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Wertkritische Gedanken werden schön langsam international populär. Das Undenkbare - eine Welt ohne Geld - ist vor dem Hintergrund der unübersehbaren Entwicklung einer anderen Ökonomie auf Basis freier Modi denkbar geworden. Michel Bauwens replizierte in seinem Blog auf einen interessanten Artikel von Adam Arvidsson, den ich vom Autor zur Publikation in Oekonux erhalten habe. Da ich aber auf der deutschen Liste derzeit nicht subskribiert bin, stell ich ihn mal auf chat, wird schon noch jemand crossposten. Franz ###################################################### Michel Bouwens in http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/: 22nd June 2007 Adam Arvidsson has just sent me his latest essay, and I have no hesitation to call it a landmark essay because it is the very first really cogent analysis of the emerging Crisis of Value which is affecting the present market economy model. In short, a new second economy is arising, which he calls the Ethical Economy, which does not run according to monetary exchange, and can only be very partially monetized and controlled by the market. There is a crisis of value he says, because this new economy cannot be measured, either because the right metrics are not yet in place, but perhaps more fundamentally, because it is largely beyond measure, and even what can be measured of it, cannot be directly related to the monetary economy. This essay is as yet unpublished 1. Adam Arvidsson - The Crisis of Value and the Ethical Economy ?We have sophisticated metrics which capture Love and Respect? Kevin Roberts, CEO of the Saatchi & Saatchi Ideas Company (1) It is becoming ever more obvious, as even the mainstream business press is acknowledging this, that the information economy is split in two; we have two economies rather than one (or three, if we include the growing criminal or informal economy which we will not treat in this paper). On the one hand, there is the traditional capitalist economy that works with monetary incentives. This economy still handles the main part of material production: the production of cars, shoes, computer chips, and the transportation and maintenance of these goods. But immaterial production- the production of the ideas, innovations, experiences and other intangibles that virtually everybody agrees to be the most important source of value and development- is increasingly performed by another economy that does not primarily move according to monetary incentives. Most people who participate in creating the enormous wealth of content that give MySpace or YouTube their market values are not in it for the money. Instead they want to build networks, make friends, show off, be cool or what have you. The same thing goes for the users who participate in the multitude of smaller, less famous sites that make up the new productive developments known as Web 2.0. Neither are the people who participate in the many business initiated user-led innovation initiatives that now proliferate, like the Nokia Concept Lounge (450.000 visitors, 4.500 Ideas submitted) or user generated advertising campaigns like Heinz tv-challenge, primarily there for the money. (2) Indeed the very business sense behind such initiatives is that they give access to an enormous reservoir of free creativity that needs not be paid for (to be deployed either in the actual design of products or advertisements, or, more importantly perhaps, in brand building, von Hippel, 2006). The importance of such non-monetary production is however not limited to the world of on-line initiatives or web 2.0. Within companies it has long been recognized that the prime source of productivity is not what people get paid for, but what is more difficult to include in a job description: their ability to network, share knowledge and support each other, to co-create a good working environment, a marketable service or a flexible organization. Managers recognize that the best way to foster such forms of cooperation is not through monetary incentives, but rather by fostering a solid corporate culture with strong values, a strong sense of solidarity or commitment, a particular ?mood? or ?vibe? (cf. Brian & Joyce, 2006). Similarly marketers have discovered that the autonomous cooperation among consumers is an important source of brand value (Holt. 2002, Arvidsson, 2006). Finally, the ?creative economy? of the urban music, arts and fashion scenes, which is growing in importance as a productive externality for the creative industries proper, is not primarily motivated by monetary incentives. Most members of the ?creative class? do not live off their creative labour, but rather accept poor or precarious economic conditions as a (temporary, they hope) trade off for the ability to realize themselves or pursue their dreams (Florida, 2002, cf. Arvidsson, 2007). I have chosen to call this emerging non-monetary economy an ?ethical? economy. Not because I necessarily believe that it is inherently better or nicer than the mainstream corporate economy. Instead, my choice of the term ?ethical? refers to the fact that this economy is largely coordinated by respect, peer-status, networks, friendships and other forms of inter-personal recognition; and it is geared towards the accumulation of such forms of interpersonal recognition, what sociologists would call ?social capital?. After all ethics in the classic (pre-Kantian) sense of the term, was not primarily concerned with deciding between good and bad, but with regulating the interaction between free