Sunday, December 22, 2013

A World Without Money

libcom.org has English translations of the first two of the three 1975–1976 French pamphlets — Un Monde Sans Argent: Le Communisme (A World Without Money: Communism) online for reading, printing or downloading. In fact these English translations have been made from a Spanish translation (Un Mundo Sin Dinero: El Comunismo). Here, the pampleteers argue that money must disappear under genuine communism:

http://libcom.org/library/world-without-money-communism-part-two-les-amis-de-4-millions-de-jeunes-travailleurs

Part Two begins:
Communism is a world without money.
Later its authors write:
Money is the bearer of a profound mystification. It conceals the original nature of the expenditure that really created the product. Behind wealth, even mercantile wealth, are nature and human effort. Money seems to produce interest, it seems to breed. The only source of value, however much it appears to derive from commerce and all the more so the more it does derive from commerce, is labor.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review in Capitalism Nature Socialism

A book review of Life Without Money has just been published online by the Capitalism Nature Socialism journal. The reviewer, David Barkin, is an economics professor at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Xochilmilco, who investigates and supports community-based economies with strong social and environmental values. David has been the reviews editor of the Review of Radical Political Economics for a very long time. Here are some excerpts of his review of our book:
Grounded in a long history of people critiquing the role of money as an instrument for social and economic denomination, this book brings together a broad range of participants, all of whom are convinced that money is a central part of the problem for reorganizing society and some of whom are actively engaged in groups attempting to function without money as it is commonly used and understood ... A useful and enlightening feature of the book is the inclusion of short vignettes at the end of all but one of the chapters by well-known advocates for the construction of alternatives, beginning with excerpts from Thomas More’s Utopia at the beginning.

While there is a surfeit of books sprouting with proposals for building alternative societies, there are a precious few that purport to be informed by strands of Marxist theory. This collection of essays offers an insight into one (decidedly not monolithic) approach to this end. It is firmly grounded in the world of the “advanced” capitalist world and draws on thinking and examples that are deliberately nonviolent and focused on small-scale change (with the possible exception of the Yugoslav case).

... this is a valuable collection of essays that will spark classroom discussions of the possibilities for implementing change without massive social movements.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Demonetisation


The Demonetization: Ending the Cult of the Commodity site has been created by a very active member of the demonetisation movement Kellia Ramares-Watson. Earlier this year Kellia interviewed me on our Life Without Money book. Earlier this month Kellia put a transcript of the interview up on her site. Here’s a quote from it:
I would say that nonmarket socialism is a money-free, state-free, class-free society where peopleʼs needs are still met. And theyʼre met by people sharing in decision-making and sharing and doing all of the work of production and exchange. So you just cut out there being the principle of money and monetary flows in exchanges. And you also cut out there being big bureaucracies so that we all have representatives who have representatives, and the kinds of communist experiments in the 20th century of China, Russia and Cuba, which were all highly state-organized communism. Nonmarket socialists see it being highly problematic to have the state. We see the state as being an important part of capitalism. The state as we know it today, it has actually grown along with capitalism. Itʼs sort of a way of limiting it; itʼs a way of actually supporting it; and itʼs also a way of ameliorating it. So it has very complex kinds of functions. But we think that in order for people to have their basic needs met, it would make more sense if people themselves were making a lot more decisions about what they needed and how it was produced and doing it themselves.
You can read a transcript of the interview — and leave your own comment — here: 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

John Holloway

John Holloway is a prominent communist rallying against the money-form. Take a look at this article, printed a few years ago in The Guardian: 'Today's march is a challenge to the rule of money' and his motif of saying 'No' and taking control of our own lives. This quote comes from that commentary:
... we rage against the rule of money. Not against money itself, necessarily, because in the present society we need money to live. We rage rather against the rule of money, against a society in which money dominates. Money is a great bulldozer tearing up the world. It is an insidious force penetrating ever more aspects of our lives. Money holds society together, but it does so in a way that tears it apart.
Much of John Holloway's work, including u-tube links, can be found at his website: http://www.johnholloway.com.mx/

Monday, October 28, 2013

Freeconomy

The 'moneyless man' Mark Boyle has been well promoted in popular media. A recent opinion piece appearing on ABC online, 'Moneyless man finds happiness', summarises his views and the kinds of activities recorded in books he has written. Here are some quotes from the opinion piece on his response to the 2008 GFC and current levels of alienation:
... money is the most potent tool we possess in creating and perpetuating this illusion of separation and independence.
 

