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Re: [jox] p2p and market

Hi Michel,

Of course Market existed in pre-capitalist societies. Pre-capitalist Markets and capitalist markets share the following:

The value of commodities are determined by abstract labor congealed in them. The capitalist markets are separatedd from pre-capitalist ones by the fact that in them labor power is also a commodity, and hence the surplus labor is transformed into surplus value.

In peer production there is no abstract value and hence no echange value. In this sense peer production is different from all pr-capitalist modes ogf production. Pre-capitalist modes of production do not work as analogy for peer production.
When peer production gets involved in trade it is a vihicle of extraction of rent from capitalist mode of production for those who use it for this purrpose. You will get a more comprehensive analysis on thyis in 10 days, and a I also hope to give a convincing answer on the issue of health care .

all the best

Michel Bauwens 03/30/12 7:58 AM >>> 
[Converted from multipart/alternative] 

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of course c hristian, you know I share you critique of the current 
market-scarcity model and that I think the contrary of what you say here 
below, can we perhaps avoid the obvious straw men arguments which construct 
an imaginary enemy that is easy to strike down, and limit ourselves to what 
is actually said? 

i.e. your two paragraphs here, so let's go to the crux of the matter after 

- Additionally, in such a situation any peer production (generally unpaid, 
voluntary, self-organized) is the enemy of those whose livelihood depends 
being paid for doing roughly the same work. The livelihood of people 
for Encyclopedia Britannica and Brockhaus has been endangered by Wikipedia, 
professional musicians' livelihoods are endangered by all the free music 
that is shared (legally or illegally) on the Internet, journalists are 
endangered by blogs etc. 

- Moreover, automation now becomes your enemy rather than your friend. A 
of jobs have been made superfluous by computers. If you think that 
everything which people do should preferably be fun or satisfying for them, 
then any automation of tasks that aren't sounds like a good thing. But if 
your livelihood depends on performing some more or less annoying and 
unpleasant job, then you won't want it to be taken over by a computer or 
machine, even if you otherwise wouldn't mind being rid of it. 

Because of these conflicting tendencies, I don't think the scenario of a 
long-term, more or less peaceful co-existence of peer production and market 
production credible. Market production is totalitarian: 

well, this is absolutely factually and historically incorrect ... even in 
tribal times, there have always been a multitude of exchange and 
reciprocity mechanisms, except for perhaps really small bands who had no 
contact with outsiders ... david graeber's latest book for example, shows 
how market mechanisms were used with strangers and enemies in tribal 
societies ... so markets have existed for thousands of years not only 
outside of capitalism but even outside of the supply-demand pricing 
mechanism (hindu system and just price medieval system). Even under 
capitalism, with commodification very dominant and all-encompassing, it is 
not totalitarian, in fact, it could not exist without the non-market 
economy. So inf fact, mutliple modes have co-existed with the market, from 
nearly the dawn of time, until today. This does not make the market 
mechanism un-problematic, but is just a factual correction. 

if some goods (e.g. 
health care in your example) are only available on the market (by paying 
them), then *everybody* must remain a market producer (engaging in some 
of paid work or else living from the work of others), since otherwise how 
would they get the necessary money? The only conceivable exception is 
for luxury goods which nobody does absolutely need (i.e. NOT health care 
other essentials). 

there are multiple ways to provide healtcare outside, with, and in the 
market. I have lived in a country with free healthcare that was a hybrid of 
state, mutualist and market dynamics until 10 years ago; so again, this is 
factually and historically totally incorrect, it is perfectly possible to 
have hybrid modes 

so the key and already the answer to your next paragraph is that the real 
question is not the co-existing of modes, since monological societies, 
except for the bands, have probably never existed; the real question is, 
what mode is dominant, how do they co-exist and how can the negatives of 
certain modalities be avoided and diminished 

What are the alternatives? Either turning peer production into a form of 
market production, yielding some income to those engaged in it, as you seem 
to suggest 

This is not at all what I suggest. Peer production should retain its 
characteristics and should be expanded where-ever possible. The difference 
is that I imagine a transition process for this, and look at concrete 
socio-technical hacks that may achieve this, while you imagine a total 
alternative, but have seemingly no interest in thinking about how it can 
come about. The real issues are: 1) what happens when they co-exist 2) how 
can we move that co-existence in the favour of increasing dominance of peer 
production 3) which doesn't exclude non-linear phase transitions 

. Then ultimately market production would win and the specific 
characteristics of peer production would be lost. You would have to compete 
against others in order to keep or gain market share. You would no longer 
work voluntarily since your income now depends on your continuing to work. 
You would be forced to keep some secrets from others to prevent them from 
competing effectively against you. And so on. 

this is the reality right now, and in existing peer production, the 
dependence on market and state redistribution is maximal. How do we 
diminish this and render peer production more autonomous and even dominant? 

The other alternative is to make people's dependency of income superfluous, 
meaning that neither you nor anybody else needs to engage in paid work in 
order to live a good life. This means finding answers to all the hard 
questions: "If we cannot pay doctors to care for us, how else do we get 
to do it?" would be one of them. The basic form of the question is the same 
as in: "If we cannot pay people to write an encyclopedia for use, how else 
do we get them to do it?" That latter question has already been answered, 
though finding the right answer was far from easy. The history of the 
Nupedia is an instructive example 
the trial-and-error process that preceded the successful setup of the 
Wikipedia -- trying to follow the processes of existing encyclopedias to 
closely was among the biggest sources of mistake, I believe. Similar 
trial-and-error processes will be needed for all other areas of life, and I 
suppose that trying to follow the example of capitalist enterprises too 
closely will be the source of many other mistakes and that peer-produced 
health care, or education, or furniture production, or computer 
or whatever, will look more different from the currently used processes 
we can imagine. 

This is interesting and this is exactly what we are doing at the p2p 
foundation, i.e. not imagining p2p paradise, though that is legitimate, but 
continuously observing and learning from what really existing communities 
are actually doing. Allen Butcher's communal economics has an extensive 
record of what intentional communities have tried over the last few hundred 
years, with many really existing allocation mechanisms,not imaginary ones. 

Meanwhile, for a long time we'll remain in some kind of hybrid situation, 
where many people will be engaged in some kind of peer production, while 
still needing some kind of paid work (part-time maybe, like me) to get the 
money necessary to buy what peer production cannot yet provide. 

and this is where we cannot afford only imagining and dreaming, but need 
to leverage change where necessary 

there is also a dramatically painful historical record of social attempts 
to abolish hybridity by fiat and everytime, market mechanisms where 
re-introduced either from above (Lenin's NEP), or from below (cigarettes as 
money in prisons); on the other hand, many intentional production 
communities have successfully abolished money transactions internally. 
Let's learn from real experiences, and see how we really can get to a more 
p2p, or even a p2p-dominant world. We only differ in that I do not wish 
for a p2p-only world, but think a continued diversity of reciprocial and 
non-reciprocal relationships is a good thing ... 

P2P Foundation: - 

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