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Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob

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On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 6:48 PM, Jakob Rigi <rigij> wrote:

Hi Michel,

I agree with you that the expanasion of p2p is a very pressing tasks, and
indeed is an elementary part of the social struggle I mentioned.  An those
of you who do this are doing a great service to the struggle. But we need:
1-  To deal critically with the articulation /contradiction between p2p and
capitalism. If not we will risk to expandig  a rentier form of p2p. For
this we really need to apply Marx theories of value, momey and rent not
only to p2p but also to knowledge economy in general. My emphasises on Marx
theory of value is not because I think we shold not go beyond Marx, of
course we must  do this if  Marx's 'theory of value cannot capture the
inner logic of p2p. We need his theory, however, to avoid making hybrid
forms of capitalism-p2p as a model for a fully fledged p2p. In my view Marx
theory of money-value is the only correct theory of mney. If we don't
undrestand the correct nature of money, market and trade we end up
considering these hybrid forms which are basically created  by captalists
to extract rent (facebook and google are good examples of commons which
serve capitalists to extract rent) as a  model for p2p society.

I agree Jakob ... p2p needs a coherent value theory, which I'm sure I'm
unable to give at this stage, and likely never, so we need your input here.
I'm open to the marxian value theory, it's just that I lack the knowledge
to truly have my own judgment on this, at least at this stage. And yes, the
concern towards fake commons must be there, though I also insist on the
contradictions in place in that process, which are potentially of use to
peer producers, commoners and user communities.

2-, the question of making strategic-macro resources whether natural or
technical commons is not  hypothetical  issue of  future. It is the most
pressing need of  our own present time. This urgency  stemms  in the first
place from the current ecological crisis . The fact that it is also a
requiredment for fully feldged p2p mode of production, it shows how a p2p
revolution is timely.. I think, having a clear vision aout making these
resources global commons is exactly part of what describe as having a clear
vision about a fully-fledged p2p mode of production.

looking forward to your contributions on this, it's a vital part of any p2p
theory and also insufficiently developed at this stage,


 all the best

Michel Bauwens <michel> 03/14/12 12:16 AM >>>
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On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 5:13 AM, Hans-Gert Gräbe <hgg>

Hi Michel,

Am 13.03.2012 14:35, schrieb Michel Bauwens:

I'm guessing you have a very narrow definition of analytical, as in 'the
concepts that <I>, hgg, am using" .. these are not at all "stories",
historical examples of analogous processes, and proto-mode <is> an
analytical concept

So I have probably not yet understood, what a "proto-mode" really is. Is
this something similar to the german "Keimform" (germ form)? The latter
in my understanding not analytic but epistemic, a way of thinking a
not a way of thinking about the substance of the changing thing itself,
that has surely both changing and not changing modes.

probably the best place to find a 'analytical' definition of proto-mode
would be in the group that works around "historical materialism' .. that's
where I read it first, but I can't recall the reference ... I will explore
this further

"True p2p, contribute to your ability, use on basis of need,..." does
address those questions at all but has for me a smell of Cockaigne.

well, it happens to be the well-known defintion of communism by Marx,

That's for me the main difference between Marxian and Marxistic
- claiming marxistic mantras to be true only because they are
defintions" or allow doubt. "contribute to your ability, use on basis of
need" is one of such mantras that have the very smell of Cockaigne.
citation of (MEW 26, 828) addressed just that point, so sorry that I
probably did not explain that clearly enough.

ok, your smelling something that I don't ... for me it is just a daily
experience reality of life, as it is for all those who participate in peer
production or who engage with physical commons as part of their daily
like in the mountain area where I live in northern thailand ...

That the utopias of the opressed classes all times had a smell of
Cockaigne is neither a deep observation nor a big surprise. To
such "Cockaignism" by a cool headed analysis is one of the main points
should be addressed by "the associated producers to rationally regulate
their metabolism with nature".

in this case it refers to a system where anyone can contribute, and
it is made available for universal use ... this is just the reality
of today's digital commons (on the condition you have access to the

I think there is a deep difference between sharing parts of the world
sharing descriptions of the world (the latter being "just the reality of
today's digital commons").

