[iDC] Introducing: Real Costs & Oil Standard

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Sun May 13 00:36:10 EDT 2007

Hi Andreas,

I completely agree with your commentary, and that everything we do, even
through non-capitalist practices, will be an integral part of the dominant

The key question though, is whether a system based on infinite growth, and
it cannot be otherwise because of its monetary protocol, can exist in the
long term in a context of a finite ecology of which it is a part. So
variations in the long run, will not do, it will either be dislocation to a
system with less complexity, or hopefully, escaping through the high road.

So we need a strategy that eventually allows a less destructive logic to
become the meta-system itself.

I think that the main goals of social change at this stage are actually
really fairly simple, through their solution may not be, but essentially, we
live in a world that believes the material system is infinite
(pseudo-abundance), and the immaterial world's flow need to be artificially
restricted, thereby hampering the necessary social innovation. So if we can
reverse this logic, then we perhaps not have a perfect world, but at the
very least a sustainable one.

I think it is important that we can also divorce the idea of the market,
from the idea of capitalism (or infinite growth based monopolistic
anti-markets), considering the market a perfectly sensible way to deal with
the allocation of scarce material goods.

What I see is a cooperative world of open designs in the immaterial sphere,
a built-only capitalism in the material sphere, but in between there is a
lot of space for a pluralist physical economy such as revived gift economies
in the neotraditional world, etc...

At some point, the emergent new logic will of course strengthen the old
system, then parity may be achieved, and perhaps, at some point, the
subsystem becomes the new meta-system.

With post-capitalist practices I was not referring to the footprint issue,
but rather that commons-based peer production is based neither on
hierarchical allocation of resources (corporate form), nor on market
allocation through prices, but on mostly unpaid volunteer communities
producing directly for use value; look as you may, it may be embedded and
co-dependent with the capitalist market, but it is not itself a capitalist
mode of production; and neither is the logic of sharing of the web
2.0platforms (though the selling of attention by those platforms is).

Is there a strategy which can strengthen this new sharing/commons sphere?
that is the key question,


On 5/13/07, Andreas Schiffler <aschiffler at ferzkopp.net> wrote:
> >> Now the key question is how you change the meta-system, giving the
> >> record of
> >> failure in this regard, and the obsoleteness of industrial era
> >> leftism? My
> >> suggestion would be to tone down the useless anti-capitalist
> >> rhetoric, and
> >> to tune up the post-capitalist practices.
> >
> > Indeed. But what are these post-capitalist practices? Surely you are
> > not suggesting that by minimising our ecological footprints we will
> > somehow "change the system"?
> >
> One can presume that any action will have some effect on the system ...
> maybe not the desired outcome, but some effect will be present. (As a
> colorful example: a bunch of flies hitting the windshield of my car
> while driving will not change my path, but at some point I'll stop at a
> gas station to clean the windshield.) In theory, once the amount of
> "push" reaches some critical mass, the system must change because it is
> bound by some external dynamics to do so. (The colorful example again:
> the cars air intake is plugged by the masses of flies decending on the
> vehicle.)
> Fun aside, I don't have the answer either. In todays world it seems to
> revolve around variations of capitalism though ... unless one wants to
> disconnect from the world completely.
> For example, I am in the position to install a geothermal heat pump to
> climatize my home. This is a capital intensive - since technical -
> improvement that will reduce my "dwelling's" carbon-footprint for
> decades. So it is "a good thing" (TM). But it is also an expensive
> enterprise requiring me to tap into "capitalism": my employer ultimately
> pays for it (me flying around trade shows to earn money), the bank (as
> lender) get a ton of interest for doing nothing, vendors, installers,
> shippers (all driving Ford T pickups) earn a living, and the actual
> production of the unit (lot's of PVC pipe!) surely employs whole
> villages in China. Currently I put the project on hold for a year for
> purely economic reasons (too little government incentives, too much
> capital-risk).
> So for post-capitalist practices to become initially sustainable, they
> might need to have quite a bit of traditional sound "economics" with a
> sprinkle of "irrationality" (see the latest Scientific American article
> on the "Traveller's Dilemma"). Governments and corporations seem to
> seldom provide any of that in the right ratio.
> Oh, and if anyone want to reduce their carbon footprint - I have a lot
> of land to plant trees on. Seriously, how about integrating a "click
> here for a donation to plant a tree" into the FF plugin. Aren't some
> airlines already offering that as part of the ticket purchase???
> -- Andreas
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