Data Trash: The Theory of the Virtual Class


165 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 0-920393-23-3
DDC 973.92




Reviewed by Geoff Cragg

Geoff Cragg is a tenured instructor in the Faculty of General Studies at
the University of Calgary.


When the hype surrounding new software is completely at odds with its
readiness for public use, it is often referred to as “vapourware.”
Data Trash is partly concerned with explaining a similar
discrepancy—that between the publicly constructed understanding of
life on-line and its reality.

The book presents a critical and theoretically grounded view of
developments in information technology. In it the authors explain the
attraction of a virtual life on-line to a “reclining” culture that
has succumbed to the “wish to be replaced by technology.” They
attribute the construction of this desire to a virtual class composed of
naive technotopians and cynical capitalists, and explore the political
economy of cyberspace, which offers business the opportunity of a new
virtual frontier for expansion now that the material world is presenting
limits to growth.

The scenario they paint is grim but coherent: the information
superhighway is a cynical myth on the part of the virtual class that
“conceals [their] drive to global power” and allows an undeclared
class war not only between the technological elite and the working
class, but also between the global-media class and local populations.

Kroker and Weinstein present their forecast in a deterministic way, but
at least offer the hope that if we embrace the role of “data trash,”
we may, cockroach-like, survive and even enjoy the infomillenium.


Kroker, Arthur, and Michael A. Weinstein., “Data Trash: The Theory of the Virtual Class,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 2, 2023,