human beings (men) in a situation where no explicit hierarchies or obligations (whether moral or monetary) prevailed. Ethos (as opposed to nomos) was thus directly related to the ?small world? of interpersonal relations in an environment with no given hierarchies and a generalized contingency. Now this ?ethical climate? closely resembles the ?post-modern condition? in general (cf. Bauman, 1993), and in particular the kind of cooperative peer production that marks the productive condition of these networks (Bauwens, 2005). So this economy is ?ethical? in the sense that it is coordinated by a number of emergent media of interpersonal recognition (respect, peer status, networks, friendship). But it is also ?ethical? in the sense that its valuable product is often an ?ethical thing?: a community, a shared value (like the appreciation of a brand or the lived values of an organization) or an affective intensity. The ethical economy mainly produces what Maurizio Lazzarato (1997) has called an ?ethical surplus?, a social relation, a value, an affective intensity that was not there before. Indeed, we could argue that what the ethical economy really produces is (however transitory) forms of order in an increasingly fluid and contingent world: the organization of a productive process (as in a project team arising in a flexible organization), a distinction between friends and enemies (as in a MySpace network), a community, or an affective intensity (as in a music concert or a YouTube video), or the (however temporary) ability to say that something is better or more useful than something else (as in the aggregate of social judgements that results form a Google search). An emerging structural feature of the capitalist information economy is thus that value is less based on direct command over a productive process, and more founded on the ability to organize and appropriate an external production process: to tap into the ethical economy and subsume it. This is true for Web 2.0 successes like MySpace or Google who do not primarily found their business models on the valorization of intellectual property, but on the organization of productive networks. Michel Bauwens (2005) calls this form of capital ?netarchic? in that it primarily exploits the formation of networks. The same model applies to less obvious cases, like the pharmaceutical company that constructs an online forum for health practitioners in order to siphon off their knowledge and innovations; the market research company that mines the data consumers freely supply in their online movement for marketable patterns; the advertising agency that lives of its ability to read new trends and forms of cool, or even the struggling ?creative? that acquires market value by capitalizing on her personality and network in an effort to ?self-brand?. In this situation, value becomes increasingly based on the ability to translate the products of one, namely ethical economy, to the standards of another, monetary economy. There is a general agreement within the management literature that, overall, the products of the ethical economy do have important monetary values, that, for example, Share-holder Value Performance and Social Value Performance correlate in the abstract, or that strongly lived corporate values do have monetary values in that they increase the efficiency of cooperation. But there is, so far, no standard measure able to determine the exact, or even approximate value of the particular products of this ethical economy. (Rather there is a proliferation of ad hoc measures that work with very different standards.) This absence of a measure points towards a power vacuum within the information economy. There is no common measure simply because nobody has been strong enough to impose a common measure, or to put in more Nietzschian terms, to decide what the values should be. Indeed, the issue is not so much ontological as it is sociological. It is not that you cannot measure ?ethical things? like love or respect, there are systems that do this as we will show below. It is rather that the ethical economy presents a problem of measure for the capitalist monetary economy because it largely unfolds beyond its direct control. The situation was similar, two centuries ago. The way in which industrial capitalism established itself was by imposing its own measure of value as the societal standard, against the moral economy of peasant tradition. Modern management, emerged (with Taylorist scientific management) as an attempt to break down the complex networks of craft production into simple units of worker-machine interaction that cold be measured in terms of labour time. (And modern consumerism was largely shaped by the need to impose a different conception of the value of time: that it was better spent productively to acquire more goods than idly in rest once one had accumulated enough.) Consequently, productivity could be defined as output per unit of labour time. Although this kind of measure originated with the situation of material factory production it has since been extended to various forms of immaterial labour, like the taylorized production of services at McDonalds restaurants, call-centres and increasingly, British universities. So the problem of measure is not about the nature of immaterial production. It is rather about its sociological relation to ?the (capitalist) machine? that mediates productive interaction within the factory or organization. Indeed, the further we move from the original situation in which this philosophy of measurement developed, the less the quantum of time spent interacting with a machine that also acts as a disciplining device (whether a material machine or an immaterial, organizational one), and the more emergent factors like networks, tacit knowledge and social organization- what Marx called ?General Intellect?