marie Antoinette did get it either, but she was an amateur at piling shit as high as this clueless dirt bag.

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