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Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob

Hi Hans-Girt,
I agree that Gift has always been a subject of calculation. Mauss is
very clear on this and also Bourdieu. Calculation has been even present
when things have not been exchanged. Imagine a self-sufficient houshold
economy of production-consumption. First, they divide the labour among
the member of the family according to age and gender. Second, the head
of the family decides how much of the products should be consumed and
much will be reinvested in reproduction process. How many eggs should be
eaten and how many used for producing chikens. How many chickens should
be eaten and many kept to produce eggs. How much corns should be
consumed and how much shoul be saved as seed, etc. 

But here the quantative standard is an immediate natural quality of the
use valuees such as number, weight, length or volume. Here, the time of
concrete labour spent on the production of use value corresponds
directly to the amount of use value measured in (number, weight, length
or volume, depemding on its physical form).

When trade and money are involved, even in preecapitalist societies, the
use values and the measurement of labour time by the natural properties
of use vaues are not relavant anymore. Now we have a form of value which
is abstracted of any particular form use value and concrete labor. This
abstract value, the product of abstract labor, is represented by money.
So in precapitalist societies we had two different form of economic
regimes of value. One was around use value the other around exchange
value. The quantative calculation was inherent to both. I venture to say
that in prrecapitalist societies the use value regime was the dominant
one and money and exchanded value appeared to the extent that trade
became part of the economic life of a particular families or
communities. In capitalism abstract value, and money became the dominant

Now my two big questions from you and also from Michel are ? (Because
Michel also thinks that we can combine p2p with trade. Michel you are
perefectly right to say that trade and money existed before capitalism.
But, from this, we cannot by analogy conclude that trade and money are
also compatible with p2p.)

1-What is calculated in the current p2p (Are labor time, or products
calculated)? 2- What are the unit of calculation?
No one get credit for the amount of time they spent on solving a problem
but for the sollution itself. I may spend 40 hours solving the same
problem that you solve it in 4 hours. If your sollution is more
intillegent the community will go with your sollution and you receive
the recognition. Where is the quantity (calculation) here? Second, there
is no standard accoding to which each separate sollution and the whole
product can be quantified. They only can be evaluated in term of their
quality. Hence, every one can use the product as much she pleases.

Of course, as you see, I have abstracted here from the dominant
capitalist environment, in asking you these questions. But
methodologically this is legitimate.

If you cannot identify any quantative factor (whether in tem of use
value or abstract valeue) in p2p, then p2p in contrast to all pre p2p
modes of production is free from any quantative (accounting ) regime
whether in terms of use value or abstract value. P2p is the realm of
quality, freedom from quantity, and indeed the freedom from duty. It is
the true realm of desire, i.e communism=true freedom. 
HG, duty is always something external to desire. In all societies
dominated by quantative regimes you have to work in order to eat, unless
someone elae feeds you (children) or you expropriate the surplus labor
of someone eles. Indeed work has alwas been a duty.

cheers Jakob

Hans-Gert Gräbe 03/18/12 5:19 PM >>> 
Hi Stefan! 

Jakob pointed to reciprocity and accounting mechanisms in non 
capitalistic market economies, so one has to answer the question of the 
relation between accounting and value theories. Accounting is even part 
of gift economies, since those also relate on the evaluation of gifts in

the sense that there are expectations to be fulfilled and hence rest on 
a common value formation as part of a social process. Gifts form in that

sense a special "credit money" system that have to be returned in due 
times to reproduce social relations. Normally even in a husband-wife 
system accounting is present in the sense that there are private counts 
coming into conflict ocassionally. Resolving those conflicts means to 
establish a bilaterally agreed "value practise". 

Hence, surely only a part of Marxian value theory can be "a specific 
theory for capitalism". The more, what is capitalism, if there is 
capitalism after "the end of capitalims as we know it" (E.Altvater)? 
Marx value theory as developed in the "Capital" is surely only a value 
theory of standardized mass production using standardized labour (as 
implicitely coined in the much disputed three introductory chapters of 
vol. 1) in the setting of the machine age of the late 18th century. 
Even a capitalistic money theory has to go beyond that (including, e.g.,

a rent theory). 

Am 15.03.2012 11:44, schrieb Stefan Meretz: 
The problem here, as I see it, is to take into account, that marxian 
value theory is a specific theory for capitalism, and not a 
transhistorical one. In a post-capitalist society, commonism or [put 
your favorite word here], a value theory is not longer valid, because 
it has no subject. 

Assuming that peer production is a germ form of a post-capitalist 
society, describing peer-production in terms of the old society 
(capitalism), implies, that we are re-importing the logics of those 
principles we going to overcome. A free post-capitalist society can 
definitely not be understood in terms of a value theory -- and Marx 
was aware of this problem (in the "Grundrisse"). 

Michel, my feeling is, that intuitively you see this problem. You try 
to cover it by using two different types of value theory: a subjective

one and a kind of marxian one. For example, this can be found here:

You are talking about "extract value from nature". This "value" has 
nothing to do with "value" in the Marxian sense. In Marxian theory 
"value" is purely appears societally when private producers exchange 
their products. It is a result of a societal process of "comparision" 
of each efforts to produce the products. A theory of money-value can 
be derived from that. 

This is a very shortcut of Marxian value theory, since its value theory 
is a labour value theory, hence "when private producers exchange their 
products" value "appears societally", but it was "produced" during 
labour on a foreign need, so the exchange has to be preempted already 
before starting the production. Hence the "comparision of efforts" goes 
on very private levels, that constitute a social coherence process of 
information watching the "blind market" with very open minds (and eyes).

Only for reminder - you know all that very well. 



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 
Home Page: 


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