- matters, the less valid this form of measurement becomes. And we can argue that the main productive contribution of information- and communication technologies is unleashing of such General Intellect on a societal scale, which is difficult to control and measure. (And the reason why the relation between investments in ICTs and productivity growth is tenuous is precisely that productive contribution of this General Intellect largely unfolds outside of the monetary economy.) The result is a ?crisis of value?: a lot of the actual wealth produced cannot be measured, or can only be measured with great difficulty. And what cannot be measured can hardly be managed. In many ways the contemporary proliferation of Non Financial Performance Metrics can be read as a response to the crisis of value that confronts contemporary capitalism. Sometimes these metrics originate with NGOs or other actors who want to make their particular value agenda prevail. They are subsequently welcomed by corporations: in part because they offer new and complimentary ways to estimate their social value. Often such metrics are developed by consultancies as a way to legitimized increasingly blatant discrepancies between the market values of companies and their ?book values?, captured by antiquated accounting systems designed to capture the material realties of industrial production. Most such systems, like brand valuation for example, are not developed to measure the empirical performance of a brand, but to provide an explanation for what is chiefly an accounting problem. The point is that these measurements have no common origin, but emerge out of a multitude of agendas and concerns, most of which are not primarily preoccupied with actual measurement. So when they are successful that is not because they work as valid measurements of some independent reality: what does a system like Buzzmetrics, that provides a quantitative estimate of how often a brand or organization is mentioned in the blogsphere, really say about its potential to make money? How does the ?wall of codes?, where Chinese garment factories tape up the codes of conduct, imposed on them by (mostly) western subcontractors relate to worker rights or environmental standards? Does the performance review measure anything apart form excellence in filling in performance review forms and other forms of documentation? Rather these systems work if they can become self-fulfilling. If a company like Interbrand claims that a brand is worth $ X million (based on a combination of factors ranging from its spending on advertising, via the number of patents the company possesses to the brand?s standing in trend barometers) then investors will act on this and the brand will attract money. Such metrics primarily work to guide investment decisions on financial markets that have become increasingly distanced form the realities of real wealth production (whether material or immaterial), but as tools for aligning ?shareholder value-creation and social value-creation? they are virtually worthless (Chatterji & Levine, 2006). Interestingly, the ethical economy is developing its own measurement systems, and these are directly aimed at measuring the social, rather than the monetary value of people or products. Of course such systems have always existed on a rudimental level, in the form of guidebooks and peer advice. But new information and communication technologies take this to a new level by enabling the aggregation of complex assemblages of such peer-produced data. Affinity markets, like ALOHAS (Association for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, an estimated $ 227 billion market) allow the valuation of products not simply according to their monetary prices, but also according to a multitude of alternative values systems (like, in this case environmental sustainability). Peer based systems for the evaluation of trust or reputation, like Slashdot?s Karma system, E-bay?s system of user rating or advanced alternative econometric indicators like the ?Gross or Net Orchestrated Convivality? developed by the Centre for Adventure Economics, connected to the hospitality network Couchsurfing, aggregate the social standing of a product or individual into an easily managed quantitative index. Such alternative, emergent measurement systems significantly empower the ethical economy, by endowing it with its own means of organization. Indeed the next thing on the horizon are the alternative or Open Money systems that are emerging all across the globe. These can accomplish the coordination of scarce resources by means of media that are both disconnected from the global capitalist economy and thus oriented to alternative value flows, and that provide different protocols for action.