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Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob

Hi Michel,

On 03/22/2012 03:53 PM, Michel Bauwens wrote:
Christian, but why not have an integrative approach, you go from one
special case, the need for reciprocity, to another, that doesn't require

Note that I never said anything against reciprocity per se. What I
distinguished was my old approach of "requiring reciprocity" vs. my new
approach of "facilitating reciprocity" -- reciprocity exists in either case.
I do something for others, and others do something for me. Indeed, that's
true of *any* society.

Also, note that both in old and my new model, reciprocity is indirect -- I
do something for the community (= other community members) and the community
(= other community members) does something for me. But the community members
that do something for me will generally not be those that I do something
for. In my old "task auctioning" model this indirect reciprocity was
enforced and measured -- I have to give back (in general) the same amount of
labor that was needed to produce the goods I consume.

Society-wide, that relation will always hold -- only the goods that have
been produced can be consumed. But meanwhile I think it no longer necessary
to enforce this on an individual level. Rather, if you stop considering
consumption as "the good" (that everybody wants to increase as much as
possible) and production as "the bad" (that everybody wants to avoid), but
rather consider both as necessary, interwoven, and potentially pleasant
aspects of life (as the hacker ethic does), then enforcing something becomes
much less important. After all, you wouldn't force people to consume, so why
force them to produce?

That still leaves the question of how to minimize possible mismatches
between consumptive and productive desires. I think that stigmergy,
automation and re-organization are the best responses here:

1. Announce the tasks necessary for your consumptive goals, and wait for
2. If there aren't enough, try to automatize the task, i.e. let machines do
it. Getting there will usually need other tasks, so go back to step 1 for
them. (I think it will often be easier to find volunteers to automatize
something than do it manually.)
3. If automation is not (or only partially) possible and there still aren't
enough volunteers, think about how to re-organize the task in such a way
that it becomes more attractive for potential volunteers. (Indeed, potential
volunteers will do this themselves and might decide to re-organize tasks in
ways you didn't foresee.)

After all this, a pool of (apparently quite unpleasant) tasks which nobody
wants to do might remain. For these, I would first consider voluntary
distribution among the community members, where (more or less) everybody
does a small part of them now and then, without something very bad happening
if you don't. (Though you could get some bad looks or nagging from other
community members, if community expectation of doing these tasks is high and
you refuse. Hence the line between voluntary and enforced can be quite
blurred.) If that doesn't work, i.e. if too many people opt out, the
community would doubtlessly agree on more formal sanctions, such as
restricting the consumptive options of those who refuse. In this case, the
task pool would revert to my old model of required reciprocity.

I certainly won't rule out that that can happen, so in that sense I haven't
"given up" my old model. I just don't consider it the best, or even the most
likely scenario.

Lets see how far we get with solutions that follow the hacker ethic, or
"peer spirit" -- stigmergic, self-organized, voluntary. We can figure the
rest out later if and when needed.

Best regards

|------- Dr. Christian Siefkes ------- christian -------
| Homepage: | Blog:
|    Peer Production Everywhere:
|---------------------------------- OpenPGP Key ID: 0x346452D8 --
Just so that nobody takes his guess for the full truth, here's my standing
on "keeping control", in 2 words (three?):
I won't.
        -- Linus Torvalds, The Tanenbaum-Torvalds Debate

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