[p2p-research] Life after capitalism

Kevin Carson free.market.anticapitalist at gmail.com
Thu Aug 20 23:10:57 CEST 2009

On 8/15/09, Christian Siefkes <christian at siefkes.net> wrote:

>  Michel Bauwens wrote:

>  > do you see the contradiction in your last paragraph: you support market-
>  > based open  manufacturing, yet oppose any effort to improve the
>  > conditions in which this would occur?

> Open manufacturing has the effect of reducing our dependency on markets,
>  just like free software.

>  Clearly, open manufacturing alone does not make us completely independent
>  from the market, but it's a start.

>  > Are you
>  > opposed to the open source hardware bank of the Arduino community? Do
>  > you prefer they would use capitalist banks instead?

> That doesn't look like a bank, but rather like a way to get distributed
>  venture capital. If it works for the people and projects involved, why not?
>  Why should I be against it?
>  Of course, any money-based approach still has the problem that people who
>  don't have the money can't get the products. That's inevitable, but as long
>  as there are other options (e.g. produce the stuff yourself for [almost]
>  free in a Fab Lab, or at least find some independent manufacturer who might
>  make it cheaper), it's not so bad.
>  As long as the desire/necessity to make money doesn't hurt the freedom of
>  other potential manufacturers and users (e.g. by the open hardware project
>  deliberately withholding information that is necessary for others to produce
>  copies of the same quality), it's fine with me.

> If something is a good think (and OM certainly is), it's always helpful to
>  improve the conditions for it. So, provided that something really helps,
>  I'm all for it.

Your clarifying comments here are very helpful.  I would argue that
p2p money or credit systems function in a manner analogous to what you
describe for OS hardware:  they reduce peer producers' dependence on
the credit market for investment funds.

Distributed venture capital, as you say re Arduino, is an alternative
to capitalist banks as a source of investment funds when capital
outlays are beyond the resources of an individual of average means.

Distributed approaches to aggregating many small capitals are actually
an answer to the problem that people lack money.  The revolutions in
digital production and in low-cost physical production machinery, and
in peer-organization of production, reduce the entry barriers imposed
by high cost of physical capital.  Not only is a larger share of
production equipment affordable by individuals or small groups, but
peer networks reduce cost by maximizing utilization of spare cycles.
And peer-credit, by way of analogy, reduces the entry barriers to
physical production by making it feasible to aggregate many small
capitals into one without high transaction costs and without monopoly
rents to those who have a state-granted monopoly on the right to
perform the aggregating function.

Peer credit and peer money, even given the existing distribution of
resources, increase the efficiency with which peer communities can
aggregate and use those resources already possessed by their members.

Re the debate over peer money and scarcity of money, by the way, I
just finished reading
Tom Greco's The End of Money.  He argues for mutual credit clearing
networks as a way of facilitating exchange between those who have
services to offer, and those who want them, even when neither has any
"money" as defined by official legal tender.
Kevin Carson
Center for a Stateless Society http://c4ss.org
Mutualist Blog:  Free Market Anti-Capitalism
Studies in Mutualist Political Economy
Organization Theory:  A Libertarian Perspective

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