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Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob

Hi Michel,

Am 08.03.2012 04:16, schrieb Michel Bauwens:
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 ..

Great stories, but for me they have nothing to do with an _analytical_ approach to the phenomena to be studied.

if you use Alan Page Fiske's relational grammar,

Unfortunately "There is currently no text in this page."

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

I have not yet read about Allen Butcher's ongoing study of communal economics, so my remark can only be preliminary:

Löwy ( wrote several years ago in a paper, here the reference of a german translation of the french original:

M. Löwy: Destruktiver Fortschritt. Marx, Engels und die
  Ökologie. Utopie kreativ, Heft 174 (2005), S. 306--315.

"Finally Marx defines, again in vol. 3 of the "Capital", socialism not as "ruling" or human control over nature, but through control of material exchange with nature: The freedom in the area of material production 'can only be in the way, how societal humans (der vergesellschaftete Mensch), the associated producers, rationally regulate their metabolism with nature (diesen ihren Stoffwechsel mit der Natur rationell regeln), bring it under common (gemeinschaftliche) control, instead of being ruled by its blind power' (MEW 26, 828). "

I left some german words to express my point in more clarity since the semantics of an english translation is in many cases slightly shifted.

"True p2p, contribute to your ability, use on basis of need,..." does not address those questions at all but has for me a smell of Cockaigne.

By the way, there is an interesting history of the commmons and its division during the 19th century: Germany (and not only Germany) was divided in those times in dynastic areas of very different sizes and with very different traditions in the cameralistic management of the commons (Allmende). The most progressive achievements are related to the name of C.F.Gauss in the area Braunschweig-Hannover, but are based on the very early (as in 1746) land-surveying in that region. So accounting of the commons played a very central role for prospective of that region until 1843, when the privatization of the commons started.

If you build an ecology of phyles around
the commons,

this addresses the reproductional needs of a productive context and is called "trusts" in capitalistic economy, isn't it?

you can practice open book management (and other forms of p2p
accounting (,

Any capitalist is required to "practice open book management" - not for the employees, but for the "general capitalist" represented by the financial authorities and the accountants etc., so this is clearly only a modification within capitalism.

open supply chains and other forms of coordination and negotiation.

... very well known to capitalists for hundreds of years (it's even the core of capitalism in difference to former societies, to replace contributions and duties by negotiations).

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.

I completely agree that there is a dominance change, the very difference is the question "of what"? I claim - a new mode of capitalistic production, as capitalistic production changed modes in the last 300 years several times (approx. every 50 years).

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.

It's a matter of interpretation - I see only a more dominant role of rational organization of _re_productional processes. This is very new for Marxists, but not at all for capitalism. The for Marxists of all times strong notion of "profit" was known as a very weak one to bookkeepers for a long time, since there are "revenues before and after taxes", "before an after depreviations" etc. A sound value theory should address those questions (and even the differences between book keeping and mind keeping).

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.

No, its a political decision with short wave and long wave consequences. "Design" means for me, they understand what they do in the sense as it is required from a technician to understand what she does not to be accused not to deliver work as "state of the art".

So far some remarks from my point of view for the moment.

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	
  email: graebe
  Home Page:


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