Re: [ox-en] Democracy and peer production
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Wed, 15 Jul 2009 21:40:29 +0200
Hi Till and all!
Whew - I re-triggered a really interesting debate :-) .
Yesterday Till Mossakowski wrote:
when you give up democracy, what replaces it?
"Selbstentfaltung", non-alienation and peer production do not
"automatically" consider the needs of people.
Well, for the deep meaning of the term Selbstentfaltung you could
probably even argue that it does consider the needs of people *by
definition*. But this only moves the question to what really is an
implementation of Selbstentfaltung...
I find these
"automatisms" quite dangerous.
Well, democracy is also a kind of automatism - right?
Since I know you are a heavy supporter of democracy: May be you can
summarize what you think are important goals for which democracy is a
To put it frankly: this opens the door for little dictators,
who often have to be disempowered by strength-draining forks.
There are a number of examples of this in the free software
But isn't this exactly how democracy works? The change of a government
certainly comes not without cost so I don't see why forking is so much
But you actually mentioned one important institution to transfer power
from one maintainer to another: forking. Whether a fork is really
necessary is decided in practice then (and it rarely is given the low
number of forks).
Indeed one of the nice features of democracy is that you can get rid
of your government without a bloodshed. This is a feature we certainly
want to keep in a post-democratic society.
Actually, in "Wisdom of Crowds", James Surowiecki mentions
Linux as a positive example but questions the way of
Torvalds' maintainership. By contrast, he empirically shows
that the best way of decision making that is based on many
individual opinions that have been obtained independently
of each other. Certainly not the way current representative
democracy works, but still I would call this democracy:
many opinions, and not just a few, lead to a decision.
Well, my best description on how decision making in peer production
can be described is by finding a consensus (== nobody has to object).
Listening to the needs of people is obviously a precondition for that.
That I'd call a participative process.
But I'd call an opinion poll like you described not democracy. May be
I'd define as democracy a situation where you have one human, one
vote - and vote means that you can choose among several options.
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