[ox-en] Interesting thoughts from the "We Seize!" Oekonux discussion
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2003 00:29:44 +0100
Here are the interesting thoughts I promised.
As usual the question came up who pays the bills of Free Software
developers. One interesting thought brought forward was that today
capitalism is still needed to pay the bills. But it is not longer
needed to organize the work process. This is something which I didn't
have so clear until now.
Another interesting thought in that direction was that one of the main
reasons for corporations to exist is that they organize and pay for
the coordination of the work. Under Internet conditions the cost of
coordination becomes lower and lower, however. I mean a mailing list
is something which is *very* cheap. Actually I think this is the
theoretical explanation why Free Software took off together with the
Internet in the early 1990s.
Also the Internet and the globalization caused by it makes it possible
that for one particular activity the best people available on the
globe can self-select themselves for this activity. The fluidity which
is possible by that way of distribution of work is hardly thinkable
for corporations because that would mean that they more or less have
no fixed employees any more. Of course capitalism tries exactly that -
the keyword is the virtual corporation - but I think capitalist logic
is a hard barrier for this type of working. So this comes out as
another reason why the results of Free Software mode of production is
more powerful and at the same time can't be copied by capitalism.
Matthias brought forward some thoughts in the tradition of a guy
called Mauss. I'll write an extra mail about that because he has been
really keen to discuss it and at some point I proposed to put it on
the English list because people there may be interested in that also.
Another interesting thought was that: How would be software production
different in the next society from what we see in Free Software? Of
course the answer with what we know today is: Not much if at all. This
is remarkable because for all the capitalist work I can easily tell
that at least it *should* be different from today's form. Actually
this is a good way to emphasize the germ form character of Free
Also there was this discussion about how Free and open projects like
Indymedia protect themselves against disturbances and how does this
relate to openness, control, power and so on. Basically the question
of OHA again. Because I'd like to make some points here I were not
able to put into the discussion, I'll write another mail about that.
As a reaction to my pointing to the Internet as a global machine
making digital copies someone added that also the social conditions
are changed by the Internet. Indeed mailing lists, chats, public CVS
repositories, web sites and so on change the way people interact
I think in particular the attitude to time changes quite dramatically.
There is this sort of real time condition Gundolf Freyermuth wrote
about in one of his essays. On the conference you could see that in
the way they integrated the IRC channels in the ongoing presentations
/ channels and the audio / video streams taking place in parallel.
This is exactly the kind of real time I mean.
While thinking about it longer it seems to me that this is another
hint that a historical change is taking place today. I mean the
attitude to time is something which changed dramatically with the
upcoming capitalism and its way of using time as a measurement for
value. This has been unprecedented before and changed the way people
thought about time drastically. Today under more and more real time
conditions there is actually another change in time. I think this is
Mit Freien Grüßen