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Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob

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Stefan, you make this very strong statement:

<If a society is based on voluntary contribution, aka commons based
peer production, then the entire society is organized that way. >

so do you really believe that 'by fiat', there will be a wholesale
transition? If not, there will be a transition where this is not the case,
and we are back the the reality-based discussion.

My contention is that, like for marx, full commonism is likely to be an
end-point, not a magical transition, and this creates a discussion around
the complexity of change, from the period in which the class dominance of
capital ends, to the reallization of a full contributory society.

If you admit my point, how then is your vision of transition?


On Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 5:20 AM, Stefan Meretz <stefan> wrote:

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Am 19.03.2012 11:52, schrieb Toni Prug:
good illustration why we have to transcend any kind "value" and
"accounting", thus "exchange" with coupled giving and taking:

Let us say we transcended the notions of value, accounting and

How do we run a city without accounting? A region? A state? How do
we collect contributions, as we do in the forms of tax and money
today? We ask for tax to be voluntarily donated and hope for the

How does Wikipedia collect contributions? Or Free Software? Or
WikiSpeed? They let the people contribute, because they want to. The
rest is organization -- which is done in the same way: by voluntary

Yet, without the day-to-day accounting (exchange dogma), how do we
know the amount of wealth contributed to a person or entity/firm
(expressed in money today)? OK, if it's all volunteer, we do not
need to ask the known quantity (tax as percentage) from everyone.
Still, if not money, what do we hope for these contributions to
common funds to be?

What do you mean? Bigger projects? This is a scaling problem, which
basically is the same problem like today for a company, say, buildung
a bridge (or other complex stuff).

If we drop the idea of a city budget (common funds), what do we
build new infrastructure and core services with, if not with common
funds and command over labour?

By contributions? Do you have any doubts, that there will be enough
people for common tasks? But if there are tasks identified as being
common and needed, then there are already a lot of people engaged in
these tasks. They can form a core of a project by finding new people
for the tasks to be done. And since there is no command over labor,
these tasks must be very attractive to let people voluntarily offer
their creativity and energy at this place and not at another place.
Christian Siefkes has described these types of "competition" in nice
ways in his book. (note: he does no longer stick to the auction model).

Once we decided we need a new hospital, or a new school, how do
make sure it gets built? We wait for people to turn up, organize
themselves on their own (this is not a separate set of questions
since in societies with "exchange dogma" this is achieved through
exchange that is accounted for and command over labour as
commodity), give "unconditional voluntary contributions" in labour
and hope that those who are giving their unconditional voluntary
contributions towards materials necessary for the building of a new
school or hospital would also contribute voluntarily materials?

Basically: yes. However, I feel, that you think, that there will be
not enough responsibility. But all experiences show: If people are
really free to decide, then responsibility is high. However, the
degree of responsibility depend on reputation: If others made the
experience, that you are doing what you are saying, you have the
requested knowledge, experiences etc., then they will trust you more
than others where this is not the case. And let's do not take it too
naive: "Once we decided we need a new hospital..." -- the need for a
new hospital is not falling from the sky, you are not going to a
central place crying out for a hospital. It is a result of a longer
process of weighing diverse needs, efforts and ressources etc.

All those contributing materials would also have to hope that what
they need to reproduce and continue doing their work (food, energy,
their raw materials) would be volunatrily contributed.

If a society is based on voluntary contribution, aka commons based
peer production, then the entire society is organized that way. Then
it is normal as today it is normal to command labor by money. Then
there is no need to put a pistol at someones head saying "do this for
me". If a free society works, then it works for you too. Then trust is
not the exception, but the rule.

"Contributing materials" is not the right view, because there is no
personal or group ownership of ressources. So there will be some
societal decision making process (again some proposals in Christian's
book), which then directs ressources to one project or another. I
don't know, what type of decision making will be working best, but the
people will find out. What the people are contributing, is their
creativity, their energy, their passion, their motivation, their
knowledge etc. -- and there is an abundance of that (think of the
millions who are not allowed to do anything useful because they are
unemployed -- what a waste!).

All of these contributors of labour would have to hope that food
producers would also unconditional voluntary contribute to everyone
- since by contributing their labour unconditionally to building of
a new school or hospital, they cannot simultaneously grow food,
they depend on division of labour and product of labour of others.

Right, there might be some reasons to reduce some type of division of
labor, if it really does no longer make sense (e.g. in order to reduce
superfluous transportation etc.). But basically division and
distribution of tasks need not to be reduced. It would guess, in some
areas we need a dramatic increase (global problems).

Perhaps i'm in minority on this list, but i can't stretch my
imagination far enough to see how would above problems (developing
cities, having common funds, building hospitals and schools) be
addressed with peer production that depends on unconditional
voluntary contributions and that rejects the use of commodities,
exchange and concept of labour in totality (that is how i
understood, perhaps wrongly, Pattern 1: Beyond Exchange and bunch
of other linked patterns that i read). Such total rejection could
be called p2p dogmatism.

Well, dogmatism would be true, if no other thinking can be allowed
(based on what stupid reasons ever). This is not the case. But these
patterns are result of observations and analysis, which of course have
been somewhat extended. The main purpose is to overcome too narrow
thinking, to stop sticking which the old capitalist categories which
are going out of function step by step. Partial solutions do not help,
the old model can not be repaired. The data are out there.

The theses might be seen as to harsh, they might by challenging your
imagination too much, but this always occured in history with new
things. So don't mind, you are not the minority on the list, but maybe
you like to be the one, who starts mobilzing his imagination. And it
is not completely fictitious, because p2p is already emerging (in
coexistence which the old, you are absolutely right, Michel).

This, of course, is a just small subset of problems that would have
to be solved to give us a system that can be postcapitalistic
while maintaining the high level of social and productive



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