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Re: Role of markets (was: Re: [ox-en] Re: Fundamental text by StefanMn and StefanMz)

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On Tue, Aug 12, 2008 at 1:35 PM, Stefan Meretz <stefan.meretz>wrote:

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.

ok, then it is a semantic issue. I accept the existence of the Catholic
Church, for me, this doesn't make me a 'Catholic-conform' person ...

This is my position to markets.

Why would markets be indistinguishable from capitalism, since they have
existed outside of it, much longer than within it.

Current capitalist markets depend on the destruction of the biosphere, and
can simply not perdure. So the question is what will replace it for dealing
for the production and distribution of rival goods. Until we have a better
way that is proven, I think most people will choose market approaches, and I
do not have, nor wish for, to have the coercive power to impeach them to do

By the way, fair trade exists and is growing steadily, and it is a
non-capitalist market form; similarly other approaches like
social-enterpreneurship are growing, and they are distinguishable from
capitalist corparations. In both cases, the profit motive is not primary,
and subsumed to a social goal.

So, given that it is possible, the question is not, can they exist, but can
they become stronger than the existing capitalist logic?

My approach is actually, not to say that these non-capitalist forms will
become dominant, but that capitalism will have to disappear as the
meta-system, for the sake of the survival of the planet and humanity, and
that these non-capitalist forms will be subsumed to the peer to peer logic.
As a matter of fact, I think that the genuine forms of fair trade, social
enterpreneurship, and even BOP, are already doing so, on a small scale.


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".

See above for an empirical refutation of that answer, so your questions
would have to be formulated on a macro-scale, and to see whether you are
correct there, we have to wait <g>

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
unreproductive labor'.*

*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:

I'm not sure on what aspect the wishful thinking refers to, but the Linux
economy would prove its possiblitity, of course in this case, they are
capitalist market forms which sustain peer production.

  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.

No, I don't think this 'regression' is at all what I meant, since I have in
mind a dynamic, complex society that has as it core, not -CM-C, which is a
technical subsystem. Once accumulation is out, I predict a flowering of
non-market forms as well. See already the emerging 'adventure economy' in
travel lodging and many other p2p exchanges that coordinate the exchange of
services outside of the market.

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.

This is a crucial passage, just below here,  the type of way is indeed
crucial ... we agree on that, and do you agree that the answer that we have
so far, is not satisfactory?


  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.


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