(3) The advantages of such peer based measurement systems are that they are emergent. They are not imposed by managers, NGOs or other organizations who might have little knowledge of the actual productive realities of particular practice, and who tend to impose ?codes of conduct?, which easily degenerate into mere bureaucratic exercises. Instead they are generated by the community itself, and hence tend to give a more realistic estimate of the social impact of a product, organization or person. And we can envision that such peer-based valuation systems will become more efficient with technological development. With a mobile internet and developed RFID tagging it could be possible to sweep one?s mobile phone over a sweater or another piece of garment to instantly acquire a quantitative estimate of what several thousand people, placed all along the production and distribution chain say about its environmental impact, respect for worker?s rights, adherence to particular religious practices, or what have you. It might also be possible to use your cell phone to easily acquire products with alternative currencies, like units of credit earned writing for a blog or hosting someone on your couch. The perspective for the immediate future is that the monetary capitalist economy will continue to loose its monopoly over the measurement, and hence also the organization of productive processes. This is natural, since that monopoly has essentially been founded on a monopoly over the means of organization. It has only been possible to govern complex productive networks like the modern corporation, by means of efficient information processing machines like the bureaucracy. Likewise, the central bank with its large affiliated research institutions was the only organ capable of determining the price of money with any accuracy. Today such information monopolies are challenged. Central banks have but a minimal influence over the price of money, Most is determined by financial markets, which are in essence mediated real time interaction systems, not very different from Second Life (Zaloom, 2006).(4) In the form of Information and Communication technologies the means of organization have been socialized to the extent that alternative coordination and measurement systems can and do arise beyond the direct control of corporate capital. The outcomes of this are twofold. On the one hand, such new peer based measurement systems can be integrated into the value dynamics of corporate capitalism. This is already happening: the proliferation of non- financial performance metrics is a (generally inefficient) step in that direction. There are also a number of consultancies that provide advice on performing such integration, like Namaste economics, offering to ?integrate economics with social values? or the Karmainitative, providing ?trust metrics in the market place?. On the other hand we can predict that corporate capitalism and the institutions at its control will resist and repress attempts at constructing alternative valuation and measurement media. Again this is already happening. We can understand Intellectual Property legislation and Digital Rights Management systems as attempts not only to enforce property claims, but also to restrict the circulation of such property to circuits in which measurable values are created. Central banks and financial markets are bound to resist the proliferation of alternative currencies once these become sufficiently influential A Case for the Ethical Economy In any case, the resolution of this crisis of value is crucial to the future of the information economy. Today we find ourselves in a situation where a large share of the growing immaterial economy is not recognized as valuable by capital. The result is an underpaid, underemployed and generally precarious ?creative proletariat? that does not receive any retribution form either capital or the state. (Think of absurd unemployment policies that force young people into unproductive job-training programs.) More generally we maintain a capitalist economy the very monetary protocol of which is geared towards a continuous expansion which is neither environmentally nor socially sustainable. On the positive side, new and alternative valuation systems are emerging and will probably further proliferate in the future. At the same time the spread of Socially Responsible Investment and sustainable accounting systems means that financial investors are recognizing that there is a massive discrepancy between the actually sustainable social value of a company and its value on the books, as recognized by traditional accountancy systems. Market research is also going beyond the study of buying decisions to try to develop ways to valorize and include consumer produced opinion and sentiment before it reaches the market (Bonini et al. 2007). On the other hand, however there is a strong structural incompatibility between the privatizing logic of Intellectual Property Right on which the monetary economy relies and the sharing logic of the ethical economy. The likely outcome is a shift of real productive power over to the ethical economy. * First the productivity of this economy accelerates with the ongoing diffusion of ICTs. Companies or states that embraces its logic are bound to perform better than those who do not. (This way the situation is similar to the bourgeois revolution where states who embraced trade and manufacture grew more powerful than those who did not.) * Second because the ethical economy is generates new forms of political participation. We already see emerging trends like the social entrepreneurship movement that are mobilizing the disenfranchised political energies of the educated and networked middle classes (Ray & Anderson, 2000), while the political institutions of twentieth century capitalism, as well as its chief ideology, consumerism, are loosing their appeal. * Thirdly, even though the monetary economy today commands the lions share of material production, that share is likely to diminish in the future. Trends in desktop