Through its function as a medium of exchange, money allows us to consume products with components or ingredients from all over the Earth. On a short-term and often superficial level, this can seem like it has many benefits... Apart from its widely ignored psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical effects on us personally, it also affords us an unwise buffer from the abuses and massacres that occur throughout the supply chains of the products we consume, and all the social and ecological problems associated with that...
 

... there are no end of ways you can meet your needs without money, and more than one way of being human in this world. The gift economy has since become the only booming economy in the world...

We've also just begun setting up a three acre small-holding in Ireland. We've called it An Teach Saor, meaning The Free House in my mother tongue. Here we plan to merge fossil-fuel free permaculture principles with gift-based values. We're integrating everything from forest gardening to pedal-powered washing machines and humanure composting systems, no-dig perennial crops to rocket stoves and wormeries, into one holistic culture. Augment that with music, storytelling and art and you have the potential to create truly sustainable ways of living. Our aim, apart from living free and happy lives, is to create closed loop systems that require no ongoing external inputs. It hasn't got all the glamour and glitz of urban life, but I feel it gives me a great sense of freedom, peace, meaning and connection to the entire community of life mine is dependent on.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Art & money & money freedom

Max Haiven recently interviewed us on a life without money and Marx's concept of money for his 'A people's Bank' project:

http://www.academia.edu/4761348/_A_Peoples_Bank_

Assistant Professor in Art History and Critical Studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Canada, Haiven researches money and its dissidents from the framework of art.

His Reimaging Money site outlines his approach and progress.

To quote Haiven, in summary his research:
aims to explore the incredible power and terror of money over global affairs and our lives, including questions of globalization, austerity, debt, economic literacy, poverty, finance and power.  It also seeks to open up spaces and times for thinking about money, and for fostering discussion and meditation about how we might transform money and the world towards the values social justice, peace and equality.
The site includes a collection of art about the concept of money. Amongst other publications and projects, Haiven has a book coming out from Zed Books in March 2014 Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Transitional models towards sharing economies

Sharing (non-monetary) economies are becoming more broad spread as talk, networks and tools for sharing production and exchange expand.

Mid-August The Guardian ran an item by Hal Niedzvieki 'Are you ready to embrace the apocalypse?' with the comment that 'Facing up to the slow collapse of our planet is hard, but thinking apocalyptically could help us prepare for the crises to come'. The item promoted a gathering, Uncivilisation 2013, in Hampshire (UK) attended by hundreds of people. Sessions included wild-food foraging and moving beyond a monetary-based economy. The event was run by the Dark Mountain Project:
a network of writers, artists and thinkers who have stopped believing the stories our civilisation tells itself. We see that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unraveling, and we want our cultural responses to reflect this reality rather than denying it.
In the capital city and country towns of Victoria (Australia), groups such as the Darebin Food Harvest Network, which promote food swaps and harvesting for direct use and donation, sharing information, skills, resources, goods and services. In Castlemaine, the Harvest Group of Growing Abundance focuses on fruit plants and fruit growing. Both show transitional models for moving towards non-monetary production and exchange. 

An online tool for sharing goods — just involved with household exchange — has been started at/by TuShare.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Democratic community management achievements

The global REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) program was designed to enhance the sustainability of forests and reduce global carbon emissions. The aim of this mechanism was to conserve stores of carbon in forests by establishing a carbon market. The creation of a price for carbon in environmentally rich forests was expected save them from exploitation for timber.

