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Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob

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I would distinguish 3 levels,

one, the situation today, where peer production is subsumed under capital

two, a wished for transition, where commons-oriented peer production can
become the new dominant basis of a new society and civilisation

three, the hypothetical endpoint or evolution of that society, once it is
established ...

Like Marx, I focus on one and two because there is not much we can say with
confidence about three,

it is entirely legitmate to discuss an ideal type of course, based on what
we can already discern today, but better if we marry this discourse to a
practical transition program for change, that helps us get from one to two

On Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 3:40 PM, Stefan Meretz <stefan> wrote:

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Am 20.03.2012 01:14, schrieb Toni Prug:
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 best?

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 contributions.

It is a huge topic, so i will limit my response to this small bit.

Monetary contributions to Wikipedia and Free Software are such a
tiny part of the overall cost of those productions that it is
hardly worth mentioning - since the actual cost is not the cost of
infrastructure and core staff, but the cost of reproduction and
spare time of all the contributing volunteers.

I should have said, that we have to avoid discursive leaps: Are we
talking about a fully fledged free/p2p [how you name it] society OR
are we discussing the situation today, which is a period of
transition. The first is a hypothetical one, where you need a lot of
imagination and purely logic arguments. The latter is the daily
analytical stuff we are all doing.

If we mix both discourses, this prevents learning and leads to
nothing. An argument from the transition is not valid in the peer
society working on its own ground and vice versa.

Maybe I am wrong, but I understand your questions as reside in the
latter discourse.

In other words, those economic activities that pay for the housing,
clothes, food and the rest of living costs of all contributors are
the activities on which p2p entirely depends - wages, studentships,
parents' funds, inheritances ... all earned or created in
capitalist or other existing systems based on commodities,
exchange, labour, money, value.

To be more precise, p2p is an incredibly thin, but an important
new (i agree with the need to research it), way of producing
voluntarily and collectively. However, it seems quite
inappropriate to call it a mode of production, since it rests on
top other modes and fully depends on them.

These are transition arguments. In a peer society you don't have these
money problems, because a peer society is beyond money:

To put in simple terms (without entering economics or marxist
terminology): on its own, p2p can't build, mantain and develop a
city, nor can it organize division of labour and allocation of
overall produced wealth necessary for such achievements. While
slavery, feudalism, capitalism and socialism all could/can.

I would say: it can. I don't see, why complexity is a counter argument.

It's not a surprise that p2p theorists have not been able so far to
produce a plausible vision of how a p2p society perhaps might one
day delivery cities and rest that other modes of production
delivered so far and that we wish to improve on.  Producing such
visions is a task too difficult for anyone or any group of humans
- this is  one important thing to learn from social sciences
(equally from Marx, or Keynes, or neoclassical economics and
political theorists): there are too many complexities involved.

Again: It is not a problem of complexity, but a twofold problem:
Having the right analytical patterns which do not fall back in the old
society again and again, and second, it is simply not possible to
predict the future. Thus we are thrown back to illustrations (this is
what I give with my last email) or to purely logic arguments (which
are by no means "naturalistic", Michel):

Both must be unsatisfactory.

Hence the need to stick with analysing the existing p2p practices,
and to recognize conditions in which those practices exist - the
above mentioned total dependence on other dominant modes of
production being the starting point.


Yes, you may rightly say, new starts its existence in the old. You
may also say that there are new phenomena which are able to
boot-strap itself out of the old and create a new totality on
their own. The problem is, nothing so far points out in the
direction of p2p being such a new phenomena able to become an
overall logic of organizing the entire society (mode of production,
if you wish), due to its full dependence on the existing modes of
production - i'm speaking here as a p2p fan and as a former and
occasional p2p practitioner who would love to see any evidence of
the opposite.

I think, there is huge amount of evidence. So it seems to depend on
the glasses we are using.


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