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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Peer Money

That's the title of today's post at P2P Foundation Blog.

the cost of inputs, even in physical production, is not just a given but itself a dependent variable that can be affected by peer organization.

Rather than there being an impermeable dividing line between qualitatively distinct categories of market and peer production, it is more accurate to say that physical production can become more “peer-like,” even when some aspects of it are governed by market exchange, as the costs of physical production fall. The difference between cognitive and physical production, and between free speech and free beer, is one of degree rather than of kind.

Read more....

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Cultural Pseudomorph and Its Decay

A guest post at P2P Foundation Blog:

According to Lewis Mumford, as well as numerous other proponents of decentralized industry like Pyotr Kropotkin and Ralph Borsodi, the main reason for large-scale factory production was originally to economize on horsepower. In the steam age, all the machines in a factory were connected by belts to the drive shaft from a single prime mover. The invention of the electric generator and electric motor, which made it possible to scale a machine to demand and situate it close to the market, eliminated this imperative. For Mumford, therefore, electrical power was the defining characteristic of his “neotechnic” phase, as distinguished from the older “paleotechnic” phase of steam power and large factories.

Michael Piore and Charles Sabel, writing in The Second Industrial Divide, argued that it was possible to incorporate electrical power into manufacturing in one of two ways. The first, and most natural, was to take full advantage of its decentralizing potential and incorporate small-scale, general-purpose power machinery into craft production, in a local industrial district. The other was to incorporate electrical power into the old paleotechnic factory system. The second, the path which was for the most part taken, was the basis of American mass production industry.

Read More....

Friday, June 05, 2009

This Week at C4SS: Is Peak Oil the Solution to Global Warming?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sundry Items

Steve Herrick, former editor of Just Things: The Fair Trade Journal of Applied Counter-Economics, is translator of the English version of The Silent Change: Recovered Businesses in Argentina, by Esteban Magnani. He's also starting an interpreters' cooperative (the site is here, but so far they haven't gone registering the domain name--keep an eye on it over the next few weeks).

John Medaille of Distributist Review is editing a book on distributism (broadly defined) for publication in Romania. It includes, among others, work by Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation, Race Matthews (author of Jobs of Our Own), and my own paper on industrial policy.

Belated kudos (I've got to learn to switch gears faster instead of letting stuff accumulate in my inbox) to Shawn Wilbur of In the Libertarian Labyrinth, for his painstaking work on the first issue of LeftLiberty. It includes a thoughtful introduction on mutualism as "a kind of complicated middle ground between the mainstream of 'social anarchism' and the various forms of 'market anarchism' and radical libertarianism." Mutualism has been, he says, a "red-headed stepchild" of the anarchist movement, because it incorporates markets to a degree that raises eyebrows among social anarchists (while developing markets in a way that leave far less room for corporate organization than conventional market anarchists are used to). Wilbur also presents an interesting array of newly transcribed primary sources of nineteenth century anarchism by Tucker, Proudhon and Greene.