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

On 2008-07-11 06:04, Michel Bauwens wrote:
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

Again you take it too general: An X who successfully surrounds itself 
with money outcompete those who do not. This is generally true within 
capitalism - it says nothing about the X.

The crucial point is what function money in a project has. Is it 
some "basic income" for the volonteers, or is a means to finance the 
project survival by producing things for selling?

And a project which bases on _outcompeting_ other projects cannot be a 
project in the sense of a peer economy we wish. Outcompeting means 
winning on the ground of the old market principles, outcooperating 
means winning by creating new grounds ignoring the way of functioning 
of the old. This is the difference we should see, and in my view only 
the latter is acceptable.

Btw. a side remark (also for Sam): money and business are by no means 
natural things. They cannot create an "ecolology". This is a myth, but 
as Marx had shown, a kind of "real operating myth". We should not 
render homage to the fetish.

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.

IHMO you are making general statements and deduce your precise 
statemants from this general view. You neglect the different functions 
money can have. The danger is: Treating money general leads to treating 
money as an end in itself.

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.

Sorry, 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.

You are using business talk, and for business it may be ok. But for 
analysis we have to be precise: There is no such thing like a 
"conversion" of use value into exchange value, by which means ever. Use 
value and (exchange) value do not exist for themselves, and they are 
not operable entities, but solely analytical terms.

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.

Well, you can't measure use value, but in the core I argue for the same 
point based on prices.

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.

Yes! This is exactly what step 3 of germ form theory addresses. The new 
can only be successful if it has a postive function for the old. But at 
the same time -- and this my point here -- the new must not reproduce 
the way of operating of the old. If a project works in more or less 
same ways of the old, then it is part of the old.

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 profits.

I see this is very similar to my point above.

Yes, fine.

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.

Yes, however, we are analyzing that behavior and statements, and we have 
to understand, that they are wrong. Otherwise we reproduce that wrong 
understanding. This is the difference between business talk and 

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.


Puh, good.

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.

Yes, but we should not overtake the capitalist perspective as ours. Our 
analysis should be clear and free from illusions.

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

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 intersection.

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.

I also think we are not very far apart, but we should not oversee the 
dfferent functions money and market can play, and we should keep the 
core principles of our projects free from money and market logic.

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.

Yes, and it inevitably changes its type when it switches to market 
success. I have seen so many projects where becoming lasting meant 
loosing their original purpose.


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