manufacturing, in rapid manufacturing and tooling, in easy to localize multi-purpose machinery, in personal fabricators that move from plastic to metals, will tend to distribute physical productive capacity and undermine the industrial model of capitalism. The problem is that as physical production will become more distributed, and associated with financial trends such as social lending and the direct social production of money and wealth acknowledgement systems, any strategy that aims to replace lower rates of physical profit with higher rates of immaterial profit, will tend to be undermined by the generalization of open designs. So we have a deepening crisis of accumulation of capital on the horizon. Finally, the present model of capitalism is rapidly loosing legitimacy. It begins to be obvious to more and more people that a model that builds on the creation of an artificial abundance of non renewable natural resources and an artificial scarcity of easy-to-renew immaterial resources is not only unsustainable but also ethically corrupt. Given these scenarios, states and other political actors would do well to develop strategies to strengthen and enable the productivity of the ethical economy. This would entail an increasing state involvement in social productive practices facilitating access to technology and other means of production, enabling (instead of repressing) sharing and other new forms of distribution and standing up against global pressures to enforce restrictive IP legislation. Second it would entail some form of comprehensive valorization of the ethical economy so that the many participants producing social wealth outside of the market would be able to live off their efforts. Footnotes 1) ?Loyal beyond reason?, A Presentation to Various US Defence Agencies, New York City 9 March, 2005 (on how to better ?brand? and ?sell? the Iraqui war), available at http://www.brandweek.com/brandweek/photos/2005/09/20050919RobertsSpeech.pdf (accessed 20/6-2007). 2) Nokia does not offer any cash prices but seems to suggest that the cool interactivity of the experience is reward enough in itself. Heinz offers a cash price of $ 57.000 but only to the winner, the main motivation is presented as the possibility to be seen: all contributed videos will be posted on Heinz websites ?and seen by up to 65.000 viewers?, finalists go on national television ?and reach millions of viewers?. Similarly Electrolux Design Lab, a contest open for design school students offers rather meagre cash prices (? 5000 and ? 3000 for first and second price). The real cherry is rather the event in itself, ?with a star-packed jury? and ?an exciting press conference with journalists from around the world?. 3) We use the term protocol in Alex Galloway?s (2004) sense as the preferences or ?affordances? for particular actions that are inscribed in a particular medium. The protocol of official money, for example promotes expansion and productive investment. Since interest rates are positive, money has a price, and that price can only be paid by investing money so that more money is made. This way the established monetary economy is one in continuous expansion 4) Along with others, Zaloom has shown how the determination of values on financial markets is not so much determined by Keynes? anarchic ?animal spirits?, as much as it is anchored in the consistent construction of the market and other market actors as a meaningful relational object. In their interaction with the cold facts of numbers on a screen, traders base their strategies on their ability to imagine ??the market? as a place populated by actors who have ethical motivations and are driven by values. They ?find and exploit the social? and search for ?hidden values and phantom figures lurking beneath the numbers? (Zaloom, 2006:82). ----- 2. Response by Michel Bouwens: Dear Adam: This is an absolutely remarkable text, to which I do not have much to add, but perhaps I could restate some of the issues in a somewhat different language, and confront it to my own concerns and research at the P2P Foundation. 1. You are absolutely right that there is a new post-monetary 'economy' evolving. In my view, it takes three main forms. One, the sharing economy, which is primarily about sharing one's creative expression, not geared to the production of common value directly. Such individuals or groups generally produce for their own use value and enjoyment, for the alternative recognition systems that you mention (knowledge, relationship, reputational value). Expected monetary returns are marginal to the main motivation. In this scenario, I believe that the individuals have weak links to each other, and they are happy to accept that the platforms that enable such sharing are created by others, presently by the Web 2.0 proprietary platforms. These in turn, use the aggregated attention to fund and profit from these platforms. In my opinion, it is governed by a social contract which says, from the point of view of the users: it is fine that you provide such a platform, and that you profit from it, provided our freedom to share is respected as well. Such netarchical platforms are then driven to the contradictory positioning of having to stimulate community and freedom (let's call it the dolphin type of behavior, based on the notion of the abundance of sharing), with the fight for marketshare with other attention aggregators (let's call it the shark type of behavior). The tendency to protect the turf through closure, as against the total freedom of movement of the users, has to be kept