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[ox-en] Re: BitTorrent and tit for tat

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Hi list!

Just a quick thought on this.

2 days ago Stefan Merten wrote:
Last week (13 days ago) Michel Bauwens wrote:
To the degree a system moves to the scarcity continuum, it needs management
of the commons to incentive participation and discourage free-riding, to the
degree it moves to real abundance; it needs those less ...

I think this puts it very well.

I don't know exactly how BitTorrent implements the tit-for-tat but if
it is exchange in the sense of exchange of equivalents then one needs
to offer as much bandwidth as s/he consumes.

This of course would abstract from the concrete situation of a person
and lead to all the downsides of exchange of equivalents we know so
well from capitalism. In particular: If you don't have (enough)
upstream bandwidth to offer for any reason then you are not allowed to
use (enough) downstream bandwidth. This hits people with bad
infrastructure - like in poorer countries - but also this applies to
the typical ADSL line user who has less upstream bandwidth than
downstream bandwidth. [1]_

.. [1] Because of the ADSL problem actually I don't think BitTorrent
       uses exchange of equivalents.

In other words: If it is exchange of equivalents as in capitalism then
we *immediately* have the problems connected to this scheme. In fact
these problems are intrinsic to exchange of equivalents. For a society
interested in / based on production of use value - aka peer production
based society - this is lethal.

If on the other hand it is not exchange of equivalents then I'd say
that the term exchange is misleading. In fact there is nothing
exchanged here. Rather this would be a management scheme to maintain
the commons as Michel explained it. Such a management scheme could be
modified to take care of inequalities or replaced by a different
scheme or abandoned completely if it is no longer needed. For instance
people with a high bandwidth connection could be forced to offer more
bandwidth while people with only an analog modem need not offer
bandwidth at all. Or if statistics show that bandwidth is actually not
the problem then this whole thing simply could be switched off giving
people their freedom back.

Then we are talking of politics / governance again, i.e. of human
decisions to solve a certain problem taking into account everything
which makes sense. This is the opposite of the abstract rule of
exchange of equivalents. In fact I'm all for such governance schemes
instead of employing inhumane abstractions like exchange of

So for me the
really scarce resource is the number of people who risk punishment for
downloading a file.

Oops - that obviously should have been "punishment for *illegal
offering of copyrighted material*"


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