So far REDD+ has proved a clumsy mechanism with few successes. Instead, as a recent article in Solutions (Vol. 4 Issue 3) points out,
There exists an alternative to market-based efforts, or an essential prelude to them: community forest management. Mexico presents a global model for devolving rights over forests, creating community forest enterprises, and meeting the goals of REDD+.
The article, 'From Mexico, Global Lessons for Forest Governance' by David Bray outlines the model, which relies on devolving to local communities 'a nearly full bundle of rights over forests, supportive government policy, and efforts to generate income for local communities'. Bray writes that:
Formally, the Mexican model is based on common property governance over forested territories by legally recognized rights holders organized in long-standing communities tied together by kinship and mutual knowledge. These common property forests represent a third way of economic development, beyond just public property and markets.
Indeed researchers, such as David Barkin a Professor of Economics at the Universidad Autonoma Metroolitana-Xochimilco in Mexico, are studying non-monetary and non-market production and exchange in such communities for their real and potential capacity to better satisfy basic needs and wants within a more genuinely democratic framework than exists within capitalism today. Examples of Barkin's work include an article written with Lemus (2011) 'La Economía Ecológica y Solidaria: Una propuesta frente a nuestra crisis' in Sustentabilidades No. 5 and Considering Alternatives: Local Justice for Environmental Governance Analytical Framework Report

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Proud Not Primitive

The Proud Not Primitive movement makes some strong comments v. monetary/market economies.
Is development possible by destroying the environment that provides us food, water and dignity? You have to pay to take a bath, for food, and even to drink water. In our land, we don’t have to buy water like you, and we can eat anywhere for free.
This is what Lodu Sikaka, a representative of the Dongria Kondh asks. Her people grow more than 100 crops, harvest up to 200 wild foods and have an understanding of more than 150 plant and 350 animal species. Another representative Malari Pusaka says:
We don’t want to go to the city and we don’t want to buy food. We get it free here.
The movement offers other examples —although referred to as ‘primitive’ and ‘poor’, a study of the hunter-gatherer tribe Jarawa found self-sufficiency delivered ‘optimum nutritional status’ while neighbouring Great Andamanese lost their land and suffered deaths through disease in colonisation by the British. Today they rely on state welfare, suffer alcoholism and TB.

Check out the the Proud Not Primitive movement.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Larry Lohmann, climate activism, commodities and money

The central theme of a recent issue of the journal Mute (3:4) centres on what I call 'the algebra of capitalism', the quasi-mathematical framework of monetary exchange, on which the so-called efficiencies of production for markets and exchanges using money are based. It includes a great article, 'Performative equations and neoliberal commodification: The case of climate' by Larry Lohmann an activist associated with The Corner House.

Here Lohmann shows how the standardisation and commensuration attempted by monetary exchange and production for money and markets frames climate policy. He concludes that:
The strenuous commodifying processes of simplification, abstraction, quantification, propertisation and so forth reflected in performative equations constitute the deep structure of the attempted ʻinternalisation of environmental and social externalitiesʼ that is the public face of the market environmentalism characteristic of the neoliberal era. These processes continually reinterpret and transform the challenges they confront; their goals are never exogenous but are incessantly reshaped by the very process of addressing them. Internalising externalities through commodity formation gives rise to fresh externalities that continually undermine the internalisation project from an environmental perspective.
Breaking commodification processes down into bite-sized chunks using performative equations helps give substance to the intuition that commodification has many forms, dynamics and degrees ... Should regulation try to revise, elaborate and extend the contradictory performative equations that underpin the new ecosystem commodities, as is implied by most critical writings on climate markets? Or should it aim at progressively ʻdeactivatingʼ some set of these equations? This article ... has tried, in short, to unfold some elements in the core of strategic sense behind many a recent anti-commodification slogan, whether ʻour Earth is not for saleʼ, ʻI am not your ATMʼ, or ʻtu no puedes comprar el solʼ.
The whole article is well worth a read.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Life Without Money over the air

A couple of months ago I was interviewed by Shirley, the 'living as sustainably as possible' 'Baglady' of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales (Australia) where I used to live. You can find the podcast on a life without money here:

http://www.bagladyproductions.org/episode-three/

The podcast is of the whole one hour program. The interview on a life without money is at -(minus)21.15mins to -17mins along the track.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Portugal and gift economies

'AJUDADA' is to emerge on 14–16 June 2013 in Portalegre, Portugal. This movement has been initiated around the ‘gift economy’ and ‘aims to promote gift as a creative act based on cooperation, trust in others and valuing others’.

