Re: [ox-en] New economic model for free technology?
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 19:19:53 +0200
Good you joined again. I find your contributions very interesting.
2 weeks (16 days) ago Michael Bouwens wrote:
Stephan, thanks for the clarifications, my responses
That's better any way.
--- Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de> wrote:
6 days ago Michael Bouwens wrote:
To preserve 'peer production' as such, the basic
income is the only solution I see to create the
independence of the producers, but it will
never cover the full needs.
Why? People have lots of hobbies and creation of
Free Software is
surely among the cheapest. I can not understand why
say that you can only be useful to Free Projects if
you are paid for
it. Any reason?
Because we have to eat.
Just BTW: We do not eat money, do we. So "we have to eat" is a bad
reply. This is an otherwise important difference but I think that you
meant "We need money (to buy food, cars, pay rent, ...)".
Unemployment money is fine,
but it is conditional and insecure; a basic income
would be unconditional and secure, and a big boost to
those who want to do peer production but are not
materially able to do so at present.
Probably I was not clear enough above. The point is that people not
only *can* do (useful) things in their free time but actually *do*
(useful) things in their free time. For some of them they even pay
lots amount of money. Just think about some (all?) types of sports
needing expensive equipment, playing music needing expensive equipment
and instruments, doing expensive voyages and so on.
They are not receiving money for this and do it nonetheless. Obviously
there is no need to pay them. And they eat. And they may use Free
Software (and as a perspective more Free Products) which reduces their
need for money.
I still don't understand why this seems to be no viable solution for
Also there is already a big share of people with
basic income: the
unemployed. Wouldn't it make sense to activate this
potential? Or: Why
is this potential not realizing itself?
Yes, absolutely, if more unemployed would realise that
a life of 'full activity' is open to them, it would
change their lives for the better, and they would feel
part of society, rather than excluded.
Actually I think there could be a deeper reason for this. Those people
who have the abilities(!) to do useful things in their Free time tend
to stay employed. Their abilities are not only useful in Free Projects
but also to earn money. Their abilities are scarce.
On the other hand many of those who become unemployed for a longer
time have little potential. Thus they have not much to contribute to
Free Projects either.
Therefore, following Fiske's fourfold
What is the missing sphere?
there are for: equality matching, authority ranking,
market pricing and communal shareholding
I still have little idea of what this means.
But while we are at equality. Equality (of individuals) seems to be a
high value to you. I for one became sceptical about the concept of
equality because mainly it is not oriented at concrete needs but in
some abstract equality.
Once again I think equality is an interesting concept to share pain.
But instead of sharing pain I'd like to strive to remove pain
For example for what is the concept of equality useful in Free
Software? To my mind come only examples where pain is to be shared and
these are relatively few.
Also equality is a concept which on a societal scale have been
invented with bourgeoise societies and alone from this I'm sceptical
whether it will help us shaping a non-bourgeoise society.
i.e. the modes that have always existed
across time and space, we still need solutions for
other 3 spheres:
- for reciprocity-based relations, we need
Two questions: Why is human society thinkable only
reciprocity-based relations? Why must they resolved
by something like
As recognized by Marx, we cannot get through the a
full communist society, full indifferientated sharing,
without passing through a socialist economy, based on
equality sharing, you get what you contribute.
Well AFAIK it was not Marx who (rightly) mostly kept silent about a
communist society but Lenin. These two, however, have completely
different points of departure and completely different agendas. Thus
I'm not agreeing here. In fact I think we are already beyond this
Peer production at this stage, in the next stage,
would still need a material economy needing capital
Just as bourgeoise societies built on feudal societies, yes.
Thus a market exchange sphere, and a reciprocity based
sphere (based on time dollars) would provide the
necessary support for pure peer production. It's not
an either/or thing, but a way to get there.
I see you bought these ideologies of alternative money. Money is
always frozen labor time and so it simply makes no sense to say "time
dollar". Every dollar in every currency already is a time dollar.
To me reciprocity-based relations are mainly a mean
pain. If it would not mean pain to do / produce
something but pleasure
I hardly would make it subject to reciprocity.
Yes, but in some cases, reciprocity is better, more
fair, more just, than market exchange.
Ahm - now I'm completely puzzled. Market exchange is complete and
perfect reciprocity (mediated by money). If reciprocity can be fair at
all than market exchange is already.
one hour of labour equals another.
This is only true if you forget about any economics. If you do this,
however, you can forget about reciprocity altogether - which I'd
strongly support ;-) .
It is ideal for the
exchange of services, while market exchange works
better with products.
Well, I think this is mostly phantasy. There is no fundamental
difference between labor time done for service as labor time done for
producing a product. (Well, service labor doesn't produce exchange
value but I'd rather not expand on this here.)
I guess when you say service then you are talking of personal services
like cutting hair or teaching a language. The type of things usually
traded in LETS. But this is only a small part of the labor in
services. Industry knows *a lot* of services which are not personal in
The point I'm thinking of for some time now is the following: Personal
services are hard to alienate. They are bound to the individuals
servicing and being serviced. This is why LETS can easily trade these
services and there is no way to convert them to standard money.
Non-personal services are much more like what you call products,
however. They can be organized in a capitalist way and they can be
sold by an entrepreneur. When you are at this point it doesn't matter
whether you prefix your dollar with "time" or not.
More and more I think this is why for personal services LETS may work
but if you try to scale it up you either fail or end up with the
standard money system.
Shouldn't we strive
for a world where pain is reduced to zero and thus
reciprocity is made
superfluous? And - and this is the good news - is
this option not more
likely today than any time before in human history?
Absolutely, but can we envisage a straight line from
capitalism to pure peer production?
History knows very few straight lines ;-) .
But I agree that it makes sense to think about these things.
For peer production to succeed or expand, I think
1) the basic income for pure P2P in the immaterial
Well, so far Free Software worked without it. Why do
you think it is
necessary in other areas?
Free software has mostly worked with salaries derived
from the capitalist market economy, or from government
jobs or welfare payments. I'm talking of taking it out
of the hobby sphere,
Well, Free Software *has* left the hobby sphere for a long time now
because Free Software is used in commercial endeavors and today build
the foundation of the Western societies (aka Internet).
to make it a generalized
phenomenon that is widely accessible to the population
on a full-time basis.
I don't think that this can be accomplished by putting energy into
alternative money systems. It's simply a waste of time. The basic
income idea is IMHO more fruitful here but I think this is not
realistic when capitalism is stumbling and falling anyway.
On the other hand I can imagine an evolutionary way to the GPL
society. Free Software is one building block, Wikipedia another one
and in the other thread we are exploring what could be there. It will
take time but I think it is completely unrealistic to expect changes
of eons happen in ten years.
Mit Freien Grüßen
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