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Re: [ox-en] There is no such thing like "peer money"

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Yes. It depends on what "established" means. Say, the big free software
project have committers doing singly free software development. That's
well known, and that's not a bad thing, that's a good thing. I always
said this.

My point is not to critique you for not having said this.

Let me explain the dynamics under the form of the 3 laws of asymmetric

1) a for-profit company cannot compete with a hyperproductive peer to peer
community assisted by a for-benefit assocation

2) for profit companies that close cannot compete with for-profit companies
that open up, i.e. adapt to p2p dynamics

3) for-benefit assn. and p2p communities that successfully surround
themselves with a business ecology outcompete those that do not

It is the third 'law' which makes the mutual adaptation crucial and which is
an effect of the current role of money. However, peer production could
choose to surround itself with different forms of business ecologies than
just for-profit companies

No surprise.

What I find a bit annoying is opposition of being a professional and a
volunteer: Most volunteers _are_ professionals (oops, do I destroy
another myth?), and most of them are paid (where ever). Ok, this is not
the point here.

I agree and never said that, volunteer can be professional, pro-Am, or
amateur, or just good at a particular thing.

No, that's too general, because money is an inevitable part of our live
in capitalism. This conclusion is simply inescapable, but it says all
and therefore nothing.

I think you miss the point. I'm not making a general statement, but pointing
out a very precise mechanism, i.e. the role of money is crucial both for the
general infrastructure of cooperation (where it is usually done through
foundations and their fundraising), but also in the non-conditional payment
of the core peer producers.

We have to talk about economy and role free software plays inside
capitalism. Free software is free of value, it is not scarce, everyone
can take it for free (ignoring service and tux-stuff). Why should
companies pay developers developing stuff free of value? From the
narrow standpoint of a company this is burning money. But they are not
so dumb.

You are confusing exchange value with use value. Free software has
tremendous use value and can be converted in substantial exchange value
through added value services surrounding it.

Companies have vital strategic interests in supporting free software, which
dramatically slashes their infrastructure cost, leaving them free to compete
in their core value propositions.

See and

However, Adam and my crisis of value theory suggests that we are now able to
produce much more use value directly (exponential rise of use value), and
that only at the margins is exchange value realized. For example, I have
read that while Linux now represents $36B in market value, it also destroys
about $60B a year in the market value of proprietary firms.

This suggest how crucial it is for business to actually associate itself
with peer production, because failing to do so is a recipe for disaster
wherever 'open' competitors are emerging.

Free software replaces proprietary software and takes its market share.
In other words: A price-less thing replaces a priced thing. The
companies are doing this, because they can make their business on top
of this conquered market, while the conquered market itself delivers no

I see this is very similar to my point above.

Citing your cooptation-post: "Linux creates value for the enterprise, it
lowers our cost of managing software, it increases peoples' budgets for
hardware and services. The first part is wrong: Linux creates no value, but
only costs for the

  enterprise [IBM] paying developers. Well, in a less rigid
  understanding, one can say Linux _indirectly_ creates value, although
  it consumes a lot of money.

I think there are semantic issues there. Most people do not use value in
your marxist sense. When they get a same thing for 10% of the previous cost,
they assume that this is a lot of value, and from their point of view that
is entirely legitimate.

The first part is wrong: Linux creates no value, but only costs for the
enterprise [IBM] paying developers. Well, in a less rigid
understanding, one can say Linux _indirectly_ creates value, although
it consumes a lot of money.

Two indirect effects are adressed in the second and the third part:
Linux lowers some costs and increases budgets for hardware and
services. That's definitively true.

But what does this mean? In the last century IBM sold OS, hardware, and
service, now they pay for an OS, in order to sell hardware and service.
Great progress. -- For me, this is indeed great, because free software
freed some OS market share from OS being a commodity -- and IBM payed
this liberation!

Now, we have some background to understand what paying committers really
mean. By penalty of death IBM and many more _must_ burn money to rescue
their remaining markets. They must pay committers to guarantee, that
their specialities get supported, that their yet proprietary software
runs on top of GNU/Linux OS etc.


And this is a great situation for the developers, because they can earn
money doing a job which they really like to do. These salaries are
different from the salaries a developer in a proprietary company gets:
The proprietary developer has to produce things which have to be sold,
the paid free developer does not. The prop. developer works in far more
alienated environments (you described it) than the free developer.
However, free developers are not completely free, there _are_ paid,
they underly constraints etc. Thus the product is free, but the process
is not (difference between singly and doubly free software).

I agree with this analysis of the dynamic.

Using my criterion of having slim interfaces to the money world and
having money not playing an internal role, then this is valid for free
software projects with paid developers: you have a constant flow of
money into the project, but the money is not used to generate more
money by producing sellable products. On the contrary: There is no
money or product-to-market flow to the outside world. This is
essential, and this is my point!

This is true from the point of view of peer production/producers only, from
the piont of view of the company, this is part of the broader process of
selling commodities, i.e. the primary commodity of free software, which is
no longer a commodity but 'dramatically cheaper' primary raw material, is a
condition for them selling the secondary commodities.

You really have to see both at the same time, it's a matter of perspective.
For capitalist, it is just a new tool to make money, but for peer producers,
the whole process enlarges the field of relative autonomy from capitalism.

But be careful, the situation is different for projects producing
material goods. So don't be too fast with generalizations. The
generalization into the material world is the topic of Christians book.

Yes, but Christian's book is a utopian proposition (I don't mean to say this
negatively) of how things could be; I have actually give a lot of thought of
the interplay between the immaterial-nonrival and material-rival

I don't think we are very far apart, but I think it is just as important to
see the crucial role that money plays.

The reason is that the situation of a starting peer project, that operates
at the margins of society, inevitable changes when it wants to become
lasting and successfull and needs to fund both its infrastructure of
cooperation and its core maintainers.



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