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Re: [jox] p2p and market

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On Sun, Apr 1, 2012 at 4:08 PM, Jakob Rigi <rigij> wrote:

Hi Michel ,

You are right in that a society in which p2p is the dominant mode of
production still needs a regime of value for the  distribution  of certain
rival goods. But you constantly confuse this with trade and money. As the
contribution of labor to the common wealth cannot be a principle for such a
regime of distribution,  both trade and money will vanish.

I am absolutely not confusing this Jakob, I'm saying that money and trade
are one of the means to deal with rival goods; not the only ones. I see
post-transition money as an accounting mechanism, nothing more, existing
within a wide diversitty of exchange, gift economy and other contributory
mechanisms. The point is that this is not something that can be imposed
from fiat from above, but that citizens will determine the appropriate
provisioning systems and how to account for it.

If you think that commons will totally replace commodities in one go, then
indeed there is no need for trade and money, from the hypothetical day one;
if you believe that this is not possible, as I do (like Marx), then there
will be a transition period, however, long, in which different modalities
will co-exist.

Trade is the exchange of commodities or any rival good for which an
exchange is expected, i.e. for which non-recriprocal giving without
expectation is not seen as adequate by the parties engaged; money is the
measure of value (and store of, etc.. ) in which this is expressed; and
that value expression need not be determined by the labor theory of value
(it can, but it doesn't have to, it's not that important at all; the fact
is there is no consensus about what value is, or how it is determined,
there never was, and there is not now ... a very long historical overview
of value by david graeber shows beyond any doubt that this is the
historical reality behind value). An adequate theory of value is not
needed, in my opinion, for successfull social change.

Methodologically, we can  adequately approach  the question of the regime
of value in a p2p society only if  we abstract from  money and trade.

In this point I have two questions for you: What is trade? What is money?

For me money is the representation of abstract labor congealed in
commodities. Money represents commodities. Trade is the exchange of
commodities through the mediation of money, with the caveat that barter is
also a form of trade.  This is clearly a Marxian approach. If commons will
replace commodities how can we talk of trade and money?
I know that  Polanyi claimed  that money was commons in pre-capitalist
societies and was turned into a commodity by capitaism. But this confusion
of commons and money stems from the fact that Polanyi did not undrestand
the nature of  money.  He had no adequate theory of value.

I think  agreement, or at least clarification of differences, on the
concepts of money and trade is essential for further advancement of the
discussion. So I look forward to reading your (and others') concepts of
money and trade.

all the best

Michel Bauwens <michel> 03/31/12 11:46 PM >>>
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thanks Christian,

I'm glad that we have that settled and that you agree that there were
markets outside of capitalism.

Imagine a situation where labor, money, and nature are not commodities,
but commons

can you then accept that some people would still want to trade/exchange/
and other forms of reciprocal arrangements to manage the flow of certain
rival goods,

or do you see 'only non-reciprocal exchanges' as legitimate and lawful,

if you agree that they are legitimate and that you do not wish for the
power to illegalize them, then we have a plural economy under the
dominance, but not exclusivity of the commons


On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 9:54 PM, Christian Siefkes <christian>wrote:

Hi Michel, all,

On 03/30/2012 07:58 AM, Michel Bauwens wrote:
Because of these conflicting tendencies, I don't think the scenario
of a
long-term, more or less peaceful co-existence of peer production and
production credible. Market production is totalitarian:

well, this is absolutely factually and historically incorrect ... even
tribal times, there have always been a multitude of exchange and
reciprocity mechanisms, except for perhaps really small bands who had
contact with outsiders ... david graeber's latest book for example,
how market mechanisms were used with strangers and enemies in tribal
societies ...

that is not my point, see what I wrote next:

if some goods (e.g. health care in your example) are only available
the market (by paying for them), then *everybody* must remain a
producer (engaging in some form of paid work or else living from the
of others), since otherwise how would they get the necessary money?

Clearly, reciprocity (possibly in the form of generalized reciprocity)
exists in every society, as I already pointed out in an earlier mail.
by exchange you mean relationship of the form "if you do/give me this,
do/give you that" (e.g. a little boy saying to a little girl [or vice
versa]: "show me yours and I'll show you mine"), then exchange will also
exist in any society. That's uncontroversial, and pretty uninteresting.

If we want to learn something about specific forms of society, we have
more specific. Modern market-based societies have the following traits,
which I would consider as necessary when we want to reasonably talk
"market production" (as opposed to: some other form of production, in
markets might have played a side rule):

1. Most people's livelihood depends on their being able to acquire goods
the market. (As I said above: some goods [that are essential for
survival] are only available on the market.)

2. Most people are free to sell their own labor power, as well as the
results of their labor. (In other words: there is a job market.)

In tribal, feudal, and most other non-capitalist societies, neither of
conditions was true. Maybe a whole tribe actually needed exchange with
outsiders to get what they couldn't produce themselves, but people's
individual survival depended first and foremost on the tribe. Likewise
feudalism, different manors might have needed trade, but the survival of
individual serfs depended on their own subsistence production and the
protection they received from their lord of the manor (see ). Also, serfs might have had the
to sell surplus produce on the market, but they certainly had no right
sell their labor power. And tribe members wouldn't have been able to
their labor power without leaving the tribe, probably forever.

So whenever we look at a society, whether real or imaginary, we have to
whether these two conditions, especially the first one, hold.
the first condition was true but not the second -- you need access to
market to buy necessary goods, but you have nothing to sell -- only
would result. Indeed that's the situation of a majority of the world's
people today: while nominally free to sell their labor power, they
find a capitalist interested in buying it, and they lack the means to
successfully run their own business.)

I predict that whenever these conditions are true, the resulting society
will look pretty similar to what we have today, since the basics of
competition are then in effect. (You are forced to out-compete others in
order to successfully sell your labor power or some other goods; you can
grow your market niche and possibly expand your market share [thus
increasing your likelihood of long-term economic success] by destroying
non-market access to the goods you would like to sell; etc.)

And yet people tell me we can get out of capitalism without overcoming
condition 1, people's dependence on the market. I won't believe that for

there are multiple ways to provide healtcare outside, with, and in the
market. I have lived in a country with free healthcare that was a
state, mutualist and market dynamics until 10 years ago; so again,
factually and historically totally incorrect, it is perfectly possible
have hybrid modes

Sure, in some countries there is free health care, but does it exist
the market? Your initial assumption, if I remember correctly, was that
doctors and nurses would still have to be paid, and that's certainly
for the countries with a (more or less) free health care system I'm
of, such as Great Britain. So there is still a market for labor, and
people being forced to sell their labor power, that health care system
not exist.

Evidently I *do* believe that there are ways of organizing health care
outside the market system, and maybe some existing mutualist approaches
already closer to what peer produced health care might be (don't know
of them to judge). But in any case we have to look deeper as just to
or not the "product" is free.

Meanwhile, for a long time we'll remain in some kind of hybrid
where many people will be engaged in some kind of peer production,
still needing some kind of paid work (part-time maybe, like me) to
money necessary to buy what peer production cannot yet provide.

and this is where we cannot afford only imagining and dreaming, but
to leverage change where necessary

Very true (provided the change is in the right direction, of course).

Best regards

|------- Dr. Christian Siefkes ------- christian -------
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| Peer Production Everywhere:
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