Portalegre — following Portugal in general — is in a severe economic and social crisis and AJUDADA aims to establish a ‘real’ economy there as a model to other local communities right around the world. The mid-June event plans to manifest as ‘a unique, innovative and experimental process’.

See http://www.ajudada.org/en/ for the head, heart and hands programs for each of the three days.

It will be interesting to see how far the moneyless economy emerges as a key strategy for the participants and movement more generally.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Voter Après-Monnaie

Adam Buick has sent the following summary of a 13 May post of his on the Socialist Party forum:
Just discovered that in last June's French general election there was a candidate in Lyon standing on an "abolish money" platform, Marc Chinal. His party name was "Voter Après-Monnaie" (Vote After-Money). His election blog can be found here. It makes interesting reading (for those who can read French) as it shows that he did get some media publicity for the ideas as well as distributing 40,000 leaflets door-to-door. He got 81 votes or 0.21%. Par for the course at the moment but a sign that the idea of a world without money is spreading spontaneously.

Also for those who understand French here's his 20-minute vidéo on "What Would An After-Money Civilisation Look Like?"
It's mainly devoted to such questions as "what will be the incentive to work?", "who will do the dirty work" and "won't people take too much?" He seems to have come from the ecology movement...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kellia's Korner

We recommend that you take a look at, and bookmark for safekeeping and continual reference, Kellia's blog: kelliaskorner.blogspot.com

Kelia's bog is about a moneyfree world:
Over the course of the rest of 2013 at least, I will be devoting much of this blog to writing about what an economy should do, why the money-jobs system cannot be fixed, no matter whether liberals or conservatives, capitalists or socialists are in charge, how the gift economy works in our lives now, what values humans need to develop in order to have a successful global gift economy, and some historical and current day examples of how such an economy can really work
 If art is your 'thing', take a look as this site too: http://moneyandart.tumblr.com/

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

An impossible marriage

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development has just published a think piece challenging the strength, depth and maintenance of a solidarity economy unless its values, relationships, production and exchange break from monetary values, relationships, production and exchange.

An impossible marriage: Solidarity economy and monetary economy is just one of the contributions solicited from a range of scholars and practitioners in the lead up to The Potential and Limits of the Social and Solidarity Economy conference 6–8 May 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In print again: The Alternative to Capitalism

Theory and Practice have reprinted work originally published in State Capitalism: The Wages System Under New Management (1986) and Non-Market Socialism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (1987, edited by Rubel and Crump) in a cheap print edition  The Alternative to Capitalism by Adam Buick and John Crump. It combines a brief critique of state capitalism/'socialism' with a clear exposition of the principles of non-market socialism.

One theme of the book is to make a radical distinction between capitalism and socialism, which implies the impossibility of a reformist approach to creating socialism. This reminds me of part of the conversation between 'George' and the 'Professor' in Philoren's 1943 work Money Must Go! ('And in its place the production of goods for use and free distribution, a World Commonwealth of all mankind, and a real civilisation), where (p. 13) the Professor reminds George that:
You can patch an old pair of trousers till there are more patches than trousers. But that won't make a new pair. It is, in fact, likely to fall to pieces, which, you will agree, would be rather awkward.
The Alternative to Capitalism also explains what a world without money might look, just as in Philoren's work (p. 16) the Professor explains to George:
I am not proposing the abolition of money alone, nor a return to barter. In fact, the abolition of money alone, would solve no problems and would no doubt create many difficulties. But what I do propose is, that THE WHOLE SYSTEM OF MONEY AND EXCHANGE, BUYING AN SELLING, PROFIT-MAKING AND WAGE-EARNING SHOULD BE ENTIRELY ABOLISHED AND THAT INSTEAD, THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE SHOULD ORGANISE AND ADMINISTER THE PRODUCTION OF GOODS FOR USE ONLY, AND THE FREE DISTRIBUTION OF THESE GOODS TO ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY ACCORDING TO EACH MEMBER'S NEEDS. (Capitalisation follows the original.)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One Day Everything Will be Free

One Day Everything Will be Free is a documentary exploring the community dynamics in an alternative economy and ecological restoration project. The project has been initiated by a ‘utopian community’ located in an ecologically degraded area of Haiti known as ‘the wasteland’. It has been made to stimulate discussion on alternative futures to simply throwing  money at poverty, which has been found wanting.

