Distributive Markets

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Neil Cummings:

"A distributive market, unlike a competitive market, is based on mutuality. A distributive market is more like an ecology, where participants recognize themselves as, simultaneously, a producer, distributor, browser, relay and ‘consumer', it's a peer-to-peer exchange where diversity and co-dependency are vital.

In competitive markets, participants seek to eradicate others, the drive is to monopolize resources, to dominate and maximize financial profit. In competitive markets the ‘best’ financial price exploits the difference between the cost of 'materials', their production and eventual distribution, and the price paid by the ‘consumer’. Buy cheap sell expensive. Within distributive markets this logic looses its force. The ‘best’ price is that which respects the co-dependency of the network of networked interests. The aim of those transacting is not to destroy one another through monopolistic antagonism, but like wrestlers wrestling, recognize the reciprocity necessary in any exchange. Its an agonistic market.

Distributive markets are networks of interrelated interests and values, and interrelated interests and values can only function, obviously, in useful combination with others. Markets therefore, as Simmel so perceptively observed, are social mechanism that enable people to swap, trade, bargain, compete, and cooperate; essentially to transact. Which makes transacting, first and foremost a communication praxis; and distributive markets communications technologies. Peoples come together to transact, perhaps for quite different reasons; they do not need to exchange equitably, or even communicate in the same language; all that is required is that they have some ‘goods’ to transact, and social conventions to enable the transaction; a distributive market. Transactions are possible without physical 'goods', and without ownership. All that is necessary – like language itself - is that one value be substituted for another, and that interested parties can apprehend the substitution. Values, values of all kinds can be made present, substituted and transacted. A transaction is not even attached to the ‘goods’ transacted, it’s the ability to make present or real, relationships between people. Social relations as deep, subtle and complex as this, could never be subsumed by mere financialization." (http://www.neilcummings.com/content/transacting-0)