[ox-en] Sach- und Zeitlogik (was: Re: [Fwd: verletzte bei ...)
- From: Stefan Meretz <stefan.meretz hbv.org>
- Date: Thu, 03 May 2001 17:17:02 +0200
Hi Graham and all,
graham belegost.mit.edu schrieb:
This is really a question for Stefan Mz, so if it has already been
discussed on the list maybe (if he has time!) any reply should be
off-list? Or not?
I think it is on-topic, but I changed the subject. And I post my
reply to english list too.
Re the '2nd algorithmic revolution' thesis, I have 2 (I think related)
For others: background is my talk at oekonux conference. I didn't
finish the paper yet:-(
1. Algorithms are claimed to be 'zeitslogik'. But there is an
equivalence between time and space in many cases: algorithms can be space
or time intensive (or sequential (time) or parallel (space)). (would that
A short repeat: I take the Marxian three parts of big industry
'energy' (steam-engine), 'process' (tool-engine, say so?), and
'algorithm' (transmission mechanism).
I link the process aspect with the word 'Sachlogik' (logic of thing
- I don't know if this makes sense in english) and algorithm aspect
with the word 'Zeitlogik' (logic of time).
For production, space intensive logic applies mainly to the organization
of the productive process. When a skilled artisan works, he cannot
simply be duplicated; the entire productive process is sequential.
But the capitalist productive process breaks up
the task into smaller pieces which involve more abstract work, where
workers are more interchangeable, and then it is possible to duplicate
workers to increase production. A kind of parallelization of production;
the entire productive process is then organized as an algorithm with
a mix of parallel and sequential parts.
That's what I want to say: Which first was only aspects of one
person -- energy (maybe from animals), process (handling of the
tool), and algorithm (experience, knowledge: which step has when to
be done in what kind of manner...) -- was then seperated and put
onto distinct engines. The first separation was only between energy
and process/algorithm-engine. Here you find the entire productive
process to be organized as an algorithm, where workers as humans are
only disturbance factors (see taylorism). The next step which I call
second algorithmic revolution is the separation of a distinct
"analog" universal tool engine and a distinct digital universal
algorithm engine (computer). On this level it is counter functional
to have stupid individuals just being adherend (devoted?) to a
machine (this argument is going into the direction of the importance
of 'self-unfolding' which is only possible under free conditions).
So 'Sachlogik' is a more general notion for the 'kernel' of
industrial processes. This may be mechnical ones, or chemical, or
biological and so on. The algorithmic aspect of those kernel
processes is what I call 'Zeitlogik'. Each 'Sachlogik' of course has
2. There are many modern products that have very low material cost to
reproduce, that have a price almost completely unrelated to their
(direct and indirect) labour value. With these products the same issues
arise as with software. In particular, medicine, as shown in South Africa
over the last few weeks. It is very hard for me to see any connection
between medicine and (time-based!) algorithms.
One part of knowledge you must have access to is the chemical
formular, needed raw materials etc. If you have a 'medicine cooker'
you put all stuff into that thing -- and then you need algorithms.
The algorithm is part of the knowledge about how the medicine is
going to be produced: which step first which next what parameters
and so on. And here the importance of patents is clearly visible:
The more or less "open" knowledge about algorithms and parameters
etc. should not be used by anyone. You are right: material costs are
low, the revenue is only guaranteed through patents. Often it is
Yet the issues of why
something that can be reproduced nearly for free is not allowed to be
reproduced are the same as for software. Is it possible to broaden
the algorithm argument to include such things?
Yes, that's my point! My key argument is: Non-software as material
thing cannot be freed as a material thing, but only as a
informational thing (algorithm, knowledge etc.). And this
"informational part" is much more than only some software.
Perspectivly the relation between informational and material part is
shifting to the informational side. If we free that part, time is
working for us;-)
Or I have I simply misunderstood? (I'm going from what I followed
of your talk, rather than the printed text)
Or have I?
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