Activist Joseph Redwood-Martinez made the documentary as he worked with Sadhana Forest Haiti in Anse-a-Pitre. If you want to find out more about it, watch the trailer or host an event, say, to show this stimulating ethnographic documentary as a discussion starter, visit the website: http://onedayeverythingwillbefree.com/

You will also find links to trailers of other documentaries that Joseph is in the process of making about permaculture and initiatives — such as the Hayes Valley ‘Farm’ — that focus on developing skills that will make collective sustainability possible. Yes, one day everything will be free.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The End of Money @ Vienna Solidarity Economy Congress 2013

Franz Nahrada has provided us with the following report of exciting developments in Europe, specifically Germany:
The Vienna Solidarity Economy Congress 2013 had almost 1000 visitors, and was very significant in bringing various streams of people together — people from different movements and backgrounds, gathering around the idea of cooperation and commons as the main pillars of any future economy. This was not a real mass event, but almost a must for activists and networkers in Central Europe, allowing them to forge new relations, become informed about other initiatives, bringing forward their agenda. They were confronted with a plethora of offerings in two days: 120 lectures and workshops in the framework of the beautiful old Vienna University of Agriculture and, in particular, the modernist, bright Schwackhöfer building, plus booths and social events.

In the preparation for the congress, several initiatives merged their planning meetings with this event. Amongst them was Demonetize it! and the Solidarity Economy Winter School, who jointly ran parallel tracks on moneyless practices and theories of demonetization. It became obvious that demonetization is a discourse of its own and attracted at least 200 people following one or other of the 18 lectures/presentations/workshops focusing on the End of Money. When the demonetize tracks called for a final plenary, about 50 people were present and showed their dedicated support for the idea of 'networking our way towards demonetization'.

The spectrum consisted of many people with many different 'trades'. People who distribute free music, farmers who engage in community supported agriculture, people who want to build tractors and other open hardware, people who educate children, people who create maps, and so on. It was consensual that building demonetized alternatives consisted of the practical coming together of complementing activities: 'If you truly want to make it complimentary, you have to complement each other'. This is an exciting new phase. Every single person in the room agreed that the logic of exchange and LETS is not enough or even obsolete, that 'paying back' is an obstacle and that the real future rather lies in 'paying forward'. This works on the basis of agreements and reliable cycles of cooperation and the enormous productivity that comes from people doing what they really want.

To form cycles of cooperation is primarily a local task. You can only cooperate with people you have easy access to. This was the reason and the rationale of creating a new mailing list, which was aptly named 'miteinander' (together), and which is meant to promote immediate cooperation and the know-how for establishing long-lasting, successful cooperation. The new list will be in German mainly and focused on practical issues of establishing cycles of cooperation, whilst the discussion list should continue to focus on theory and fundamental issues of demonetisation.
The central themes of locality, networking and production/exchange based on needs and use value parallel the 'compact society' and 'collective sufficiency' concepts in our Life Without Money book.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sharing stalls and gift economies


