Role of markets (was: Re: [ox-en] Re: Fundamental text by StefanMn and StefanMz)
- From: Stefan Meretz <stefan.meretz hbv.org>
- Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2008 08:35:21 +0200
Hi Michel and all,
On 2008-08-12 05:12, Michel Bauwens wrote:
As you mention, my own 'market-conform' approach, it is not a
characterization I would accept.
I also want to stress that an acceptance of market forms, does not
imply a justification of capitalism.
Hm, I would name "acceptance of market forms" a "market-conform
approach". The question is whether today markets can be separated from
capitalism. I don't think so.
I did a little rehersal on the place of the market in a peer to peer
*The open questions is therefore: can we have markets without the
unsustainability of the capitalist format and its attendent
biospheric destruction and social and psychic dislocation?*
I would answer this question with "no".
Perhaps one thing we can do is learn from pre-capitalist markets?
Mute summarizes Brenner's position:
"*Exchange-based production existed in many pre-capitalist societies
before taking root in early modern Europe.Because pre-capitalist
societies are fundamentally agrarian, both exploiters and direct
producers have access to their own means of subsistence. 'As a
result', writes Brenner*,
their survival and reproduction is not dependent on the sale of their
products on the market; consequently they do not have to compete in
terms of productive powers.
*Under these conditions, 'the market exerts no pressure toward the
continual revolution of the means of production'. According to
Brenner, '[t]he increase of relative surplus labor cannot become a
systematic feature of such modes of production'. Brenner also notes
that there is a bias in pre-capitalist societies toward the
realisation of 'absolute', as opposed to 'relative', surplus value.
Because labour is compulsory for serfs and slaves, lords and masters
tend to extract additional surplus labour by lengthening the working
day or extending the corvée, rather than through technological
innovation. As a result, there is little reason to invest profits in
the development of productive forces. 'Rather than being accumulated,
economic surplus is here systematically diverted from reproduction to
*Brenner, following Marx, argues that capitalism emerges only when
labourers are both free to sell their labour power on the market as a
commodity, and compelled to do so in order to survive*."
So at the very least, we can see that markets have existed, and can
exist, but subsumed to another dominant economic model, which is an
important point to prove. Of course, as pointed out by Brenner, in a
feudal model, its benefits will be used largely by the dominant class
in that system.
A market in a peer to peer society would of course have to be
beneficial first of all to the peer producers themselves.
This is wishful thinking, in my view. I put a comment to your blog post:
You (following Brenner) described markets in a pre-capitalist C-M-C
(C: commodity, M: money) society, where any immanent “pressure toward
the continual revolution of the means of production” did not exist.
Ok. Then, in capitalism you have the dominant M-C-M’ mode, where
making more money from invested money is the goal, which every player
have to follow. And now, you are thinking of going backwards to a
nice C-M-C-society? Did I understand you right this way? In my view,
nothing is more unrealistic than that.
Franz then wrote another comment:
Markets have traditionally existed at the borders of communities,
mediating relations to remote sources of indespensible or luxurious
Its imagineable that in local communities there is an arrangement
similar to moral economies of the past, but on a much more developed
scale: to mutually complement each others needs by a “virtual cycle”
of producers or producing communities. Such an arrangement could be
built on the decentralized powers of production and automation and a
keen material resource flow scheme similar to natural biotopes.
It seems much more difficult to close such cycles on a large scale;
so maybe for a long time external markets coexist with “local
communisms”. The productivity disadvantage that made such “local
communisms” obsolete in earlier times is gradually disappearing.
This is a different question and worth to evaluate: The coexistence of
markets and local communisms/commonisms. There, the local communities
do not reproduce via market relations, but they interact with outside
markets in some way. The type of "way" is essential.
Start here: www.meretz.de
Contact: projekt oekonux.de