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Open source and post-capitalistic society

(!) This articles has been revised - please read it here! (!)


There is a relation between technology and capitalism. And there is a relation between open source and free software movement and so to be called post-capitalism. What is post-capitalistic society and where are these relations?

Capitalism as the social structure was founded in order to support further evolution and development of human race, to support the innovation which was oppressed by the former system. It was brought up by the two industrial revolutions. The technology was obviously the main to blame for the outcoming capitalistic society. The new capitalism was more liberalistic promoting free trade and pushing globalization in order to support further development and growth of technology.

But, it seems like the technology has been pushed so far and so high that the now old capitalism formed to support it starts to act as it\'s oppressor. The world of software technology is the obvious example of it. The first signs of these events can be recognized far back into 70s and 80s when the software technology\'s started to emerge.
Now, the capitalism oppresses the further technology growth by oppressing the development of software. How? By making it proprietary, creating monopoly\'s. To capitalism, everything is property, including software. And that is where the problem is. The software cannot be considered as property, it is more like an information. It is simply too easy to copy it without ANY effort and that is what led to it becoming a commodity which is a reason more why it just cannot be proprietary. If it is considered proprietary and created and used in such manner, we are getting monopolies created, patents issued and other restrictions that do no good to the further development of software technology, but to oppress it.

Look at the capitalistic giant, Microsoft! Imagine that there were no free software movement and open source. Microsoft would be the ultimate monopolist, the whole world would be their empire. In such case, there would be no real progress and innovation because there is no force to drive it.
THAT is the very proof of capitalism being simply too old and incompetent to handle the new technology of today properly, in the information age run by computers and software.
The open source and free software movement are already taking steps further, outgrowing the limitations of the old and incompetent capitalistic system in order to create what may be called a post-capitalism, true liberalistic, society where the technology will be freely developed at the rates the open source software gets developed today.
More to this, open source and free software movement being the major sign is not the only sign of the sickness of capitalism and it\'s fall.
Simply look at the way things are going at this point in history regarding the major events. When there was a war in Iraq, masses of global and organized people, ordinary people like you and me, used internet to start the organized real time and worldwide demonstrations against the war in Iraq. The same happens with any other major event. There is a global network of people united in their fight for freedom and peace. It shows how the technology of today gives the power to the ordinary people instead of power being in hands of a few big shots. And those people, masses, globally networked masses, ask for one thing: FREEDOM!
Their (our) �enemies� are therefore everyone that anyhow try\'s to restrict the freedom and impose the control over them.
The entity\'s that fall into that category include:

the greatest corporations such as Microsoft and oil companies (imposing monopolies and restrictions in order to control as much as possible)
political entities such as USA and European Union (imposing wars such as the one in Iraq, pushing restrictions of freedoms to use and develop technology through software patents etc.)

And when we say �enemy�, we don\'t mean that the corporations, companies and governments as the organizations should be terminated in order for us to have the freedom we deserve nor we in any case mean to fight them with violence acting like terrorists. We should simply raise our voices using the internet and technology in order to change the way these entities function today so that they are no longer the oppressors of freedom, but it\'s supporters.

These global networked movements, such as open source and free software movement are actually forming a third industrial revolution which may crush capitalism as a social structure and finally bring the power to the majority and support the unrestricted growth of technology.

I am on the right side, are you?

NOTE: Everyone reading this should read Free software movement and post-capitalistic society instead as it is completely reworked, well researched revision of much better quality than this article which is more like a \"shouted out\" opinion. :-)

Thank you


Re: Reply to multiple comments


Maybe I should clarify my "a lack of a positve does not equal a negative" comment in regards to the fruit of ones labor.

Freely contributing helps people.

Not contributing neither helps nor hurts people.

Forcibly taking hurts people.

Rowdy Riemer

Re: Reply to multiple comments

Well, that is true in a sense of doing or not doing certain activity. When you do nothing, you do nothing either wrong ot right. Whenever you take action, you take either a positive or negative one, according to your beliefs, knowledge and finally, your choice based on it.

Daniel Orsolic

Re: Reply to multiple comments


If you look at something as true or false, or morally right or morally wrong, there is no middle ground. If you look at something as positive or negative, nothing is the middle ground. If I am deciding whether to eat pizza or tacos for dinner, either choice is morally right because it hurts no one, but neither choice is positive or negative.

I will let you get the last word in on this, as I am sure you are probably tired of me treating this as a blog. This will be my last comment. If anyone wants to debate my views or politics in general, please suggest a blog.


Re: Reply to multiple comments

Okay.. you're maybe right there. there are some choices in life that are really no positive nor negative, at least in regard to the consequences to other people. But choosing between two meals may still be choosing between better or worse since one may be healthy for you, and one not that healthy. Laughing So even in these kinds of choice, there seems to be no in between.

But even if it would, i don't think it's true to say that every choice has it's "in between" or "third choice" what that would actually be.

