Hacking the Economy and the State: Towards An Egalitarian and Participatory Conception of Production and Allocation
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This research starts with hackers’ communities, focusing on open processes as the key to volunteer driven cooperation. While theoretically hackers’ communities allow contributions “from each according to their ability”, I argue the inequalities continuously reproduced by capitalism hinder developments towards such production by placing socially created limits on allocation, understood as “to everyone according to their needs”. My thesis is the following: workers’ struggles and political organizations have made decisive contributions to the construction of another form of wealth creation. We can see examples of this in socialist states and in the public sector in capitalist states, where production and allocated occurs primarily to meet needs. I call this the egalitarian mode of production. Two modes, two standpoints – the capitalist and the egalitarian one – struggle to expand against each other: while the public sector introduces products to meet needs directly, capital strives to privatize everything it can – using commodities and markets. For capital, commodities are necessary for the realization of surplus value. For workers, it is provision according to needs, the outcomes, and the growth of equality, where wealth is realized. Aiming towards the full development of human capacities of all, from this developmental-egalitarian perspective, I propose to broaden the category of those who work to include: future workers (children, youth, students), former workers (pensioners, the elderly), the informal (household labourers, care workers), formal unwaged workers (interns, volunteers) and those deprived of an opportunity to work (the disabled, unemployed, and undocumented migrants). Building on the work of Michael Lebowitz and engaging with national accounting, instead of a narrow focus on commodities allocated via markets and according to an individual’s ability to pay, my field of study includes a wide variety of products that workers consume.
- Theses