Re: [ox-en] Re: Personal/impersonal concrete/abstract
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2006 09:12:07 +0100
Hi StefanMz and all!
4 months (135 days) ago Stefan Meretz wrote:
On Tuesday 08 November 2005 08:34, Stefan Merten wrote:
The discussion below refers to a analytical problem I am troubled
with. In analysing peer to peer production processes, it does
seem to me that the cooperation is impersonal and loose, rather
than personal as in premodern times. Is there any potential for a
'dialectical synthesis' of both aspects, or is P2P indeed only
impersonal, but than without alienation, as you say below? Has
anyone worked on this, and also, can someone refer me to the work
of St. Mz where he outlines the differences between personal
concrete, personal abstract.
My starting point is the historical development of forces of
production. This term "development of forces of production" describes
very generally, how humans produce their lives. It grasps the
triangle relationship between humans, means, and nature. Each of
these aspects are determining an epoch: first, the "natural" epoch,
where humans predominantly produce their lives via developing the
ways of cultivating the ground;
What do you think were the end / goal in these societies? I'd think it
was the higher honor of God - i.e. an religious motive. Certainly not
an end people generally share after the Enlightenment.
second, the "industrial" epoch, where
humans predominantly produce their lives via developing the means (as
tools, machinary, industry, science);
The end / goal in these (money-based) societies is (maximizing) money.
third, the "human" epoch, where
humans develop themselfs as an end in itself.
At least if you see it from an post-Enlightenment perspective. But
that's probably the perspective of many people on this planet - though
probably (still) not of all.
What we currently
observe (my hypothesis), is the transition between second and third
The historically different types of producing the humans lives evolve
in a corresponding societal form. The societal forms are the ways, how
humans build relationsships between each other when producing their
lives (when they just *live*). The corresponding forms of the three
epochs above are: "natural epoch" with personal-concrete domination
(different types of personal domination: slavery, feudal domination
etc.); "industrial epoch" with abstract-alienated domination (abstract
domination by the impersonal mechanism of making more money from
money); "human epoch" - personal-concrete non-dominion form of
So personal-concrete describes the feudal as well as the GPL society.
I remember vaguely that I stumbled over this some years ago ;-) .
I'm a bit sceptical about the domination part here. I think we still
do not understand domination as a concept very well and therefore I
tend to be a bit careful here.
I'd rather use the term alienation here where alienation means
something along the lines: Alienation describes a certain quality in a
relationship between a human and another entity (thing, societal
concept, human, ...). The quality "alienated" then means that the
relationship doesn't reflect important aspects of the human.
Problem is: What is an important aspect of the human? However, I think
for now we can go with the post-Enlightenment values like human rights
So the difference is not personal-concrete vs. personal-abstract (I
don't know, what this could be), but personal or abstract types of
domination - and the free society without domination including a type
of societal organisation, which bases on personal relationships. This
does not necessarily mean, that "you know each other" (which is
impossible), but the cooperation is driven by humans and their goals
instead of an abstract impersonal mechanism (what we have in
I'll try to explore this a bit. Please jump in if I got something
So personal vs. impersonal stands mainly for what drives a society? Am
I right if I think that this mainly means non-alienated? I.e. the
society is driven by the personal needs / wishes of the people?
In this sense it seems to me that concrete vs. abstract describes the
same: Concrete is when there is a non-alienated relationship while
abstract describes a alienated relationship.
If I'm right both qualities - personal/impersonal and
concrete/abstract - seem to refer to the same thing. In a sense you
are saying this as well when you are using additional attributes to
distinguish feudal and GPL society. If I got you right you are saying
that the domination / organization type is different.
I feel that this doesn't reflect well what you are also saying: The
quality of the relationship between the human actors. I'd totally
agree that in modern societies it is impossible to know each of those
humans you interact with in some way. And these are lots and lots if
you consider use of their products as some kind of interaction. In
feudal societies I think that this was possible, however. So I'm sure
that *any* (attractive) model of a society needs to cope with the
question how the non-knowing-each-other-but-being-related-thing is
Free Software does this very well. How does it do this exactly? Well,
that's probably the core of the OHA/ODA (Organization, Domination,
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