You can actually become a blogger on our site. You just use the

contact us form and write that you would like to be a blogger on, include your short bio and your account may be upgraded to blogger. You should of course register before we can do that. Smiling

Then, you can write a blog on certain issue in regard to free software and open source movement which can then be discussed in the commenting system of that blog. Or you can start a thread on it in forums. Hey, that's what this site is all about. If you'd discuss and talk about anything related to free software/open source movements, you can do that. We have much more than this article section here Smiling

Daniel Orsolic

Re: Reply to multiple comments capitalism is good, but it needs to be restricted with antitrust laws and such. Capitalism is good, but pure capitalism isn't? Confusing.
The definition of socialism (very restricted capitalism + many public services) over here (NL) might be different from the one most people in the US use (weak form of communism?).

Indeed there is nothing wrong with the ideas "market" and "value".

I hope this makes me look a bit less like a crazy commie :smurf:

I agree with most of the things you say.

From the outside the US looks like a rotten corrupt place, but I have never been there so who am I...

Re: Reply to multiple comments

I understand how that can be confusing. It can give a headache..

Here is one of the articles that made me see this. It seems that the fundamentals, or founding principles of capitalism are pretty much similar to the fundamentals of free software movement (there reffered to as "open source").
What i was trying to say is that it only cannot be properly applied to information technology (software), not in it's current, probably corrupt, form, nor in it's original form. Even if the founding principles were the same, the way of appliying those principles to information technology should be different. But proprietary software owners seem not to realize that treating software as they would treat any other product of raw materials. Software is in nature, an information and cannot be treated the same as raw material made products.

So, what we have here are these:
1.) The capitalism as an ideal founded on similar fundamental grounds to free software movement fundamental grounds.
2.) The capitalism of today, corrupt, therefore not reaching it's ultimate ideal. For example, in true capitalism, market and the state should be separated, but today, companies still use goverments to their advantage.
3.)Free software movement promoting a different social system which may actually be a capitalism, only one properly applied to information technology and valid only in the fields of IT industry. (could call thet the IT-capitalism)


Re: Reply to multiple comments


Interesting link.
I have some sympathy for libertarians like the author of that article, but there is one point where I don't agree. Pure unregulated capitalism is not the beginning of freedom but the end.
Pure capitalism will result in one company owning everything.
A company buying another company is not committing fraud, so this should be allowed. Bigger companies with a wider range of products have a stronger competitive position, attract more wealth, and can easier merge with even more companies.

One company owning everything or the communist party owning everything, what's the difference?

Re: Reply to multiple comments

I don't believe that neither is really a good thing. It's therfore already been stated that what we actually need is neither the old or current capitalism nor the communism. What we need, for the IT industry at least, is a different kind of capitalism that will regulate software in a proper and more fair way. Free software movement is a role model to such system. Will one company own everything this way? Of course not. There will be both competitions and colaborations, depending on the scales of succes of certain free software business-es as well as the openess of their community's to colaborate. Similarily to what we have today in form of certain software projects being more structurized and organized in teams which are then opened to community as an organization accepting volonteer programers or being less structurized and more opened to the community having uncountable people working on a certai project. Or simply having an individual working alone, but opening the code and project to the community in order to get feedback and bug reports. There may be pretty much diversity's in how can businesses in free software world be formed.
Even today, we have succesful free software businesses such as RedHat, SuSE etc. Do the own or control "everything"? No! Their products are widely available for free, but they are still thriving because they always offer more than the one offering free copy of linux can offer.
So you see, free software kind of "capitalism" is definitely not capitalistic company nor communism party owning everything. It's far better then either of it. It's more open, not controling, not restricting and providing the neccesery freedoms.


Re: marxism


>3. I build myself a house. It is my house, you have no right to it! >I build myself a bicycle from raw materials, you have no right to >it,

Hey, MacGiver ! And with Linux (free GPL software) you can create
an Operational System yourself !!!!

And you are free to give it for free or not !

> no one has rights to except me and who ever I decide I wish to >share it with "under my terms" if you do not agree to those >terms then I will not let you use *my* software that I created.

Hey, again ! So, I supose if you get the cure for Parkinson's disease in your hands you think you own the right to give it for who you think deserves it or no ? Hey, excuse me, I forgot: there are laws that block you to do it !

Monopoly is a menace to capitalism. Those guys who don't want to compete are a menace to capitalism.

Can you imagine a NBA with only one team ?

Please, excuse me by my horrible english Smiling

Misleading statement


Let's consider this statement a moment:

"Look at the capitalistic giant, Microsoft! Imagine that there were no free software movement and open source.... THAT is the very proof of capitalism being simply too old and incompetent to handle the new technology of today properly, in the information age run by computers and software."

i believe that essentially false, for this reason: without Microsoft there would be no Open Source movement as we know it. As much as i hate it, a large number of Open Source programmers are driven solely by the fact that they are "fighting Microsoft." i've met developers who use Linux "because it is not from Microsoft." That is, IMO, a very misled reason to do ANYTHING, but it is indeed one of the underlying driving factors of the Open Source movement.

So, in short, without Microsoft there would be no Open Source movement.

----- stephan at s11n net

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