A few replies follow...
On Wed, Jul 9, 2008 at 8:58 AM, Stefan Meretz <stefan.meretz hbv.org>
On 2008-07-09 11:55, Michel Bauwens wrote:
I think we'll have to do without money from the very start,
otherwise the transition simply won't take place.
From the very start?
This means you are going to outlaw the use of any money, and use
dramatic coercion to achieve that effect.
I'm sorry, but that sounds like a Polpot-ian scheme, and I believe,
Uhh, big misunderstanding.
It is simply not possible "to outlaw the use of any money", we all need
money to reproduce our lives. This is a fact, and *this* is coercion.
The question is: How do we conceptualize our projects? Do they base on
money, market success, and exchange or not? Free software does not.
Yes, there is a lot of money involved, but free software by its core
functioning does not base on it. This is the dialectical property of
free software: it bases on selbstentfaltung and also supports making
money, but it does not function by making money (the contrary is true:
is replaces proprietary only-made-for-money production).
Next question: How can a project making no money survive in an
environment, where things are bought with money? Here, it is useful to
distinguish between internal project relationships and the
relationships to the outside world: Inside a project the relationships
should be free of money and exchange, while it may not avoidable to
have money-based relationships to the outside money driven world.
I thought this myself for quite a while. I set up projects based around
this assumption above. But, the reality of complex systems is that money
always creeps in, and it is very hard to maintain a barrier. It almost takes
more effort than it is worth, in many cases. This is because the human
ecology we are operating in is largely driven by money as a medium of
exchange. Instead, what I am finding is that *shifting* money the point of
consumption becomes a good way to adapt non-money systems into a
money-driven human ecology.
This was the result of ongoing discussions between myself and Steve
Bosserman (he wrote about it here
http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/steve_bosserman/2008/02/09/giving_it_away_making_money.htm) in thinking about practical ways to begin exploring projects based on open
licensed content, open source software, and open license design products.
The goal here is to help people and projects who are developing open
licensed to prosper as much as possible in existing money-driven human
ecologies. The goal is to help them to *outcompete* existing non-open
licensed traditional businesses so that many people will choose them as a
provider of services or products (possibly because they can offer a wider
range of choices and don't force people to choose a one-size-fits-all
product or service), and or to help them create or find new niches in
emerging human ecologies, and grow those niches.
People who choose open licensed content, software, or product commons as a
basis for their problem solving (and business) will find they have much more
freedom to innovate, to meet unique local needs, and to charge much less
while delovering the same quality, lowering the bar of access. At the same
time, in struggling areas of the world, by default they are making their
solutions and innovations available for free.
I think what I describe above is how the transition we are talking about
will happen. Businesses/social solutions based on open licensed "stuff" will
end up becoming a better choice for people in many cases than choices based
on traditional business in money-driven human ecologies. So, for about 3
years now, I have been betting my livelihood on this notion. But, it takes a
new kind of literacy to participate in a commons in way that enhances is,
yet act in ways as an individual that allow you to make a living/earn money
(without destroying the commons). I would like to see more ways emerge for
me to solve problems without falling back on market exchanges.
(non money) resource pooling is one area I have explored, that is working
where I have employed it with others in small expriments. Basically, this is
the creation of a voluntary co-governed commons by people who are able to
realize what surplusses they possess and are willing to contribute. Also,
the old meatball notion of http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?BarnRaisingamong affinity networks. This can work when the tasks and projects at hand
are structured in ways that really do benefit all fo the people involved.
http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?BarnRaising works because everyone
involved is afforded some input in how the "barn" goes up, or at least who
it benfits once it is operational. I think that BarnRaising could be
combined with http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?OpenSpaceTechnology face
to face meetings when possible. If you bring people together, give them a
challenge or problem to solve, let them talk to each other, decide among
themselves how to proceed they will figure out the value of each other and
get something done. I have experienced this numerous times participating in
"open space" -type projects that were focused on actually doing soemthing,
as opposed to just being about discussion (which can still be valuable).
Thoughts from all of you, on all of the above are extremely welcome, as
this is all stuff we are doing right now in different ways.
Again Christians peerconomy model. We don't have that peereconomy based
society yet. How can we start? If we want to create a peerconomy
project (or better a bunch of), then the project need things from the
capitalist world which we cannot produce self. Thus you need money.
Now, this need of money *must* be decoupled from the internal
functioning of the project in the sense, that, say, products from the
project can not be "exported" to the money world, in order to finance
the project. The "money interface" should be as slim as possible. For
instance bounty-based. Or by fixed contributions by the members. Or, as
Christian proposed, bringing money into the project is viewed as
a "task" and accepted as a "contribution" (in the special meaning of
his concept) like other tasks done are contributions. Etc. Assuming
there are more peerconomy projects, then the relationships
between these projects must be as money-free as the project-internal
relationship are. Ok, I stop here -- this needs a careful discussion
and a lot of new ideas.
I have yet to read Chris's book http://peerconomy.org/wiki/Main_Page, but
I will purchase a copy and look forward to reading it. Looks like it will
offer some more ideas about applicable ways to solve problems without money
exchanges. I like the direction you are suggesting here, to make money a
diminished/peripheral factor, instead of the focus. I try to tell people
that if we focus on making something really, really good, that people really
want, there is no way we *won't* be able to somehow match it up with money.
So, as long as you are making things that people really want, you won't have
to worry about/focus on money. And, open licensed building blocks will give
you more freedom to make things people really want. (that and actually
getting those people in question involved in a conversation about what they
really want or need as opposed to using advertising to make them think that
they really want or need what is easiest to produce, as is often done in
money/broadcast media-driven human ecologies)
Conclusion: We'll have to do our projects without money from the very
start in the sense, that money must not be part of the project core
principles. Perform this test: If you beam the project into a
peerconomy society, then generally the project have to work the same way
as it works being an island in the capitalist ocean.
I resonate much more with this approach:
"In a highly specialized, technological society, most of us need to
perform exchanges to live. To do so we need a medium of exchange –
money. Some people, noting this inescapable fact, can see no
alternative but to return to a primitive society, to undo the
millennia-long course of civilization, which they quite
understandably view as an enormous mistake.
Outch, I don't want to read more of this crazy stuff. It declares
exchange to an intrinsic human property, it identifies money with
civilization, it lifts capitalism to heaven and so on.
A negative-interest currency is a step toward the gift economies of
No, this is money botching. And these Gesellian approches are *really*
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