Vic Button and Frank Bowman refer to themselves as a 'working partnership'. They have worked in peace, justice and green movements. These and their own life experiences awakened them to the competitive culture we all live in. They advocate that: ‘we need to live within a Gift Economy, the Earth's Economy’. What follows is a brief history of their experiences, written by Frank.
When we started our sharing stall in 1992, two green councillors on the Wirral Green forum saw it and produced a leaflet that described how to run a give and take sharing day, and that went around the country. As well as working at the Connah's Quay weekly market, we attended national fairs and festivals, and anywhere we could, as well as corresponding with others in the USA, Canada and other places. And the idea, when seen, got copied on the Isle of Man, The Isle of Wight. Next, through the 1990s, we heard it had started in Brighton. Next we heard it was happening in France. Then we heard Holland and then Germany. And so it spread.
But, as I have said before, it is like tasting a cherry or cake. It has to be done to be experienced. How rich it is. How people share. At first it was a gamble but it just works. Community sharing works. All the fears you have about it don't appear. One would expect, for instance, that everything on the stall would go and the stall might be left empty, but no, the stall always gains more than was put on it originally, and yet everyone has taken things they want, and are so happy with such a good idea. It is more than a stall: it is a very happy space, a community space and a catalyst for more community skills and knowledge sharing in a locality to happen.
Recently I received a set of legal rules to look over for a new organization to form a group called Free Wrexham, which is proposed to be a networking group for gift economy projects in the Wrexham area. When it’s done they will set up an account for the Gift Economy projects in Wrexham to hold the money donations that come in from a community skills and knowledge sharing and community goods sharing free stall running every day now in the Peoples Market in the town and run by anyone who wishes to. It was set up last November 2012 and is running 6 days a week, originally set up by a coalition of Give and Take, Wrexham Bring and Take, and the Yum Yum project.
This stall has been on Heart Radio and BBC radio. The stall is on the BBC website here, the the Indymedia website here, with the Chester stall here.
There is no worry about the money that comes in as donations if it gets taken because it is not the money that is important, but the sharing that is happening. Paradoxically no one takes the money! Or very rarely. Our group give and take has now accrued £12000 for others for free community space.

As well as that, one of our members Vic has said he will gift his riverside dwelling and garden into it as free sharing space to be held free forever, we just need to get the legal structure done for that. It can be seen at http://www.wigglywobblyway.weebly.com
As well, some of the Wrexham people wish to create a big town community space: the Yum Yum project for gift economy arts, cafe, library, skills sharing, goods sharing, workshops, food sharing and anything else, like brewery, that the people wish to create and give to and take from for free.


Although Vic and I, and my children, and many others through the years have been doing gift economy for 20 years — at markets, fairs and festivals, and within our local Lets scheme, and developing two Gift Economy farm forest garden permaculture land projects — it is only in the last five years that it has grown and is growing. Through these years, from the first, I have always wondered where are the women in this? Well they are here now: they are the committed majority in Wrexham, which is so good. This is just in our area. I feel sure models be copied and will grow in all areas.


Genevieve Vaughan, in For-Giving, has written the book on the gift economy. It is the book of it, the spirit of it, the why and wherefore of it. And I think that it is with a rise of the power of women, and the rise of gift economy projects, which is happening now. Patriarchy is a construct, which we live under. Taken away from the mother, males are divorced from the learning of nurture, to learn competition and fighting. What does gang, competitive, fearful patriarchy not want to happen? The rise of women and the rise of sharing. Simple community sharing — sharing governance.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Modest lifestyles and solidarity

It's great to see leaders, such as the Broad Left's President of Uruguay Jose 'Pepe' Mujica (2010–), lauded for their modest lifestyles and looking like the rest of us.

Following an interview with the Spanish El Mundo, this former guerilla was reported in Univision News as living in solidarity with the citizens of Uruguay: giving away 90 per cent of his salary to charity housed in a farmhouse rather than a presidential palace.

He has managed to reduce corruption and moved to legalise marijuana and abortions.

Warming Eduardo Galeano's heart, as in certain neighbouring Latin American countries, the popular economies of mutual aid and shared ownership of means of production are being restored — and developing anew — in Uruguay.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bugger the bankers video

For some short sharp humour try the Austerity Allstars at either of the following links.

http://www.buggerthebankers.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WSIUf2hD6Io#!

Also, you might like to engage in the life without money discussion on the libertarian communism site here:

http://libcom.org/forums/announcements/life-without-money-07012013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dana as a transitional strategy

Kellia Ramares-Watson, a freelance journalist and editor in California, is working towards a world without money. Most of us in this position seek strategies for changing the ways we operate in our personal lives. Here's what Kellia's going to experiment with this year in terms of give-and-take for her editing services:
As for price, I am starting the New Year with a new philosophy, for me. Our local Buddhist meditation center has operated for years on the principle of Dana — or generous giving. Basically, it is sliding scale. Consider your own personal financial situation, the length and complexity of the work to be edited, what it might cost in your home country, and your own sense of decency and fairness. Then come up with a figure.