in balance with the kind of freedom demanded by the users, who could move away to another platform. Two, the commons economy. Here there is a much more conscious collective construction of common value, think of Linux or Wikipedia. Such construction is only possible by forging stronger links, driven for example by the need for consensus on Wikipedia pages. Such more strongly linked communities often have their own infrastructure. Nevertheless, such communities, and the individuals involved, also tend to appreciate, under certain conditions, the involvement of commercial entities, which can strengthen the project. Such companies create derivate business strategies, based on creating relative scarcities around the common pool, in return for some kind of support for the common efforts. This is in my view the underlying social contract of this second form, i.e. the need for the profiting parties to create some kind of return flow to the commons and their communities. Third, the crowdsourcing economy (more generally, the co-creation economy whereby for-profit entities integrate the demand and opportunity participation in their own business models and value chains). Given that both the sharing and commons oriented value creating models show that innovation is becoming social, it is normal that existing institutions, in particular the for-profit business companies, seek to integrate such social innovation in their own value chains. What does it mean that innovation is becoming social? It means that innovation is less and less an internal affair, paid for by corporate funds and their R & D departments. It means that it is more and more an emerging quality of the networks itself, arising from the multitude of interactions within and between individuals and communities. It means that it can arise without the intervention of capital or the state, or for that matter, academia. It means, amongst other things, that the capital needed for starting an internet company has decreased by 80% in 8 years. The role of capital therefore shift to being an a priori enabler of such social innovation, such is the role and strategy of crowdsourcing, and of a posteriori captation of value, as is the case with the sharing and the commons models. Dare we say that capital is more parasitical in such context. To return to the crowdsourcing model, this is the most direct model of trying to integrate these innovation processes right in the value chain of the corporations, but it is also the one were the underlying social contract is the shakiest, because the 'exploitation' is the most visible. It is in this context that the value creators, the participating public, most clearly sees that the value they are creating is being used with the most little return. We must also note that monetary value that is being realized by the capital players, is ? in many if not most of the cases, not of the same order as the value created by the social innovation processes. The user-producers-participants are creating direct use value, videos in YouTube, knowledge and software in the case of commons-oriented projects. This use value is put in common pool, freely usable, and therefore, does not consist of scarce products for which pricing can be demanded. The sharing platforms live from selling the derivative attention created, not the use value itself. In the commons model, the abundant commons can also not be directly marketed, without the creation of additional 'scarcities'. Finally, as Adam Arvidsson shows, even in crowdsourcing, the value may often not be in the product design themselves, but in other forms of value, such as branding, etc? 2. Does this not create a crisis of accumulation of capital? We can already posit a number of conclusions from our comments above. One, it is now possible to create all kinds of use value without, or with only a minimal, intervention of capital. We are dealing with post-monetary, post-capitalist modes of value creation and exchange, that are both immanent, i.e. embedded, to the market, but also transcendent to it, i.e. operating outside its boundaries. Two, capital is increasingly dependent, and profiting in all kinds of ways, from the positive externalities of such social innovation. Three, the full , partial, or hybrid peer production models that we discuss above, may be collectively sustainable as value creation processes, but do not offer a direct solution for the income and survivability of the participants. So the challenge can be described as follows: 1) we have a process of social innovation which creates mostly non-monetary value for the participants; 2) we may have an increasingly huge gap between the possibility of creating post-monetary value, and the derivative exchange values that are realized by enterprise; 3) the participants engaged in such passionate production and innovation, mostly cannot find in such processes an answer to their own sustainability. Hence, the impossibility to realize more than just a small partial monetary value, from the point of view of most commercial players. Increasing precarity for the participants of social innovation. In other words, the current market model does not have a reverse process of redistribution for the value that is being created. This might of course be a temporary crisis, but we do not believe it is. The reason is that the market can only indirectly and partially provide monetary compensation for processes which are not motivated by such compensation. What we need therefore are more general redistributive processes that allow society and the market to give back part of the value that is being so created. One possibility is the further development of transitional labour market measures (protect the worker, not the job), which recognize the flexibility and mobility of contemporary careers. But this needs an important add-on development: the realization that contemporary workers are moving not just from job to job, but also from jobs to non-jobs, and that in fact, what is most useful and meaningful for them (and the market, and society) are not the paid jobs for the market, but the episodes of passionate production. It seems to me therefore that a more general measure, not linked to the job, but conceived as a repayment for, and enabler of, social innovation, is needed. The name of that general measure is most probably some form of basic income. 