Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob
- From: Toni Prug <toni.prug gmail.com>
- Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2012 00:14:46 +0000
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.