Looking at the fact that most industry power comes from what we call technoscience and that the traditional working class as described by Marx and Engels has mostly disappeared in the western world. Now productive works in technoscience are:

  • computer developers ( this includes all sort of embedded, web development )
  • scientifical computation ( R,Matlab,scilab, et...)
  • industrial prototyping ( cad, pcb design etc...)
  • applied scientists (AI , optimization etc...)
  • other areas ( biology, nanotechnologies, ...)

It is generally agreed that workers engaged in such developments should be well-paid and have social advantages as they are highly specialized workers.

Now looking at the fact that we see more and more the rise of outsourcing and that such specialized workers are now found more and more in China, India, Russia, Ukraine, and other countries and that such workers while posessing the correct skills have no real high wages and no real social advantages and nevertheless they are doing 100% of the end work.

This also can applied to students in western countries which are asked to do considerably difficult jobs under low or even no wages at all.

Could it be that we foresee the emergence of a paradoxal new working class which could be named technoscience proletariat?

  • Outsourcing means brain drain to developing countries, low wages to developed countries. Oct 18, 2014 at 12:30
  • I'm not sure why a new term is needed - or if those people are in the same situation as the proletariat Marx described. There probably won't be as much technoscience workers as there were mechanical workers; IMO it's much likelier that those highly educated people will stay part of the Bourgeoisie and the people not able to find work in these fields will part of the proletariat. And that worldwide e.g. Average Income India: $1570 Average for software engineers: $5727 (payscale.com/research/IN/…)
    – user45891
    Oct 18, 2014 at 16:07
  • @user45891: 'Average Income India: $1570 Average for software engineers: $5727' ==> yes India becomes too expensive for outsourcing and we even see now outsourcing companies in India 're-outsourcing' to Nepal or other similar countries. 'it's much likelier that those highly educated people will stay part of the Bourgeoisie' ==> they are not really from the Bourgoisie - not always - I would rather call that 'midlle class'... in Nepal, middle class could be considered as proletariat in a global context.
    – user4598
    Oct 18, 2014 at 16:56
  • @KarlZorn, there you go. Being skilled in computers and other technologies makes un unlikely to be in the proletariat. You will be paid better than someone with little to no skills, who can only provide manual labor. As for the 'middle class' in Nepal being part of the proletariat in a global sense, I guess it is a good thing they live in Nepal. Perhaps the solution to growing the middle-class/bourgeois is to have all people globally move to Nepal? Then we can all be considered exceeding wealthy.
    – user1873
    Oct 20, 2014 at 1:09
  • 1
    I'm flagging this as offensive for including "web developers" into "productive" category :)
    – user4012
    Oct 20, 2014 at 21:26

2 Answers 2


The proletarianisation of "techno-science" began with development of new specialised employee occupations as paid scientists or developers. David Miller gives a good example from the turn of the 20th century: http://www.jstor.org/stable/info/10.1086/663597

The question is problematic in that it assumes, "the traditional working class as described by Marx and Engels has mostly disappeared in the western world." Marx and Engels describe both the industrial misery of particular segments of the working class of their day, but the concept of people divorced from the means and tools of production and forced to offer labour for a wage to subsist remains accurate. In Marx's day skilled workers could live, "well-paid and have social advantages as they are highly specialized workers," but this did not change that they were forced to offer their labour for sale in order to subsist.

The "skilled" sections of the proletariat have often seen attempts to break down the skill structure by moving work about.


I think Nick Dyer-Witheford will answer your question properly in the next book, Cyber-Proletariat (will publish June 2015). "In Cyber-Proletariat, Nick Dyer-Witheford shows the dark side of the information revolution through an unsparing analysis of class power and computerization. He reveals how technology facilitates growing polarization between wealthy elites and precarious workers and how class dominates everything from expanding online surveillance to intensifying robotization. At the same time he looks at possibilities for information technology within radical movements, casting contemporary economic and social struggles in the blue glow of the computer screen." http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/C/bo20704212.html

I found another two books for you from Ursula Huws, The Making of a Cybertariat (2003), and Labor in the Global Digital Economy (2014). http://monthlyreview.org/books/pb4635/

This is an interesting viewpoint: Norbert Trenkle, Struggle without Classes: Why There Is No Resurgence of the Proletariat in the Currently Unfolding Capitalist Crisis (2006). http://www.mediationsjournal.org/articles/struggle-without-classes

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