One of the biggest problems with the capitalist pricing system is the fact that it tries to etch in stone a fixed value for something that is, in fact, of variable value, depending on the needs and desires of people who want the thing. The fixed price then creates scarcity, blocking certain people who need something from getting it.

While I am living in a money economy and need more of the stuff — hence the pitch for work — I am also looking for a way to lessen money’s influence on my life. For now, at least, the Buddhist Dana principle seems to be a good answer.
Kellia also has some limitations on the kind of work she takes on (e.g. no indexing) and the amount of work she can do at a time (e.g. no rush jobs) so that work does not adversely impact her health, which is very sensitive to stress. But Kellia is willing to hear what each person has to offer, and to consider each project individually. You can email her: theendofmoney@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Radical Notes — interview

Radical Notes is a well-established on-line international forum for transformative politics with a special concern for South Asia. An in-depth interview with Anitra Nelson on non-market socialism and Life Without Money — conducted by Pratyush Chandra, who posed some insightful and intelligent questions — has just been posted on Radical Notes here.

Some extracts follow:
We see non-market socialism as the only way to address the combined crises we face, which are results of a capitalist system based in production for trade, relying on monetary accounting and exchange. This system contorts and confuses the values, relationships and structures that ideally exist between people and between people and nature. At the heart of the capitalist system is the practice and concept of money as a measure, even a god. The structure and relations of capital are impossible without the practice and concept of money as a general all-purpose means of exchange and unit of account. Capital is money that begets more money.  Thus monetary values come to dominate social and environmental values in more and more intensive and expansionary ways. The modern state arises as a handmaiden to capital. We buy and we vote; we are servants to both...

Money and markets represent capitalist power, not only a vernacular of power, but also, and more importantly, existing material practice of power. We must recover that power over the means of our existence, over the conditions and practice of our existence. You cannot have capital without money. You cannot have abstract labour or labour for wages without money. Especially people who have no money understand that money is not a neutral tool, it’s a form of control. Capitalists are defined by money, their power is monetary power, their logic is a market-based logic. If our strategies for confronting, undermining and overwhelming capital are based in these simple facts, it is not hard to challenge the system. Non-market socialism is pragmatic.

In as much as market socialists and social-democratic socialists support market processes and mechanisms, I think that they share a basic misunderstanding of monetary and market practices and how they constitute capitalism. Twentieth century examples of centrally planned and market-oriented socialism, best described as state capitalism, clearly failed to democratise power and, in many ways their systems of production and distribution mimicked capitalist work and consumption. Socialist managers seemed to use market models as instruments of power to control the masses much as we are contained in capitalism. For me, socialism must mean sharing power, the power to decide what is produced, how it is produced and for whom. Socialism must be state-free and class-free because states and classes represent exclusive power...

In Life Without Money, we elaborate a local–global compact society, not to lay down a hard and fast plan for a non-market socialist future but to stimulate people’s imaginations and counter those who regard it as impossible. Most significantly, for our activist practice, we need to have a clear idea of where we are going and how our different activities might ultimately constitute a socialist future. We want as many people as possible elaborating ideas of a post-capitalist future so we can argue, experiment and establish this society.

To distinguish ours, we needed to name it somehow. I liked the way that the word ‘compact’ worked in two directions, socio-political and the other environmental and material. The noun ‘compact’ refers to a social agreement and, used as an adjective, ‘compact’ is associated with efficiency and economy, referring to a condensed, small and efficient use of space. The concept of a compact world is one of multiple horizontal cells, which aim for relative collective sufficiency within neighbourhoods and bioregions, connected by networks of various sizes appropriate to their functions, with voluntarily created and agreed to compacts structuring the production and flow of goods and services. ‘Collective sufficiency’ is a term we coined to refer to material, basic-needs sufficiency evolving on the basis of a commons and people working together to ensure their communal sufficiency (in contrast to individuals or singular households developing ‘self-sufficiency’).
See — <http://radicalnotes.com/2012/12/30/non-market-socialism-life-without-money-an-interview-with-anitra-nelson/>