3. Different value systems, different economies, different measurement systems Whether or not such measures materialize, peer production and social innovation are there to stay. We will in all likelyhood have at least two competing economies, or even three. The first one is the market economy for scarce physical goods. It is likely that this part of the economy will have to cope with the increasing presence of open designs, and therefore, will be more and more a form of built-only capitalism, based on commons-derivate business models. Note that in this sector, the property rents (copyright, etc?) might dramatically decline, and hence the associated profit rates as well. The second part of the market economy will be the market for attention, that will realize part of the value of the sharing economy, and can provide some kind of return to the peer producers. Then there will be the non-market, non-monetary part of the economy. It will increase in value and scope, but not create additional monetary streams. In other words, no matter how many reputation schemes, wealth acknowledgement systems, or collective quality-control schemes might be developed, this is not directly linked to any monetization by the market economy. It will feed it indirectly, but will never be fully monetized. This is a fact we have to learn to deal with, and have to reorganize our political economy around. As I argue above, I expect that communities will develop various forms of gifting, sharing and exchange, as well as a number of affinity or community based currencies to measure such value. And in addition to that, some general form of redistribution or monetary repayment may have to be created. 4. The Ethical Economy, Power, and Common Norms I may disagree with Adam Arvidsson that this emerging ethical economy, a concept that I consider analogous to what I call the emerging sphere of peer production, is not 'necessarily better' than the older monetary production. Of course, peer production will create its own problems and contradictions, and will indeed create a rather rocky transition time. But I believe that there are strong reasons that this new mode will win out. First of all, the new mode is more productive. More value, more innovation, more usefulness is created for its participants and society and general. For profit companies that rely on proprietary strategies, and where innovation is dependent and limited by competition, will tend to loose out, over time, due to this asymmetric competition, to the for benefit institutions and their associated communities of peer producers which constantly innovate. Second, the process is more participative in the political sense. It provides more meaning, and autonomy in all spheres of human life. Intrinsic motivation is inherently more productive than the extrinsic motivation and neutral exchange on the market. Finally, the new forms of peer property are inherently more distributive. All this means that in the second form of competition, between for profit companies relying on closed proprietary strategies and for profit companies using open/free, participatory and commons-oriented extensions, the former will tend to loose out against the latter. So companies will increasingly choose for their insertion in the new logics. The corollary is that individuals will choose to engage in passionate production whenever they can, and will tend to choose for those companies that have integrated these logics in their own processes. Nations that choose to adopt such strategies, becoming Partner States that enable and empower such processes, will tend to develop faster than those refusing this path. Just as importantly, the same process of miniaturization which changed the structural position of knowledge workers vis a vis capital, as they own their own means of production, their brains and computers, tend to be replicated in the physical economy as well. Trends in desktop manufacturing, in rapid manufacturing and tooling, in easy to localize multi-purpose machinery, in personal fabricators that move from plastic to metals, will tend to distribute physical productive capacity and undermine the industrial model of capitalism. The problem is that as physical production will become more distributed, and associated with financial trends such as social lending and the direct social production of money and wealth acknowledgement systems, any strategy that aims to replace lower rates of physical profit with higher rates of immaterial profit, will tend to be undermined by the generalization of open designs. Here again we have the same crisis of accumulation of capital on the horizon. Where is the power in this changing world? In the world of immaterial near-zero reproduction