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Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob

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hi Hans-Gert, some responses in between ...

On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 5:23 AM, Hans-Gert Gräbe <hgg> wrote:

Hi Jakob and Michel

Jakob Rigi wrote:

Dear Hans-Gert,
I agree with your distinction between Marxian and Marxistic. But
disagree that all Marxistic trends of 20th century were a religious
distortion of the former, though many were, particulatly thepre stalinist
and social democratic ones. Troskists had their own shre in this
business, though some of them like E. Mandel produce very original work.
But, we also had very original Marxian thinkers who truely went beyond
Marx. ...

I completely agree that there is an undigged heritage - nevertheless it is
hard to approach that in nowaday's discussions, since - in the religious
perception of traditional marxism - those are haeretics and hence punished
even today. Starting from the sentence that "the ruling ideology is the
ideology of the ruling class" in the last 10 years I learned much about the
mechanisms of the "ruling ideology of the oppressed class" ("die wirklich
linken Dinger" to express it in a German play on words) and I think we
should not charge our debates with that (beyond the unconscious charge that
is present anyway).

and not just of the oppressed class, of an actually oppressing ruling
managerial class using the garb of the oppressed class ..

 The Marxian law of value is totally absent from the inner logic of
p2p. Hence p2p is a new mode of production.

I strongly disagree with that. More precisely, it depends on your
definition, what p2p is. If p2p is a mode of re(!)production where you have
enough volunteers that really do "the right job", then you can rule social
interactions indeed by "rough consensus and running code".  If not, the
accountig starts. A mode of reproduction in the former sense, in my
opinion, it will never be a dominant social interaction form. For the
moment I will not explain that in more detail.

my position is different, I call it a proto-mode of production, because it
cannot as yet fully reproduce itself ... precedents are the existence of
coloni with the slave-based Roman Empire, or the existing of enterprise
within a dominant feudal mode ... for example, capitalist enterprise was
dependent on granted monopolies and could not reproduce itself
independently ..

if you use Alan Page Fiske's relational grammar, you can use a gradation. True
p2p, contribute to your ability, use on basis of need, is only possible
with presently abundant resources, and today this is the digitized
information, but it is not just volunteers. Paid developers who use the
GPL, and use community norms and directions, are also contributing to the
commons. Where resources are rival, reciprocal dynamics must be used, and
these can be capitalism, but also non-capitalist markets or forms of
exchange, gift economy, time banking and all the techniques that have been
documented in Allen Butcher's ongoing study of communal economics. see

If you build an ecology of phyles around
the commons, you can practice open book management (and other forms of p2p
accounting (, open supply
chains and other forms of coordination and negotiation. These techniques,
routinely practiced in free software and open hardware, do not require the
commons logic, they can be practiced even within reciprocal exchange logics.

You see it cannot be dominant, and you don't want to explain it, but that
would be interesting, because in my opinion, in open source modes, it is
already dominant. For example, if you study the relation between IBM and
Linux (see the PhD thesis of George Dafermos), but also other
corporate-commons dynamics, it seems clear that the value creation is
already happening according to the logic of the commons and that the market
logic of the software's development is already subsumed (even as they
operate in a wider capitalist economy and the firms are subsumed to capital
accumulation in the other aspects). And why could it not be the dominant
logic if it was for the longest period of human history. Why was Marx wrong
on this? Dominant doesn't mean all-encompassing, it just means that it is
the core logic of value creation. For example, if a firm makes products
based on the open design, then its core value is derivative from the open
design commons.

Michel Bauwens wrote:

... and as long as not everything is 100% commons, then you need
reciprocity, and means to account for the reciprocity ... this does
not have to be capitalist money, nor capitalist market, but certain
forms of trade and exchange are very likely to be part of the mix.
... The transition will be impossible if we retain capitalist money
as it is designed now.

I have no idea what that means "100% commons" - is this a world without
contradictions, what are the ways to resolve conflicts about the use of
"the commons" etc.? The point are not the "commons" but the reproduction
modes of the "commons". Division of labour in the last 10.000 years went
only into one direction, the direction of refinement. Nowadays we are faced
even with special languages to communicate about reproductional needs and
ways of particular reproduction modes of parts of the "commons". Capitalist
money was not "designed" and cannot be "redesigned" in an easy way without
a clear understanding of the multiple social functions that are transported
with accounting.

100% is only a hypothetical endpoint for the commons, as communism was for
Marx. It's like eastern 'Enlightenment".Whether we can ever get there is
indeed very debatable. But even such a hypothetical society would have
contradictions, just different ones.

Capitalist money is and was designed and is continuously designed.
Abandoning the gold standard is a design decision, making sovereign money
creation illegal through the European treaties is a design decision.
Abolition negative interest rate (13th cy.France after the defeat of the
Albigeois) is a design decision. Abolition of the Worlg in Ausria is a
design decision. Bitcoin is clearly based on a design decision, a very well
documented one, the occcu is based on a different and competing design
decision. Of course, it doesn't mean that the design is easy.

