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Re: [ox-en] New economic model for free technology?

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Well, I for one save responding to the Oekonux main lists to times
when I have enough time *and* brain to say something useful. Sometimes
this can last *very* long ;-) .

It was not really a great conference for me. I found Yochai Benkler
to be very inspiring, but Lessig, though having a strong presence,
to be somewhat arrogant, needing to 'put down' Benkler on several
occasions. Also, he does not have a concept of peer production at
all, for him P2P is filesharing, nothing more.

Well, to my knowledge I think you are the only one who use the term
P2P in this sense. Though I think this in an interesting idea it is
hard to expect others to know what you mean.


<<BENKLER HAS BEEN using the concept of peer production for a number of years now, and with Fortune, Business Week and Business 2.0. all having special features on the trend, you'd expect Lessig to know about it.

I guess I know what you mean but I value that very most people in the
Free Software community accept the world as it is. One of the main
strengths of the Free Software movement IMHO that it is *not* a
political movement as we all know them.


<<THEY ACCEPT IT but they are only changing it. Is politics altogether obsolete for you? I do not mean representative democracy politics generally, but purposeful intentional human creation of the conditions of collective life.

So my conundrum,
and that of many others is to find a sustainable way to be creative,
outside of the market, or through some kind of compromise. Surely
that is one of the priorities for peer production, both short term,
individual solutions, but looking for a general social solution in
the long term.

I'd agree but today I'd say we are not yet there that it is really
possible to leave capitalism. However, Free Software, Wikipedia, etc.
are already making live cheaper.


<<ON THE ONE hand you argue for a GPL society, one hundred percent nonreciprocal, on the other hand, you totally accept society as is, without any transitional strategy.


Equality of opportunity is not only nice but a pre-condition to employ
the full potential of a society. Because of this I think equality of
opportunity is something useful in capitalism but even more so in the
GPL society.

Equality in collective decision making I'm a bit sceptical about.
*Real* equality would mean that everyone is an expert in the
respective topic. This is of course impossible and also nothing I'd
wish for. So we are left with some sort of half-way equality always.


<<POLITICAL EQUALITY DOES not have to mean that everyone decides about everything, the same process of self-selection as in peer production could apply, where those with the expertise and willingness to engage would work on the problems of their choice. But it would no longer be money which decides about who can decide.

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


I think we already have the productive capacities nobody needs to
hunger (which is probably a proven fact) and also to have a decent
life style. So no more "Who does not work may not eat!" is necessary
any more.

If we unleash the power of automation of a GPL society we could even
quickly remove painful work so the level of (structural) force
necessary to make people do something useful will become smaller.


<<<ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE 'CAPITALIST ROAD TO COMMUNISM' advocated by left libertarians such as Philippe Van Parijs. Seems you definitely fall in that category. Or not?

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.

monopoly and power relations, it is a vehicle of inequality and
exclusion. In reciprocity-schemes, everyone's time is considered to
be of equal value.

I think that money reflects other societal aspects is not by chance
but has reasons. I think these reasons are based in the very
construction of exchange based societies and as such they can not be
discussed away. Considering everyone's time equal neglects these
reasons and so always can only be no more than an appendix to the
money form which integrates these aspects.


<<< AGREED. So the answer is: 1) have a set of alternative/complementary currencies as an 'appendix' as you put it; 2) have an adopted protocol for mainstream money. Both go together.

There is room for both.

May be.

Money is the protocol of
social exchange, if you change its rule of circulation, that has a
large effect on the type of society that is promoted.

Indeed. Including it may not function any more.

To me reciprocity-based relations are mainly a mean
to distribute
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.

MARKET EXCHANGE IS NOT RECIPROCITY at all, just exchange, there is
no long term relationship established, it is just a point in time.

Ah, I think I see the fine difference you make here. Nonetheless I
think a lot of market exchange has to do with long term relationships.
For instance the very existence of brands is a strong hint for it
because a brand only makes sense if it is recognzed in the future.

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
any way.

AGREED, BUT PERSONAL SERVICES ARE A very large part of people's
well-being, especially in the poorer countries. It makes a huge
difference to enable reciprocity and exchange outside the sphere of
the capitalist market.

Ok, ...

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. 

I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT. THIS IS WHY LETS and open money schemes are
called complementary.

...and then we actually don't have a quarrel any more :-) .

However, I'd rather ask whether there are ways to organize these
things without another exchange system. I mean *if* we are taking of
personal services anyway which often contain a good amount of direct
honoring - that warm feeling in the belly - then why using an exchange
system at all?

BUT THIS IS NOT TO SAY that even the standard
money system cannot be reformed, see Bernard Lietaer.

I'm not saying that it can not be reformed. The question is whether it
makes sense and what are the reasons that money actually is what it
is. I think these reasons exists and if a reform doesn't address these
reasons it is doomed to failure.


<<I'M SURE THAT there a lot of monetary cranks around with an inadequate understanding, but I think that directors of central banks have a pretty good understanding of the current monetary system. See issue 99 of my newsletter for a number of sites and discussions on the topic.



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