costs, neither market pricing, nor hierarchies, nor democratic negotiation, are needed to allocate scarce resources (but they still will be needed wherever there is scarcity). In the distributed production networks, bottom up peer governance processes will emerge more and more. In the sharing networks, their will be a balance of power, and associated conflicts, between the creative users and the platform owners, whereby the former are not powerless. Where there are no overt hierarchies, power becomes expressed in invisible architectures that enable or discourge certain types of social relationships over others. However, as commons-oriented communities become stronger, we expect the literacy of such power to increase. Of course, the platform enablers have power too, as do the commons-oriented businesses and the crowdsourcing operators, and we may expect conflicts over protocols. It is possible that communities with strong business involvement and ecologies, will perform better than communities without such support, a fact which plays in favour of the commercial players. Similarly, Partner State efforts to enable and empower social value creation, may select certain social production processes over others. The conclusion is therefore that this is an open process, and that the process of mutual accommodation, between private and public institutions, versus sharing and commons communities, will be a co-created reality. The future is truly open. 5. Scenarios for the future The existing market model is clearly in trouble. It cannot continue to treat nature as both a positive externality from which it can endlessly profit, and in which it can dump the negative externalities of its own operations. A system of infinite growth in a finite environment is a logical impossibility. At the same time, a simple transfer of its core operations towards the immaterial economy is not a simple proposition. A reliance on intellectual property rents is deeply challenged by the new non-proprietary forms which point to a future of open designs. The current system which combines pseudo-abundance in the material sphere, thereby destroying the biosphere, and pseudo-scarcity in the immaterial sphere, thereby holding up social innovation, is deeply flawed and not sustainable in the long term. In terms of value creation, it is now competing with a third mode of production, governance and property, where it is beaten at its own game. In the first emerging stage of peer production, market forces will embed it in their own operations, just as the imperial slaveholders freed their slaves to become feudal colini (serfs), and as the feudal kings and lords started investing in capitalist merchants and manufacturers, so for profit companies are adapting and investing in the new modes, which they hope to subjugate and integrate. In this they will be partially successful. But precisely because they are successful, they are also strengthening the new mode and logic. At some point, a parity of influence between the logic of the commodity and the peer to peer logic may be achieved. Past experience suggests however, that such a transitional period is not sustainable on the long term, and that one logic can and should be the dominant logic of value creation. In the tribal economy, it was the gift and the attendant symmetrical social relations and processes which dominant. In the hierarchical imperial/feudal systems, it was the tribute of the weak to the strong. In industrial capitalism, and in the first phases of the information economy, it was the commodity. We therefore strongly suggest that the third phase or scenario will develop around the dominance of the peer to peer logic. This means that most immaterial value creation, i.e. what really matters to a postmaterial civilization, which will produced by value communities, competing for allegiance. They will use non-proprietary formats. For exchange, they will use different kinds of wealth acknowledgement systems. The physical sphere will be managed by post-capitalist markets for scarce goods. Note how the newest forms of market trading are already being informed by the P2P or partnership principle: the for-benefit institutions enabling peer production communities, the social entrepreneurs using profit as a means only, the fair trade models which put the power-based market relations under the arbitrage of the partnership principle, etc? Methods of 'markets without capitalism', 'natural capitalism', cradle to cradle production systems and a steady state economy will have to become the format of the market, if the biosphere is not to be further harmed. But clearly, such market mechanisms are already subsumed under the higher logic of partnership with other humans and nature. There is of course another scenario, whereby the P2P logic is subsumed to the continued dominance of the capitalist market, based on some kind of rent-based proprietary models where nobody really owns anything; this would be an information feudalism kept in place by repressive IP laws and DRM technology. But such a dominance would imply also that the nature-destroying logic remains in place, and hence, points to the dark scenario of a generalized fight for scarce natural resources. This is simply put a recipe for generalized disaster, and hopefully, it is unlikely that humanity will choose for this static and regressive path. _______________________ Web-Site: http://www.oekonux.de/ Organization: http://www.oekonux.de/projekt/ Contact: projekt oekonux.de
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