Right now, the reproduction of the commons is dependent on capital
accumulation, and this is the key thing that needs to change to make peer
production a full mode of production. My proposal, similar to that of
Kleiner and others, is  to use a global network of interconnected phyles,
community-oriented enterprises, consisting of the commoners, and using
increasingly non-capitalist logics, to create that reproduction mechanism.
Would a mechanism that would allow the social-reproduction of the
commoners, would not be for-profit but would use common-stock mechanisms,
increases and expand the commons without accumulating capital, still be
capitalism? I don't think so. It would be a commons-oriented economy, but
not a 100% commons society. If this emerging sector, allied with social and
political movements, would then become dominant, you'd have a
commons-oriented society.

Money is only the tip of the iceberg, a very formalized way to realize
accounting. Christian Siefkes had developed plenty of ideas in his book**Main_Page<>how to "transform accounting" (e.g., autions of unloved duties). My
objection that even his mathematical formulas (see appendix A) are just the
same as in Leontieff based modeling of capitalistic economy left unnoticed
upto now.

Jakob Rigi wrote:

By communism, I mean a form of social relations in which the state
and division of labor have vanished. The division between manual and
intellectual labor has vanished too. Moreover, there is no
difference between the fulfilling individual's desires and
performing social duties. ... Social individual, to borrow a term
from Marx, or social individualism is the corner stone of communism.

As explained above I see no base for a claim "division of labor will
vanish". No, the main challenge of the future is to cope with the
babylonian jumble of special languages, to establish a culture of
translations, transmission etc.  I very well understand what are
"individual's desires" but as Max Stirner I have no idea what that is
beyond ideology - "social duties".

In peer production, as already existing, the division of labour has already
been replaced by a distribution of tasks. But this is a further evolution
of the division of labour if you like, not based on a regression and its

No, "social individualism" is by no means borrowed from Marx, since his
vision about communism is "an association (!), in which the free
development of each is the condition for the free development of all."

 I think both peer production and *Occupy Wall Street* have a
communist core to the extent they promote social individuality.
Capitalistic individuality is atomistic and egoistic. Communism is
the voluntary cooperation among individuals for both social good and
for their own pleasure and development.

For me the main goal of human doing was and is and will be the
"cooperative shaping of the private living circumstances". In the Oekonux
context we had a long debate on "Kooperenz" http://www.freie-gesellschaft.
**de/wiki/Kooperenz <> - a
two-word concatenation of cooperation and the German "Konkurrenz", that
translates as "competition", but is connotated with concurrency that sheds
a very special light on competition.

Mainstream business literature uses 'coopetition' since the 80s at least.
In my view the transition is the following. Under capitalism, competition
is primary, but within the competing enterprises, there is high level
cooperation (albeit often hierarchical cooperation and subsumed to the
for-profit goals). The shift with commons-based peer production is that the
cooperation becomes dominant, but between these commons-cooperating
entities, there can be competition (forks, etc ..)

Communism was all the time an utopia. Marx punished the old french
socialists as "utopians" and claimed, his way of understanding communism is
a "scientific" one. If you follow up the history then you see, that each
new round of technically triggered reconstruction of the capitalist society
is accompanied with a "new communism" that developes a new utopia of dreams
of desired social consequences of the new technical means. p2p is obviously
_also_ in that tradition. The first such dream was that on Cockaigne. So I
have the strong feeling that communistic ideas are not very helpful for a
dry analysis of the nowadays circumstances of living and changes of living.
But I think that communism has much to do with Blochs "principle hope" as
the very inner driving force of the world (including a hypothetic
"communistic one").

There is a major difference. P2P is an already existing social practice,
'really-existing commonism'. There is nothing utopian about it. Hundreds of
thousands of people do it everyday, for important aspects of their lives.
The question becomes, because we love the commons that we are already
constructing and we find the other aspects of our lives alienating in
comparison, how do we extend and strengthen it. That is totally different
from dreaming about 'Cockaigne'. You do not need to dream about 100%
commons, or communism or whatever. It's is not necessary. On the other
hand, what is vital is, how do we transform a system which is leading to
biospheric destruction and in all likelyhood, a massive unwanted genocide
if it goes on unchecked and unchanged. Again, there is nothing utopian
about that. It is rather a vital task for the survival of the human race.

Best regards,


 Dr. Hans-Gert Graebe, apl. Prof., Inst. Informatik, Univ. Leipzig
 postal address: Postfach 10 09 20, D-04009 Leipzig
 Hausanschrift: Johannisgasse 26, 04103 Leipzig, Raum 5-18
 tel. : +49 341 97 32248
 email: graebe informatik.uni-leipzig.**de<graebe>
 Home Page: http://www.informatik.uni-**<>


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