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Re: <nettime> Six Limitations to the Current Open Source DevelopmentMeth
auskadi on Sat, 16 Aug 2003 12:37:31 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Six Limitations to the Current Open Source DevelopmentMethodology

Thanks to Felix as always for his clear thoughts. I haven't had time to
read and respond carefully but I just wanted to throw into the mix two
preliminary thoughts.

Like when I read Lessig (as I have said before), but thankfully to a
lesser extent, when I read Benkler I feel something is missing. He goes so
far and then backs off. He in the end for my mind makes a good argument as
to why business or may I say, capital, should "capture" OS development.
With this sort of thinking what we end up with is a cheap or even free
pool of labour available to be used by business to develop commodities.
This seems at times to me the great hope of many (I don't say all and
maybe I should say some) who advocate for open source. Some paricipants
will get a reputation and a "real job" maybe but others get to hope and
provide labour for free. In the end his analysis seems to suggest that OS
or P2P is more efficient than markets or the firm and thus we should adopt
it as a business model.
On the other hand we are all (I hope all or most of us) aware of the other
side of Open Source - as Stefan Merten says "the germ of a new form of
society" rather than simply anew form of organising labour for capital.

So thats preliminary point one.

The second preliminary point is more of a experiment on my part! Read this
and tell me what the "second case" spoken of reminds you of ....I gave it
to a friend who talks to his linux box all day his response was
heartening. I didn't tell him where it came from ... and I won't tell you!
But I am sure some of you can guess! I haven't got any prizes to give out
for the correct answer - only reputation ( as in that supposed motivator
of OS participants). But i am itersted to see if it rings bells in this
context. Thanks Martin

"The labour of the individual looked at in the act of production itself,
is the money with which he directly buys the product, the object of his
particular activity; but it is a /particular/ money, which buys precisely
only this /specific/ product. In order to be /general money/ directly, it
would have to be not a /particular,/ but /general/ labour from the outset;
i.e. it would have to be /posited/ from the outset as a link in /general
production./ But on this presupposition it would not be exchange which
gave labour its general character; but rather its presupposed communal
character would determine the distribution of products. The communal
character of production would make the product into a communal, general
product from the outset. The exchange which originally takes place in
production -- which would not be an exchange of exchange values but of
activities, determined by communal needs and communal purposes -- would
from the outset include the participation of the individual in the
communal world of products. On the basis of exchange values, labour is
/posited/ as general only through/ exchange/.  But on this foundation it
would be /posited/ as such before exchange;  i.e. the exchange of products
would in no way be the /medium/ by which the participation of the
individual in general production is mediated.  Mediation must, of course,
take place. In the first case, which proceeds from the independent
production of individuals -- no matter how much these independent
productions determine and modify each other /post festum /through their
interrelations -- mediation takes place through the exchange of
commodities, through exchange value and through money;  all these are
expressions of one and the same relation. In the second case, the
/presupposition is itself mediated;/ i.e. a communal production,
communality, is presupposed as the basis of production. The labour of the
individual is posited from the outset as social labour.  Thus, whatever
the particular material form of the product he creates or helps to create,
what he has bought with his labour is not a specific and particular
product, but rather a specific share of the communal production. He
therefore has no particular product to exchange. His product is not an
/exchange value./ The product does not first have to be transposed into a
particular form in order to attain a general character for the individual.
Instead of a division of labour, such as is necessarily created with the
exchange of exchange values, there would take place an organization of
labour whose consequence would be the participation of the individual in
communal consumption. In the first case the social character of production
is /posited/ only /post festum/ with the elevation of products to exchange
values and the exchange of these exchange values. In the second case the
/social character of production/ is presupposed, and participation in the
world of products, in consumption, is not mediated by the exchange of
mutually independent labours or products of labour. It is mediated,
rather, by the social conditions of production within which the individual
is active. Those who want to make the labour of the individual directly
into /money/ (i.e. his product as well), into /realized exchange value,/
want therefore to determine that labour /directly/ as general labour, i.e.
to negate precisely the conditions under which it must be made into money
and exchange values, and under which it depends on private exchange.  
This demand can be satisfied only under conditions where it can no longer
be raised. Labour on the basis of exchange values presupposes, precisely,
that neither the labour of the individual nor his product are /directly/
/general;/ that the product attains this form only by passing through an
/objective mediation/ by means of a form of /money/ distinct from itself."

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