[ox-en] Balancing need and Selbstentaltung by governance?
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Wed, 04 Nov 2009 20:22:10 +0100
Recently once again I thought about the problem of balancing need and
Selbstentaltung. I think this is the fundamental question which
concepts like Christian are struggling for: How is the societal need
balanced with Selbstentaltung.
Indeed it is the pressing question for all transformative
considerations. Currently we live in a society where societal need and
Selbstentaltung are not balanced [#]_. When we are heading for a
society which is based on peer production, in the final state
Selbstentaltung and societal need are balanced, however. And I'm sure
that mankind is smart enough to make this possible ;-) .
.. [#] If you think longer about it this already is indeed a good
question: Is everything which is produced / labored for now is
really part of a societal need? Are tanks a societal need?
However, the question of what is a "real" societal need and
what not is a also a old and hard one and probably only
solvable in practice. I leave this out here.
I think the fundamental problem is that *societal needs may differ
from volunteer needs*.
If I analyze it that way then the fundamental answer is simple: If you
want to satisfy societal needs then you need coercion. However, if we
think of a society based on peer production the societal needs *need*
to be satisfied: If people struggle for mere existence they can not
Selbstentfalt at all. Selbstentfaltung needs a society where everybody
is cared for.
Of course coercion of any kind is a contradiction to Selbstentaltung -
that is probably why we don't like it. I agree that it is a bit hard
to accept but I think it is important to make that point explicit: If
we can not do everything by volunteerism then we need coercion of some
The next question then is: How can a coercion system look like which
does not damage Selbstentfaltung.
The standard answer of capitalism or Christian's model is to use
abstract coercion by rewarding people with benefits they are only
allowed to enjoy if they somehow contribute to the societal needs. I
agree that this is one sort of coercion and we are all sooo used to
it. However, obviously this sort of abstraction introduces all kinds
of alienation and the problems accompanied by this alienation. In
particular it is an automatic system which is beyond the control of
The alternative IMHO is to create an explicit governance scheme where
people are coerced to execute societal necessary tasks as part of
their normal lifes. The big advantage of such an explicit governance
scheme is that it is subject to political decisions. Contrary to blind
automatisms as just outlined political decisions are able to take into
account different situations of people. I think this is something
useful to strive for.
I also put some of these thoughts to the `drawing board`_ where I'm
still trying to gather all these important questions and ideas.
.. _drawing board: http://en.wiki.oekonux.org/Oekonux/DrawingBoard
What do you think?
Contact: projekt oekonux.de