Re: [ox-en] inside wsis
- From: johan soderberg <soderbergjohan yahoo.com>
- Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2003 16:14:27 -0800 (PST)
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why is the role of free software in developing countries
not part of oekonux theories, which concentrate entirely on the developed?
I agree, this is of outmost importance. What Microsoft fear most (is my guess) is that the vast populations in China and South America are trained into using and become developers of free software. With such an armada of developers, the technological advancement pace of free software will skyrocket.
Other points to entry into a theory on the south and software. In the theory of capitalist expansion/imperialism, capital must expand to the outside to find markets for absorbing its surplus production (that quantity of goods that wage workers within the capitalist territory produce but are not compensated for enough to buy back as commodities) Next step was to export capital, capitalisation, thereby internalise the Outside so that the added pool of workers in these countries (like those back home) would produce more than they were compensated for, and the difference (surplus value) could be brought home as tribute from the colonies. Thereby would the need for a capitalist expansion be reproduced and a new Outside must be found (see Luxembourgh, Hilferding, Lenin on this) Software might fit in here. Hopefully it undermines capitalisation and minimise the outflow of rent from periphery to centre - as when third world goverments implement free software instead of Microsoft lic!
software. However, at a later stage and as negative outcome of this process, the pool of free, southern free programming labour might add to Open Source projects and be captured by western corporations. The school on underdevelopment and periphery-centre is probably relevant here (Samir Amin, Immanuell Wallerstein), however I have read very little by them. A key thought in this school is that 'underdeveloped' countries must de-link from the centre, and choose their own path of self-reliant industrialisation. (Free software might fit in here).
Finally, there is the Empire vs. Imperialism debate. Hardt & Negri believes that global capital has intermingled to one big Empire, reducing the role of nationstates in advancing their 'home' capitalists by means of gunboat diplomacy. Instead of competition between developed imperialist nations for greatest influence over colonies, military intervention ?ís collectively administrated to police in the periphery the common interest of Empire/capital. Because every node is as far/close as any other in a network to the 'centre', there is no peripheral struggles, a destabilisation in any part of the globally spanning network strikes at the heart of Empire - and correspondingly must be responded on with force. (terrorist counterstrike at heart of darkness 11/9 par example of this)
This could fit in on software theory something like this. The markets for counterfeited goods, generic copies of drugs and 'pirate sharing' of software, is marginal in poor countries. Western companies could not profit much from selling there products here at world market price, so in one sense these areas are irrelevant. The people in south must, however, be denied access to life-saving drugs, free software etc., because otherwise the decommodified existence of these products at one point in the network will eat into profits in other points (in developed western markets) and destabilise the whole, global system of scarcity and prices in information set autocratically by image monopolities.
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