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Re: [ox-en] Re: Governments using Free Software

Stefan Meretz wrote:
On 2007-11-28 23:58, graham wrote:
Could you explain?
I am trying to generalize on the basis of some very limited personal
experience, so this may well be wrong (if I write 'often', it's a

Thank you.

Now I think that capital must flow through the company as a whole for
capitalism to work, and not just through the bank account or physical
production. And the way it flows through is via the budgets of
individual departments, which are the power base of the managers in
those departments. The turnover of a department is just as much the
measure of its importance as the turnover of a company is. So the
internal flow of capital provides the power base which allows a
capitalist organisation to work. Without it there would always be the
risk of the collapse of hierarchy, where hierarchy is no longer
supported by tradition. No hierarchy, end of system: so attempts to
do anything that would reduce it are treated as attacks. Fully free
software within a company reduces the flow of capital and endangers
hierarchy (mind you, so in a different way does the use of IM without
authorization by all the staff...)

So you put the rivalery between free and proprietary software into the 
framework of transition from fordist to post-fordist types of 

I wasn't thinking of that. But I don't actually believe in the existence
of a non-hierarchical post-fordism within capitalism (see below)

However, how important is this hierarchy type of 
organisation yet? Aren't there more and more flat types, which should 
be in favor of free software?

My only experience of 'flat' types (apart from in very small companies)
is with an organization which had about 120 staff, and 3 levels of
hierarchy. The top level was 'fixed' (formal members of management), the
middle level was nominally temporary and assigned according to tasks
required (IT manager being one of these). However the people who were
actually assigned to the intermediate level were generally people with
personal connections with the top level, and there was quite fierce
in-fighting not only to keep positions at this level, but also to
increase budgets for projects and to increase the number of third level
staff under their control. The competition was probably more than in a
formal hierarchy where the position, once gained, is fixed. So if this
is typical of supposed 'flat' organisations then my arguments apply more
to them than to the older type of organisation.

economic). But I would like to hear why it isn't right, based on
others' experience.

I have some experience in my "firm" which is a union. There was a small 
group fighting for a change to free software. We lost concerning the 
desktops, we won concerning web services (because finally we did it). 
We lost on the desktops because of two reasons (maybe only one): 
qualification of employees and more important qualification of the 
technical staff. In our example not the management was stopping, but 
the middle technical personal (btw. directly supported by Microsoft).

OK, so you have an example where the flow of capital is not directly
involved at all. But I guess that there is still an element of being
afraid of losing power, independently of whether money is involved. What
would have happened if the middle technical staff had said 'yes', I
wonder: would it have been blocked higher up? Would that 'direct
support' of Microsoft to technical staff have become 'direct personal
links' with higher management?


They smartly used the moment of inertia of a big organisation.


Contact: projekt

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