[iDC] Introducing: Real Costs & Oil Standard

Julian Kücklich julian at kuecklich.de
Sun May 13 04:55:03 EDT 2007

Dear Michel and Andreas,

thank you very much for your thoughtful replies. I think Andreas' 
example of installing a geothermal heat pump in his house (whatever that 
is) shows how difficult it is to do something "for" the environment 
without at the same time doing something "for" capital, so the whole 
enterprise seems to defeat its purpose entirely.

I agree with Michel that some of these problems might be addressed by 
using peer-to-peer practices such as p2p lending and p2p money 
production, but of course these would have to take place within a 
framework of p2p governance, which seems to be the key problem. More 
specifically, setting up a p2p economy seems to be predicated upon the 
existence of p2p governance, and vice versa.

So where do we start? The examples you provide are certainly 
interesting, but I don't see their environmental impact. And certainly 
they are still thoroughly enmeshed in what you call the "sphere of 
commodity". Open source operating systems need computers to run on, open 
source retail needs wholesalers to buy from, and open source money can 
always only complement state-issued money.

For what it's worth, let me add a few brief words about what I see as 
worrying ideological tendencies. I think for all intents and purposes 
awareness IS the same thing as repression because awareness always 
implies being aware of some things and not others. That is just the way 
the human mind works, we can't be aware of everything. You can instill 
awareness through force or persuasion but it always implies changing 
people's minds.

So "raising awareness" always already takes place in the realm of 
ideology. In this post-Enlightenment age, there is no "wrong" or 
"right", there's just "different". So how do you convince people to do 
things differently, and how do you justify it? Your revolutionary 
rhetoric ("us" vs. "them") seems to imply that you will have the 
"masses" on your side once they see the light, but at the end of the day 
you face the same problems as the traditional left, ie you need to use 
propaganda to raise "critical awareness".

I guess what I am getting at is that the whole idea of 
post-representational democratic models and ecological awareness are 
still built on a foundation of good old Enlightenment-style rationality. 
Everybody in these circles seems to assume that p2p systems are somehow 
more rational than hierarchical systems. But I don't think they are, and 
I don't think this is why they are superior to hierarchical models, 
which are actually very rational.

Fascism makes perfect sense. Stalinism makes perfect sense. Capitalism 
makes perfect sense. So I think we need to stop making sense. There 
might be lessons to be learned from situationism, although I wouldn't 
want to advocate a restitution of situationist practices. Still, at the 
most fundamental level we are still dealing with the construction and 
deconstruction of situations - whether locally, regionally or globally.

As I already pointed out in an earlier post to this list, I don't think 
that raising awareness will get us anywhere. There is an abundance of 
awareness, and a corresponding abundance of pharmaka that prevent 
awareness from ever becoming action. So any strategy that wants to go 
beyond this dialectic of consciousness will need to adopt tactics of 

This is of course where we enter the territory of deludology again. 
After all deludic practice is not only about breaking the rules (deludo 
= I cheat) but also about leading people astray (deludo = I delude). If 
we want to break bad habits, we need to offer attractive alternatives. 
Games provide a plethora of models for that. Think of gambling. Pure 
waste! Too bad that the money ends up in the pockets of the wrong people 
again. But at least it doesn't end up in savings accounts.

It will hardly surprise anyone that the most successful alternative 
currency in the world come from the country with the fastest growing 
economy - China. The QQ coin, issued by a company called Tencent, is 
mostly used to buy in-game items, or virtual presents for your IM 
friends, and other immaterial knickknacks. In other words, you cannot 
buy anything useful with it, yet it has more than 230 million users. You 
bet that the Chinese government is getting nervous.

The good thing about virtual items is that they do not need to be 
manufactured, and they can be created with a built-in expiration date. 
So the environmental impact is extremely low, and other than real 
commodities they don't sit around forever and gather dust. So there's 
always demand for more. And as our cultures turn from materialism to 
post-materialism (at least we have dispensed with CDs, haven't we?), 
virtual commodities become ever more important.

The good thing is that traditional financial institutions haven't yet 
woken up to that fact. So there's a first mover advantage to be had 
here. I am not enough of an economist to tell you how it would work, but 
I am convinced that a unified virtual currency has the potential to 
exert pressure on financial markets that can be translated directly into 
political leverage.

- Julian.

Michel Bauwens schrieb:
> Hi Julian,
> Repression and awareness are not the same thing, and in fact are the
> opposite. So, I think it is first of all important to increase our 
> awareness
> of the impact of our actions, on other people, on the environment, and
> choose our own ways of how we want to minimize the damage. But negative
> approaches only bring us so far (critical environmental education actually
> discourages students, but engagement with nature empowered them, showed one
> study I saw once), much better than a negative approach, is to replace our
> material priorities with immaterial ones. Search for happiness in the
> intellectuality, spirituality, culture, relationality, and build our life
> around the passionate production of such value.
> With post-capitalist strategies, let me be very short here not to repeat my
> core argument, we need to support the emergence of peer production,
> governance and property into all domains of social life; (because they are
> respectively more economically, politically, and distributionally
> productive), and strengthen both the sharing economies of individual
> expression, and the commons-oriented forms of production. This is 
> predicated
> on both abundance (immaterial field) and distribution (slicing up, in the
> material field), so that the central strategy then becomes, 'the
> distribution of everything', and the direct social production, 
> everywhere we
> can, of social value: distributed means of production (computers, desktop
> manufacturing), of finance (p2p lending, but more importantly the direct
> social production of money), of energy (distributed solar). Finding the
> right relationship between the commons and the for-profit ecology around it
> (see sam rose's contribution here at
> http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/open-business-models-business-and-open-source/2007/05/08, 
> which expands on that topic); finding cooperative models for such
> interaction (austrian os alliance, indian open source cooperative in pune
> (see http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Open_Source_Cooperative); strengthen 
> these
> types of social production and human relationships within or against the
> sphere of commodity, until "we" are strong enough, to tackle meta-system
> change.
> Michel
> On 5/12/07, Julian Kücklich <julian at kuecklich.de> wrote:
>> Hi Michel,
>> > But we are all part of that system, so that any approach that blames
>> > capital, and does not want to change its own behaviour, is going to be
>> > unproductive.
>> I agree, it's counterproductive to think of oneself as somehow outside
>> of capital, or outside of "the environment", for that matter. My point
>> was, however, that the current ethics of repression works through
>> moralising everyday behaviour, so now I have to feel bad every time I
>> consume one of the commodities of climate change (energy, water, meat,
>> etc.), and the ff plugin introduced through this list is an agent of
>> this new ethics of repression.
>> But as everyone who has ever read a novel from the Victorian era knows,
>> repression doesn't make unwanted behaviour go away - it just hides it.
>> Emission certificates are a brilliant example of how one can destroy the
>> environment and still have a clean environmental conscience. I am just
>> waiting for the next plugin, which enables me to counter-balance my
>> ecological sins by purchasing indulgences every time I book a flight,
>> order a book, or leave my computer running overnight.
>> > 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"?
>> - Julian.
>> -- 
>> julian raul kücklich, ma
>> http://www.playability.de
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julian raul kücklich, ma


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