[iDC] Time Banks, Playgrounds, and Factories

Michael Bauwens michelsub2003 at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 24 15:04:11 UTC 2009

Hi Jonah,

I can't really answer the question, but I just want to confirm that your last one is crucial, i.e.

<Can we help them see
> past the hype, and identify the potential pitfalls of turning every
> favor into a quantifiable transaction? > 

For me, peer to peer is about free contributions to a common pool, if exchange there is, it's about the exchange of an individual with a common, without strict reciprocity with it and even less with a specific person.

Once you start monetizing it, even with alternative monies, you insert an alien logic, which invites people to tactical and strategic behaviours intent on obtaining the scarce rewards ...

The only solution is some form of basic income, rather than money-like reciprocity and exchange schemes. But failing that, many free contributors face severe precarity (in my own case, my children had to leave their school, and I had to leave my family in order to survive), and that induces a pressure to monetize the effort anyway ... This is in a sense a tragedy of the commons, where the individiual motivation to escape precarity works against the common logic on generalized exchange with the commons.

This is not to say that transformed money and markets do not have a role in human relations where reciprocity is necessary or a legitimate choice,



----- Original Message ----
> From: Jonah Bossewitch <mrenoch at phantomcynthetics.com>
> To: Michael Bauwens <michelsub2003 at yahoo.com>
> Cc: iDC list <iDC at mailman.thing.net>
> Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:15:55 PM
> Subject: Re: [iDC] Time Banks, Playgrounds, and Factories
> Hi Michael,
> Thanks for the thoughtful reply.  What am amazing map.
> In addition to my interest in the substantive question of alternative
> currencies and their relation to alternative property systems,  I am
> also interested in getting at our role in shaping these structures. 
> Open Education /might/ lead to improved teaching and learning, but it
> /might/ just perpetuate and amplify existing inequalities. My encounter
> with the people setting up the time bank here in new york suggested that
> they would benefit greatly from the kinds of critiques this list has
> generated. But the flipside of that, is that our group might also
> benefit from involving ourselves in the active production of vivid
> thought experiments which capture these complex dynamics, or even
> helping to design interventions and alternatives. 
> Architects exercise theory by iterating over designs and critiques.  Can
> we imagine the digital labor conference as a studio, producing new
> designs that attempt to articulate and address the problems we have
> identified?  Call it "design research"?  Call it an attempt to provide
> answers to the question "what now"?
> Power does lie in code, but especially now that it mediates human-human
> relations, software environments have also started to resemble
> traditional architecture as a leading art.  And, like Jameson
> recognized,  "Architecture is, however, of all the arts that closest
> constitutively to the economic" - e.g. the buildings/software going to
> be built, one way or another.  How can we best advise/design these
> structures so we don't wind up with the moral equivalent of the Long
> Island Big Duck?
> For sure, open, peer-to-peer experiments are essential. Ideally, with an
> explicit understanding of these open values - would you trust a Time
> Bank that ran on proprietary code?  Why not? How can we best educate
> Open Currency advocates about these connections? Can we help them see
> past the hype, and identify the potential pitfalls of turning every
> favor into a quantifiable transaction? 
> warm regards,
> /Jonah
> Michael Bauwens wrote:
> > Dear Jonah,
> >
> > I think the important insight that travels from free software to money is 
> this. Power lies in the code and in the invisible structures that enable or 
> disenable actions and relationships, what Alexander Galloway calls 'protocolarry 
> power'.
> >
> > The great insight of the current age is that money has a code as well. But 
> just as we do not have the power to change the code of microsoft, we do not have 
> (yet) the power to change to code of political money, so the alternative 
> world-constructing route is to peer produce our own, differently coded money.
> >
> > This is why open money infrastructures are prominently configured on the Open 
> Everything visualisation here at 
> http://www.mindmeister.com/28717702/everything-open-and-free
> >
> > The experience is that civil society communities are not coding one 
> alternative, but multiple, just as we have different kinds of free software. 
> >
> > LETS and Time Banks work to a certain degree with smaller local communities, 
> and do not seem to scale at this moment in time. One of the weaknesses of time 
> banks, if I understand it correctly, that it only works for those willing to 
> exchange their labor for equal value.
> >
> > There are many exciting developments in this space, see 
> http://p2pfoundation.net/Category:Money, monitored here at 
> http://del.icio.us/mbauwens/P2P-Money,
> >
> > among those I recommend looking at are:
> >
> > - the metacurrency project and its flowspace implementation: the first 
> meta-platform for open money
> >
> > - WIR and Jak Bank as successul credit commons and mutual credit clearing 
> houses
> >
> > - the Whuffie bank, which prefigures possible reputation and community work 
> rewarding schemes
> >
> > - the Open Source Hardware Central Bank of the Arduino open hardware 
> community, which funds open hardware developments ...
> >
> >
> >


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