Dedicated to 1st of may: Do we need to »work«?

There is an interesting debates in the oekonux mailinglist about work, market, money and exchange. I cut out some snippets and re-post them here. It is from a discussion between Diego Saravia from Argentina and me, which starts from the question if (the today existence of) money coerces people to work.

Diego wrote:

money is not the reason for coercion, is only a mechanism

the logic of coercion is far more profound than money

True, but due to simplification I use „money“ as a symbol. Behind money there is exchange _value_, which does only exist, because we do not produce societally, but isolated. Isolated producers have to exchange their products, societal producers do not.

If exchange is necessary due to isolated production, then value is the objective measure for the exchange relation, and money is a special means to represent this value.

Thus talking about value in the sense of objective value is more correct then talking about money. But value, on the other hand, is more confusing, because it is widely used in a completely different manner as subjective value. Subjective value is what we feel something is worth. Objective value is a form of societal mediation when you have isolated producers (via exchange, commodity, money).

…was not discovery by marx, nor adam smith, its „biblical“

we were expulsed from paradise and coerced to work

Not true. This is one of the big myths of our times. We as humans do not need to work. This sounds weird, but a proof is simple. Just look at our daily live. Say you have an 8-hour-job. Then during one third of the (week) day, you „work“ and produce something useful (hopefully). During two third of the day, you don’t „work“, but you do other things, most of them are useful too: Relaxing, child caring, communicating, writing on ox-list, making history or anything else. Without these things you are doing — simply because you live your life — society would not exist. These are necessary activities, but they are not „work“!

„Work“ in sense we all know does only exist, because a lot of means we need for our living are only available via money. And they are only available via money (which coerces us to „work“), because production is organized in the silly isolated way described above.

Thus the challenge is to free the one third (or less) of the day from „work“ by finding ways to produce societally from the beginning on, and not to produce isolated making is necessary to use a stupid ex-post mechanisms like exchange, money and so on.

Peer production lays on that road.

exchange is a natural consecuence of surplus

Not true, because humankind always produced a surplus (=more than they need for immediate survival). If we do this in a ex-ante pre-communicated way, and not in a isolated way capitalism does, then no ex-post mechanisms like exchange or money-usage are necessary.

And don’t forget, that the silly ex-post money-based overhead is the real unnecessary activity of the society: Money is basically a useless thing, you can’t eat it. It is estimated that getting rid of this overhead gives us back on third of useless societal activities arranged around money.

And don’t forget, that without money and other ex-post mechanisms, thus without „work“, there would be no „unemployment“, because there is no „employment“. All people could do useful things they want, because they are not stopped to do so. — What a rich world this would be!

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