Re: Physical and other contemporary limits to peer production (was: Re: [ox-en] reprap, exploitation, free goods etc)
- From: "Patrick Anderson" <agnucius gmail.com>
- Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 16:53:35 -0600
On Sun, Aug 24, 2008 at 1:23 PM, Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de> wrote:
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.
What I really should have written is:
Even if Rep-Rap does what it claims, we (the users/consumers) don't
even own living instances of the ancient "self-replicating" flora,
fauna and fungi that are the sources of our food, drug, cloth,
shelter, soap, etc., and so are at the mercy of those owners in hoping
they won't charge a price so high above cost that we may not afford
those products. Of course this is already the case in many parts of
the world, and getting worse. Canadians are right now destroying pigs
to increase profit through artificial scarcity.
Technology can be good, and we should use as much of it as we can
within consideration of true ecological costs etc., but the trouble
with Capitalism is NOT that we do not yet have sufficient technology,
but that the Capital (the "Physical Sources" or "Material Means of
Production") we ALREADY have access to is being purposefully withheld
from the user/consumer so that price can be kept above cost (so that
profit or "economic rent" can be taken).
We don't more and fancier tech, we need an inter-owner trade agreement
that guarantees each consumer gains "at cost" access to the Physical
Sources of production. The obvious way to accomplish this is to treat
the price above cost (profit) is treated as an investment from the
consumer who paid it - so that economy will approach perfection as
price approaches cost and profit approaches zero.
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.
That is only true for SINGLY-owned hardware. There is none or almost
no JOINTLY-owned hardware.
There is some hardware sharing as CPU cycles, RAM and HD space, but
those resources are all connected through Capitalist owned networks.
We (the users) do not own the Physical Capital of the internet
infrastructure; it is owned by those intending to keep price above
cost while also applying artificial constraints to keep us (the users)
from achieving our goals so that Economic Rent can continue to be
extracted from us.
Hardware (Physical Capital) that has only a SINGLE owner is the
trivial case. That is why hardware cheap enough to have just a SINGLE
owner such as Personal Computer (PC), Rep-Rap, Desktop Manufacturing
and other avenues that allow a SINGLE owner are so attractive to the
P2P researchers: it side-steps the enormously difficult issues of
JOINT ownership of Physical Sources.
I have no idea what to do with a complicated CNC machine.
No, but you could hire someone to operate those Physical Sources just
as a Free Software user can hire someone operate the Virtual Sources
(source-code) that they have guaranteed "at cost" access to.
It is clumsy to the point of almost impossible for a solitary Free
Software user to hire a programmer to operate those sources (program
that source code), but that is the intent behind the GNU GPL.
Although the user is not guaranteed to have the skills to operate the
sources (program the software), he can always hire someone to do it.
This allows him to "go around" those that would otherwise be
Capitalists keeping sources from users to perpetuate profit.
The GNU GPL perfects competition by insuring the sources of production
are available to the end user = the consumer.
Even if a consumer doesn't know how to raise his own food, drugs,
soap, cloth, building material, etc., it is beneficial for him to own
the living organisms, land, water rights, tools, buildings, fuel, etc.
needed for those products.
When the consumer is the owner of the Means of the Products he needs,
he must pay early (before and during production), but only pays cost -
never profit. He also has full dominion over the outputs of that
production for that round.
If a factory that can make small electronic devices were under such an
agreement, groups of users could bid to rent the factory for some
time-slice so they can have cell-phones, etc. meeting their own
specifications (this is how to stop DRM of course).
In capitalism cost comes down to own thing: dead labor.
I don't know what that means. When I say 'cost' I am talking about
the list of disadvantages to the owners and people in the area caused
by the result of that production.
The initial investments in the durable Capital needed for that
production are a cost.
The investments for the consumable Capital inputs of production that
will be transformed when design is applied to them (metal, plastic,
silicon, etc.) are a cost.
Energy such as gasoline, coal, natural gas, electricity are costs.
Temporarily Inescapable taxes and rent are costs.
Pollution such as noise, smell, particulates, etc. are costs.
If you incidentally enjoy the shade of an apple tree you had installed
for the fruit, you might say it is a negative cost of production.
I say 'wages' are a cost of production because that is how
corporations already calculate it. Profit is what is left over after
paying all costs, including wages.
Would you say it ok to recover costs in Physical Peer Production?
What I mean is, is it ok for a P2P group to charge at least "cost" for
Physical Sources that have real and recurring costs?
The GNU GPL allows not only cost recovery, but sets no limit on the
amount that can be charged. The GNU GPL allows Copyright holders to
charge profit against the users, but simultaneously minimizes profit
by requiring those users gain "at cost" access to the Virtual Sources
(source code) of that production.
Contact: projekt oekonux.de