[linux-audio-user] Free society Revisited (Was: Vocoder)

Ken Restivo ken at restivo.org
Wed Jan 10 04:19:15 EST 2007

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On Thu, Jan 04, 2007 at 09:40:54PM +0100, Carlo Capocasa wrote:
> > Got to.
> > Not for Google, just sponsored by Google.
> Yeah... we really need to start persuading farmers and cereal
> manufacturers and Pizza delivery people and builders and furniture
> people and engineers (and-so-on) to start giving parts of *their* stuff
> away for free.

We're working on that. They're called alternative complementary mutual-credit currencies, and they will extend the Free Software-like gift economy to "meatspace" industries.

Ephemeral things like software, music, writing, or ideas can be duplicated endlessly without taking anything away from anyone else, but hard things like food are more of a zero-sum game, so the current money system with its debt-based artificial-scarcity will never go away entirely. You also need concentration of wealth to build things like railroads, chip fabrication factories, etc. But we don't need it in all areas of life. Arguably in the area of food production, we need to move away from the massive centralized industrial model of farming and more towards local grown and organic/sustainable methods. Energy production could do with some localising and decentralising too. And we certainly can do with moving away from that industrial/centralised model in the area of wellness, healthcare, and many services.

Some folks are already using complementary currencies for things like health care and rebuilding communities in areas which have been destroyed by competitive zero-sum currencies and the industries they grow. I'm going to be doing some work with some groups in NYC and in the Bay Area that are apparently having good success with this model. I'm also told systems like "LETS" are popular in the UK, Germany, and Australia, and in the USA there's TimeDollars. 

What is money? Money is information. Information wants to be free. You can see where this is going. Hard material goods will probably never be free, but the additional costs and side-effects of the debt-based money system might get dropped out of them. Why pay 18% (or whatever) for the "privilege" of accessing and using this information? We, free software and free culture hackers, can do better. Indeed, you will see people in many areas of life starting to "give parts of their stuff away for free"-- or at least for someting other than money as we know it today.

A good primer on this is the appendix of this book:

The whole book is great.

*ahem*... I think this revolution will remain for the next generation of you young folks to really push forward, but I expect it will be exciting.  First Microshaft, then the RIAA and MPAA, and soon... the global banking system.

In the meantime, there's a movement called "Community-Supported Agriculture" and you possibly may be able to barter with local organic farmers and take the money system-- the middleman-- out of it.

- -ken
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