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Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob

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summary of the characteristics of peer production, first part using
Meretz's work, the second part from my own studies:

A. The social logics of peer production
It is important to see the value inversion that occurs in peer production.
Though it is integrated in the dominant economic model and embedded in the
strategies of business firms, there are numerous inversions in the logic of
value and production#:

   - Beyond Exchange: commons-based peer production is not about exchange.
   Giving and taking are not coupled with each other.

   - Beyond Scarcity: peer production is marked by anti-rivalry (sharing
   does not produce a loss, but a gain), i.e. because the knowledge, code or
   designs are shareable they can be used,copied and modified by everyone.

   - Beyond Commodity: because the result of the production is shareable
   and anti-rival, and there is no tension between supply and demand, there
   are not produced for exchange value directly, but for use vaue.

   - Beyond Money: money is only one of the possible drivers for the
   contributions, many other motivations become productive factors.

   - Beyond Property: peer production uses licenses that make the
   contributions available to all possible users, creating a new form of
   universal common property; this means that there are no direct returns for

   - Beyond Labor: because of the multiplicity of motivation, and
   production for need and use, peer production is not marked by labor for

   - Beyond Classes: contributions become agnostic to whether waged labour
   is involved; traditional division of labour and the command and control
   exerciced by the firm is secondary; new meritocratic and ad hoc hierarchies
   replace them (cfr. supra returns on property are inoperable).

   - Beyond Exclusion: peer production systems are designed to enable the
   maximum number of contributions with the lowest possible treshold of

However, none of these social logics operate in isolation from the larger
economy. The participating companies operate in a commodity (I. exchange)
economy and seek to create strategies based on market scarcity within the
field of abundance created by their commons. These companies pay salaries
to their developers or freelancers sell their labor and generate
monetaryincome. These corporations are still generally owned by
shareholders hence
operating within the classic class dynamics. Meritocratic selection has its
own exclusion biases, and many open source companies use dual licensing and
other strategies to protect their property. Hence, every non-market social
logic operates in relation to market dynamics.

B. Innovative Aspects of Peer Production Practice
Peer production carries with it many different fundamental innovations,
that are starkly different from traditional business practice. Here are a
number of these practices, contrasted with the practices of the market and
the business firm:

   - Anti-Credentialism, refers to the inclusiveness of peer production.
   What matters is the ability to carry out a particular task, not any formal
   apriori credential ( >< credentialism).

   - Anti-Rivalry ; see also: Anti-Rivalness of Free Software: sharing the
   created goods does not diminish the value of the good, but actually
   enhances it ( >< rivalry).

   - Communal Validation: the quality control is not a 'a priori' condition
   of participation, but a post-hoc control process, usually community-driven
   ( >< hierarchical control).

   - Distribution of Tasks: there are no roles and jobs to be performed,
   only specific tasks to be carried out ( >< division of labor).

   - Equipotentiality: people are judged on the particular aspects of their
   being that is involved in the execution of a particular task ( >< people

   - For Benefit: (Benefit Sharing; Benefit-Driven Production). The
   production aims to create use value or 'benefits' for its user community,
   not profits for shareholders ( >< for-profit).

   - Forking: the freedom to copy and modify includes the possibility to
   take the project into a different direction ( >< one authorized version).

   - Granularity: refers to the effort to create the smallest possible
   modules (see Modularity infra), so that the treshold of participation for
   carrying out tasks is lowered to the lowest possible extent.

   - Holoptism; transparency is the default state of information about the
   project; all additions can be seen and verified and are sourced ( ><

   - Modularity: tasks, products and services are organized as modules,
   that fit with other modules in a puzzle that is continuously re-assembled;
   anybody can contribute to any module.

   - Negotiated Coordination: conflicts are resolved through an ongoing and
   mediated dialogue, not by fiat and top-down decisions ( >< centralized and
   hierarchical decision-making).

   - Permissionlessness: one does not need permission to contribute to the
   commons ( >< permission culture).

   - Produsage: there is no strict separation between production and
   consumption, and users can produce solutions ( >< production for

   - Stigmergy: there is a signalling language that permits system needs to
   be broadcast and matched to contributions.

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).

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