Uncoupling from the market (was: Re: [ox-en] The "Free Market" requires scarcity)
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2010 09:15:16 +0200
Hi Franz, Nathan, all!
2 months (60 days) ago Franz Nahrada wrote:
Patrick Anderson <agnucius gmail.com> writes
We should be producing for *product* (use value), but are instead
producing for *profit* (exchange value) which cannot abide abundance.
What will we ever do to solve this paradox?
Well, the answer of course is to abolish exchange value.
Well here are some practical ideas:
There are two major problem with these ideas I'd characterize as
uncoupling part of the economy from the market.
The practical one is: Throughout the history of capitalism models like
this have been tried out again and again on all thinkable scales -
From whole countries to a single corporation. None of these
experiments were sustainable or otherwise we would discuss *this* and
not overcoming exchange value by peer production.
At the very minimum I'd ask people pursuing such ideas to look into
history and try to understand what had happened again and again and
why it failed - though I admit that beacuse of the lack of radical
history writing this is not easy. Then for every reiteration of these
models you need to say why it should work this time - be it because
the environment changed (which fundamentally is not the case) or
because you got the idea nobody had before (which is hard to believe).
Sorry to be harsh but mindless repetition of the same mistakes doesn't
help anyone but is a waste of time.
The theoretical one is: These approaches do not address the main
problem that is necessary to overcome the need for exchange value: the
mode of production. They solely operate on an ideological / political
level trying to force some ethical values onto the system of abstract
labor. You see this by sentences like this:
They compete not only
on the monetary level, but also on the cultural level
What we need is simply a poltical organisation that advocates this tye of
I.e.: Political approach.
In short: You need a non-economic actor to force this ideology onto
the producers. The reason for this: It simply happens not by itself.
The reason for this is that ethical value is not part of exchange
value and thus can not be represented by it. As Brecht said in the
The Threepenny Opera: "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral"
("First comes the guzzling then comes the moral." translation by me
probably not very accurate).
If, however, you replace the mode of production by an improved one you
don't need all this - as we see in peer production. Things work out
"by itself" because the results are more useful to many people than in
the old mode. That is the reason why you don't need a political
organization to force the idea of Free Software / Wikipedia /
OpenAccess down the throats of the producers. It is simply more useful
for all participants.
The practical and the theoretical point come together here:
3. Since inside LMOs there is no capital, there is also no production for
profit. To achieve that you are strongly advised to give up the idea of
money as internal tansaction tool.
The practical experience I witnessed is: Even with the most convinced
persons this won't work. There are always parts of the LMOs which are
more successful in the exchange with the external markets than others.
Since those parts still do abstract labor there is a steady pressure
that those parts are better off than the rest. This will destroy your
LMO. You can not change this unless you abolish abstract labor - like
producing as part of your Selbstentfaltung.
That often peer producers are very sceptical of paying someone from
the community to me is an instinctive reaction to this. If you pay
some people you make their concrete work abstract labor and
immediately the scene changes.
But this, in the long run, is the most effective way to get rid of it.
I'm really sorry but meanwhile I think this is really
counterproductive. These models won't work as history has shown again
and again. Believing in such models and preaching them gives hope to
people which otherwise could do really useful things like fostering /
preaching peer production.