Absolutely, but people are ALSO and at all times, sharing physical
infrastructures, and the trend of physical mutualization is experiencing a
definite uptick ... but it is the key issue to solve to expand p2p from
emerging phase to a more core place in our political economy and
civilisation ... it's really the core issue we work with at the p2p
foundation, but we do this by observing real world communities and
initiatives, by looking at their experiences, successes and failures

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

I don't think you can equate the two, though I can see why you could
this comparison ...

This is a deep question about the goal of our conversation - do I have
agree with your story, or you with mine, or do we compare our story
tellings about a certain part of the real world to learn from each
since this are different stories, but about the same world?

we don't have to agree indeed, we can learn from each other, and I'm not a
latourian (nor a marxist, marxian) but I use 'integrative methods'
Aurobindo, Wilber, Clare Graves, Sarkar, bhaskar) and am sympathetic, in
terms of epistemology, to 'one world' critical realism (rhoy baskar)

For, my starting point is a simple observation - capitalism as an answer
to the granularity dilemma: A bifurcation point in the development of
mankind, where growing force could no more be accompanied by growing
After that point capitalism accumulated a big cultural heritage (by the
way, strongly emphasized by ME in the first part of their "Manifesto"),
one should not sweep out the child with the water, as a german word play

not sure I fully understand, you mean humanity could have made another
choice, say in the 16th cy, and taken on another path? ..

a trust has to preserve the capital, usually financial, or land ... a
phyle creates added exchange value, by creating 'rival' value (such
as labour time) 'on top of the commons' ...

Marx always emphasized that use value and exchange value are two sides
the same medal. So trusts have not only to preserve (more precisely - to
reproduce) the capital (exchange value terms) but also the required
productive infrastructure (use value terms).

what about those aspects where there is no capitalist exchange?, i.e.
direct use value production, or do you use exchange for all modes of
reciprocity, even 'non-reciprocal' or 'generalized reciprocity' based p2p

the people who wrote about phyles , neil stephenson in the diamond
age, and david de ugarte of, were specifically inspired
by the venetian and florentine guild enterprises and their
international networks across the mediterranean ..

So they understand very well, that this is "capitalistic"?

in a sense yes, kleiner calls himself a venture communist, david de ugarte
are more difficult to pin down, but I guess they all, me included, believe
in the distinction made by Polanyi, De Landa, Braudel, David Graeber and
many other, that not all market forms are capitalism, the latter is a very
specific form of markets ... and forms of market exchange can co-exist
differently with both commons-based and state-planning based systems; it's
not about copying the older forms in a capitalist context, but hacking
to function with the post-capitalist context of peer production, i.e.
excluding capital accumulation and profit-maximisation protocols to the
maximum degree possible. not different from what the labour movement did,
hich combined parties, unions, coops and many other forms to establish its
counter-hegemony in the past 2 centuries.

have you ever worked for a corporation .? first of all, even U.S. public
enterprises, probably the most exposed, keep A LOT secret, second the
ovewhelming majority of capitalist accounting is fake ... and generally
speaking everything in a corporation is secret/discrete by default ...

the difference between book keeping and mind keeping I did address ...

The really interesting thing in capitalism is, that you can successfully
cheat others but not yourself, because if you cheat yourself you will
ruined. The "general capitalist" spends much efforts (even in money
to get "A LOT secrets" revealed, not for the public, but for the

well, in the MNO's i worked for, at fairly high levels, accounting fraud
(or 'creativity') was the default norm, not the exception and no one
knew the 'reality' ... for example, even today, large banks are
bankrupt, or were, before a whole series of accounting tricks made them
look viable again ... they are very elaborate but functional fictions, and
because we all believe in them, they are indeed 'realities'

so, this is NOT what I meant, there are probably just a handful of
corporations practicing full open accounting

I don't know any company that does _not_ publish annually, quarterly
reports approved by external financial authorities. If you are listed at
the stock market you _have_ to supply such reports quarterly in a
standardized way. So I have no idea what you are writing about ...

so you believe that the accounting reports of Worldcom, Enron, all the
banks involved in the latest meltdown, were real, because they were
approved by the rating agencies and the regulatory authorities you
similarly believe Fukushima was safe, and other nuclear facilities are
safe, because they are 'approved' by regulatory agencies ????? WOW, I wish
I could live in a world like that, it would certainly simplify things. I
guess for some people, one hammer on the head is not enough ...

