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Physical and other contemporary limits to peer production (was: Re: [ox-en] reprap, exploitation, free goods etc)

Hi Patrick and all!

I'm picking up this thread because I had to make a choice. If things
said in other threads are relevant to this thread then please forgive
me that I did not read them yet.

This post is a reply to a couple of Patrick's posts.

2 months (77 days) ago Patrick Anderson wrote:
Even if Rep-Rap did what it claimed, "self-replicating" is NOT the
solution to the problems facing society.

Well, I think trying to solve all problems of a society with a single
concept is really two or three numbers too big... But then I agree to
you: self-replication - or not - is certainly a nice idea but it does
not help very much. Also fabbers IMHO are not the solution (TM).

They are certainly interesting but so are industrial robots and other
machines with lots of degrees of freedoms. In fact I think the many
degrees of freedoms of these machines which are crystallized to
something useful by software is what is really interesting here. This
way the abilities of humans to process matter are more and more moved
to machines freeing humans for more interesting tasks.

In fact this is a two-fold development. On the one hand flexible
machines free humans to enjoy more Selbstentfaltung than being an
appendix of the assembly line. On the other hand it makes the
information part in physical production bigger - which brings physical
production closer to the information realm - which we know works
different from the material realm.

2 months (77 days) ago Patrick Anderson wrote:
The solution we keep avoiding is discovering how to share physical
sources in a manner analogous to how Free Software helps us share
virtual sources.

I'll get back to the sharing below.

The GPL Society requires physical production, not just "Open Design",
and physical production requires physical sources (traditionally
called the "Means of Production").

Certainly. And I'm glad you bring up the good old notion of means of
production. In fact Free Software is possible because the means of
production for this type of Selbstentfaltung are pretty wide-spread
(modulo poor countries). In fact the means of producing Free Software
meanwhile are part of the common infrastructure more or less - at
least as far as the hardware is concerned. Brains are a different
thing though.

Even for Free Software this was not always the case. There were a time
when people developed Free Software mostly on university hardware. If
you like they abused these means of production for something else.
Anyway the ampleness of these means of production to be used for these
things seems to be an important precondition. May be this is something
we should look for when trying to overcome contemporary limits.

In fact there are information goods which need pretty big means of
production to be produced. Just think of research. Much research needs
huge and extremely expensive machines to produce machines. Space
research, sub-atom research, pharmaceutical research, ... All these
types of research more or less produce information. But they face the
same problems in terms of peer production as producing physical goods.

In fact one main point of an extension of peer production into fields
which are less obvious peer production candidates is the availability
of the means of production. And not just asking a few people whether
they want to help out with some labor as Christian suggests. Today
Free Software being a sustainable and enduring economy creates the
means of production independent of other products. Still Free Software
relies on physical means of production.

Making physical sources available "at cost" to the consumers that use
those products would create a dynamic similar to what Free Software
does in the 'virtual' realm when it makes virtual sources available
"at cost" to the users of those products.

I think you underestimate the complexity of modern societies by far. I
have no idea what to do with a complicated CNC machine. I once saw
one. And I saw an expert for that machine who - because of his
knowledge about metals and his experience - were able to cope with
that machine. I'm not, I probably never will and I even do not want
it. And complicated CNC machines is of course just one random example
of a million ones.

The degrees of freedom these machines have need to be filled by
experts in their fields. So I really wonder why sharing the means of
production in the sense that everyone has access to them makes sense.
I don't need to access the means of that production process - though I
may need access to the results of that production process (aka
external openness).

That is also very similar to Free Software. It is nice that I can hack
the Linux kernel but in practice I'm glad that there are a few experts
who do that for me. (Well, there really was one instance where I used
the sources of some kernel driver to make some old hardware work ;-) .)

2 months (77 days) ago Patrick Anderson wrote:
*Pure Design*
*Pure Design*
*Pure Design*

May be. But design *is* important. Even in the car industry AFAIK the
design part of a car makes up for a big part of the total cost -
tendency: going up. In a way the car manufacturers are running more
and more into the problem of software sellers: The costs of creating
the information product - aka design - need to be transferred to the
number of physical products produced. The cost for building a physical
product become relatively smaller.

So pure Free Design is at least a way to reduce the bill of capitalist
industry and - by way of competition - the bill of consumers. That
happens already for Free Software of course.

"Marcin Jakubowski comments on Stan Rhodes' Peer Trust Network proposal"
This is as close as we get.  Stan is working on the real issue:
sharing physical sources.

His approach is different from mine, and it sounds like he has decided
sharing physical sources will require more technology?!

Every society which should replace the current ones needs more

My approach can happen right now with the most ancient of technologies.

I don't know whether you shared your approach already but ancient
technologies will brings us nowhere. Well, they will bring us backward
into history. But capitalism does already a pretty good job in that

2 months (77 days) ago Patrick Anderson wrote:
Is anyone here interested in discussing cost recovery needed for
"Freedom Hardware"?

Well, the concept of cost is a bit vague because depending on the
society you are using it in it can mean a lot of different things. For
instance in Christian feudal societies some types of cost may have
been measured in years you need to stay in hell after death.

In capitalism cost comes down to own thing: dead labor. There is of
course also raw materials but very few raw materials can be simply
picked up from the ground so dead labor is at least an important point
also for raw materials.

In peer production, however, ideally dead labor doesn't exist any
more. The human activity necessary for producing things is no longer
dead labor but Selbstentfaltung - which is very different from dead

So the question you may well pose in capitalism and other systems
based on dead labor - like Christian's - becomes meaningless in a
society based on peer production.

2 months (76 days) ago Patrick Anderson wrote:
Are you saying I should just be quiet and wait?

Whether or not this makes sense to you is of course a question nobody
can answer than you. However, IMHO it simply does not make sense to
fight a battle which probably is still some centuries down the road -
though I really don't know which battle you are fighting in.

2 months (76 days) ago Patrick Anderson wrote:
How can I really be sure nobody is ready for it unless I ask everyone?

Nice that you ask but otherwise this sounds very much like a
missionary :-/ .

However, the Internet / web has the wonderful feature that people can
look for what they search. This way many, many interesting people
found their way to Oekonux - just to name an obvious example. So you
may just put up a web site think about some good keywords and check it
appears in Google.

I'm only here seeking help so that WE can work
toward physical freedom.  I might be able to eventually do it on my
own, but we are running out of time, so just wanted to see if anyone
else could help me debug it.

My cent hoping it is useful for you and others.

However, as it seems Oekonux and time is really mature for this whole
debate. I could imagine that this will be the focus topical field for
Oekonux for quite some time.



Contact: projekt

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