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Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob

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 contributing volunteers.

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 complexities involved.

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.


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