It is only a matter about _how_ open, and I think it has a clear
for any strategically thinking management nowadays to practice full open
accounting since it makes cooperation more predictable. Any structured
of capitalistic cooperation (e.g. within CMMI**Capability_Maturity_Model_**Integration<>)
requires such openness. I think, in the digital era it is a _core
capitalistic aim_ to turn to a practice of full open accounting.

well, I can only say, in my 40 years of working for business entities, at
fairly high levels of responsibility, and in my own dealigns as a serial
enterpreneur, I have never encountered one single example of the holopical
open accounting you can find routinely in FLOSS platforms ... NEVER ..
for pete's sake, you can not even have access easily to the work of others
in any typical firm ... there is a constant war of secrecy internally
between dept. because they consider 'knowledge is power' ... so I am as
flabbergasted with you as you are with me, I have no idea what you are
talking about. Again I would like to repeat my question from earlier,,,,
have you ever worked for a company? I cannot believe that a person with
even a single day of real experience can believe that capitalism practices
holoptism. The ones that do, partially, like Namahn or Semco are the stuff
of legend and discussed as the great exceptions in the business literature
... Just another question: do you also believe that prices are real, that
they reflect the true worth of things, and fairly allocate resources in
current system ... that they are true and open pricing? Would you have
similarly believed that soviet planning figures, or even current chinese
state company accounting, faithfully reflects reality ... or do you think
they are fake, but capitalist corporations use true accounting ..?

... 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).

again, what I said has nothing to do with the partial coopetion
by some corporations, we're talking about a continous open practice of
trashing out differences, as is the practice in free software

So what's the effect of market forces on you different than a "continous
practice of trashing out differences" if you are not a "big player"?

the practice of negotiated coordination in peer production is outside of
the market dynamic and concerns the functionality, i.e. use value, of the
code and design ..

It's a matter of interpretation - I see only a more dominant role of
rational organization of _re_productional processes. This is very new
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
after depreviations" etc. A sound value theory should address those
questions (and even the differences between book keeping and mind

I'm not understanding that paragraph .. free software is rational, of
course, but that doesn't mean that all it's aspects are capitalist, and
certainly not in the traditional model

There is a famous book by Elmar Altvater about "the end of capitalism as
we know it" - the problem is, that this is not necessarily the end of
capitalism at all. My aim ist to speak about "capitalism as we do not
know it" - so indeed "certainly not in the traditional model".

I have no doubt that cognitive capitalism (phase 1 of the network age,
dominated by vector power as decribed by Wark's hacker manifesto) was
already different than the industrial model, and similarly that the
emerging form of netarchical capitalism (where vectoral power no longer
works because there is no way to protect distribution monopolies) is yet
different. What is important however, is not just description, but action,
how do we achieve emancipation, autonomy, within the existing
contradictions , continuously and relentlessly

ok, you have a particular notion of design, fine with me, for me it
making decisions about the rules, protocols that will govern the
of a particular system; if you want to call that a political decision,
which of course they are, that is fine; so we move the discussion to
possibility to make different political decisions about the structures
rules of money. Your semantic have changed, the problem remains the

For me it means clearly to understand the basics and consequences of
"making decisions about the rules, protocols ..." in the same way as any
engineer has clearly to understand the basics and consequences of her
decisions. This is in the same way not "the discussion to the
to make different political decisions" as the discussion of freedom
be a discussion about the freedom to do the wrong things (H.-P. Dürr in
Potsdam Manifesto 2005).

Many consequences of design decisions or what you call political decisions
are unforeseen ... if you look at the protocollary and algorhythmic
practices of netarchical capital (facebook, google,..) they are
continuously tweaked and iterative ... I suspect this is also the case
monetary decisions ... this is far from engineering practice though ... do
you really think Nixon knew all the consequences of his actions when he
abolished the gold standard? do you think the european austerity czars
all the consequences of what they are doing?

Regards, and thanks for engaging,


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<
Home Page: http://www.informatik.uni-**<>


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