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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

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More on P2P Economy

Via Independent Country. Some good material at Future Hi.

Liberating Capital, You and Me

The Internet is already pervasive. Already people are paying exorbitant amounts of money to buy virtual things and places in virtual games. Many of these games are using virtual currency within the game. It has become so valuable to some people that they are now buying OTHER things besides game stuff. For example, people have exchanged thousands of earned game money into "real" dollars and vice versa. How long until out of control decentralized p2p currencies proliferate? Not long I suspect. Meanwhile, the Internet itself is becoming more liberated and decentralized, more p2p applications are flourishing, open source in every stripe and every possible application is being developed. Wikipedia is offering all of its knowledge for free. Google, Yahoo and at some point many, many others will be offering the entire worlds knowledge found in books (tens of millions of them) online. And this is just the beginning. Within 10 years, the Internet will have allowed almost everything we know and are to become digitized. This includes money, which as I pointed out above, HAS ALREADY STARTED.

Please keep in mind, that while all this is happening, alternative energy continues to get cheaper and more pervasive, nanomaterials and soon nanofabs will start cropping up everywhere, totally disrupting the corporate supply chain, making people ever more autonomous, which further feeds on itself the mobility of people, things, ideas, money, everything. Further driving prices down....

Decentralized marketplaces out compete centralized ones. We should have learned that when the west beat the Soviet Union, just because such a centrally controlled economy is not sustainable. It’s stupid and vunerable to corruption and control. The same thing has happed here now. They are trying to create a corporate controlled state economy, in which very specific corporations have all the control over everyone and everything else on the planet - total world domination. The problem with this plan is that it has all the same weaknesses as the old soviet system. It's basically replacing the soviet party with the corporate party. Our CEO's become more like their leaders - fat cats. The parallels are striking. That is the ultimate irony of what is unfolding on the world stage today. It can't last and is not sutainable.

The Coming Leisure Society

Imagine you have two publicly traded companies that are both competing in the same sector. One of these companies is completely transparent throughout the entire enterprise - finances, hiring/firing, supply-chain, everything is open for review. One possible way to visualize this is to imagine a sophisticated 2D/3D real-time interactive animation display of every area of the companies operations. You could tell exactly how many people are working where, who is being hired, fired, expenditures for everything from trash bags in the company lunch room, to how much is being spent on advertising. All of it will be completely displayed in dynamical real-time techni-color graphics. The second company is just like most any company now doing business as usual (circa 2003)....

As time goes on, and it won't take long in this nanosecond, increasingly automated and accelerated economy for this ecology of transparent companies to fine tune the very essence of what a company/economy does. By definition the economy itself will become utterly response to investors and customers who increasingly become the same person. These so-called ad-hoc transient companies will increasingly blur the line between one company and another, employees and investors, customers and executives, that such distinction will become meaningless. No longer will we have distinct "solid" and separate companies and consumers, but an evolving complex decentralized ad-hoc network of capital, people, ideas, innovation and wealth responding in real-time to the people it serves. It will mark the end of the corporation as we know it and the beginning of a truly support economy.


Blogger A. B. Dada said...

As an anarchocapitalist, I agree with some of your opinions but I disagree (heavily) on the reasons behind some of the failures of the market. First of all, we don't live in a capitalist society -- we live in a mercantilist one. They are nearly complete opposites. Mercantilism requires government currency, regulations, taxation, tariffs and corporate welfare, as well as rights passed from individuals to groups. Capitalism detests all of these issues.

Already people are paying exorbitant amounts of money to buy virtual things and places in virtual games.

When you have a federal government printing money freely at low interest, of course prices go up, especially in odd unnecessary items.

Wikipedia is offering all of its knowledge for free.

No, it isn't free -- Wikipedia is an example of capitalism: the mutual cooperation of individuals with every party profiting in some way. Wiki editors may not request any money for their work, but they are finding pleasure in getting their word out there.

Further driving prices down....

In a free market with a free market currency, prices almost always go down as the population goes up -- creating more people to make more items to sustain society. I don't believe this is because of open source solutions or "good faith" initiatives. The Internet is largely unregulated -- and capitalism is free to blossom in an unregulated economy.

It will mark the end of the corporation as we know it and the beginning of a truly support economy.

I don't want that kind of transparency from my suppliers -- if my employees are visible to the customer every moment of their lives, they'll just do enough work to look efficient. Society thrives on profit -- profit comes from not only efficient work by also knowing secrets to efficient work. A fully transparent company won't exist long as their competitors will see all their secrets and go one step further. Transparency is NOT required in a free market or a capitalist market, in fact transparency can actual hinder the competitive edge in pricing and product quality.

Good post.

January 04, 2006 5:40 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

I think our disagreements are probably more semantic than anything. Although as a Tuckerite I'd use different terminology than capitalism vs. mercantilism (free market vs. capitalism, maybe), I probably agree with the substantive point you're making. On Wikipedia, you're right that it's not "free" in the praxeological sense, any more than anything else that involves opportunity costs. But it's "free" in the conventional sense of not being part of the cash nexus.

January 05, 2006 3:37 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

AB Dada,

I'm actually the author of both of those posts. For the full articles, please go to my website Future Hi. All of your disagreements seem entirely semantic to me, as there wasn't anything you said I disagree with.

In my article, liberating Capital, You and Me, I distinctly said that capital freed of all contraints is the best possible outcome, but more importanly, in the long run, regardless of any mercantile or other stupid contraints, capital will find a way to become liberated anyway.

You response to my comment about people paying exhorbitant amounts for Virtual things was taken out of context. My point is that people are *willing* to pay LOTS of money for virtual items. This is a good thing, becuase it means that internet based currency and barter systems are finally coming to fruition.

Wikipedia is offering all of its knoweldge for free. Unlike any books or the Encyclopedia Britannica which costs over a thousand dollars, its it is free as in cost. To which other free would matter. Of course it costs time, but that is what makes it beautiful, people are making an incredible resource with no official cash return. This again further my narrative of liberation generally.

As for corporations, they are entirely based on a stupid myth of bottom line profit at the expense of long-term sustainability. That's ok though, because we are on the verge of new types of business organization that will shatter the current nature of how corporations are run. I disagree with whole heartedly on the transparency issue. This isn't a should or could, but an inevitability regardless of whether you or I personally like the idea. Transparent corporations WILL generate more investment dollars for all the reasons I outline in my article. Your point about competitive secrets only works in a slower economy. The p2p economy we are entering will give no such leverage to secret companies. Oh sure, keeping a secret here and there for a short period of time might work, but in the long run it will prove devastating to rapid and reflective, real-time, always-on, instantaneous investment dollars.

January 05, 2006 7:10 PM  

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