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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: Learn to write english


I don't think your comments are helpful in moving this debate forward.

Re: Misleading statement

I agree Stephan.

But consider that free/open source software movement would not be a revolution if it had nothing to fight against. It would be a common thing.

So, yes, the existence of Microsoft is a driving force as much as the cause is always a driving force for every movement. It is a normal thing.

NOTE TO EVERYONE: I am working on a complete revision of this rather controversal article where i will explain some of the arguments made in this article and my reasons for making them. I will also openly say where i think i was wrong and why, as well as express my current and definite views on the subject. The article's name would be similar to this, but not the same. I am doing this because i feel i havent' conveyed the right message the right way. I haven't succeeded in explaining the relation between free software movement and capitalism. In the revision, i will talk about the reason why so many people advocating free software (who included myself) feel against capitalism, and is that feeling well founded.

Thank you
Danijel Orsolic

Re: Misleading statement


Take a listen to last weeks Linux show, where this article got a billing all of it's own... See what the Open Source experts think of this article. On the show this article got its very own slot!!

Laughing Laughing Laughing

Re: Misleading statement


Oh... and BTW, the piece on this article starts about 60 minutes into the broadcast.

:-P :yes:

Re: Misleading statement

Eh.. I am aware of that as i actually listened to it. And i am aware of that the article was rated very low and has actually been ridiculed. But to say the truth, i am not bothered as i myself don't believe it's a very high quality piece of work. I can openly and without shame say that this article was like a blunt shouting of my current thoughts and it was my first article of this kind that i ever wrote.

However, i have my freedom of speech and opinion, and even if most of people don't agree with me, or even if i am not right, that doesn't deny me to speak up. However, as a serious free software movement advocate and enthusiast, it is my responsibility to "clear this up", provide a better "explanation" and "clarification" of my views in order to prove my seriousness about the subject. That is why i am writing a new article on the same issue, only much much better researched, well thought off and probably of much better quality, you'd be the judge. The article will probably be finished by the end of the day (or night, here in Croatia) Smiling The prupose is to clarify the issue at it's best.

Thank you

Re: Microsoft as world empire?


I agree. Not only are the reasons for capitalism wrong but the growth history as well.

Re: Capitalism, or new capitalism


:hum: :humeur:

Re: Capitalism, or new capitalism


A lot of the arguments in this thread are somewhat confused and contradictory but a good attempt to try to *think differently* which I think is always a good move.

I thought that checking out Hardt & Negri's book Multitude might help with some of the philosophical and economic arguments in the article and might even help explain what a post-capitalist society might look like.

And for those who make such swinging comments about the USSR and its economy - technically it was State Capitalism. This, as many theorists are starting to uncover is so similar to the way that Capitalism in the west works (i.e. based around industrialisation, large companies, forcing everyone to work for a living, using the political system to direct attention away from social issues etc). It is rather an uncanny thought.

I quite like Fredric Jameson's explanation that we have moved through market capitalism to monopoly capitalism and now finally we have arrived at multinational capitalism (also called late or postmodern capitalism). The world doesn't stand still though and I am sure there will be further upheaval and change.

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, it is mine. These are the rewards for my effort, and my labour. People do not have a right to it based on need! I write software. What I do with that software is my choice, it is the result of my effort, 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."

If you build yourself a house and you want to be private, and selfish, then you will probably never offer other people help on how to build the house. If you are here to live life to help other people then you would maybe even give your house to someone else once you figured out how to easily create another one. Or you could live in your current house and pretend that by "protecting" your house, somehow this is going to make world progress or in some way help other people (read: selfish or not?)

"To put monopolism into the context of the olympics I have included an extract from a paper by Robert S. Getman

Imagine an Olympics where--in an attempt to "level the playing field"--no athlete was allowed to score "too many" points or to win "unreasonably." Imagine, after the event, a winner being punished for having scored "too much"--punished, at the behest of his competitors. Imagine that the very definitions of "too much" and "unreasonable" were left to the whim of each referee. Such "rules" would not "level" the field--except in the sense of leveling it to rubble, rendering all the rules arbitrary and athletic achievement impossible."

Imagine an olympics where people were more interested in sharing with each other techniques and knowledge on how to improve their health and their results. Compete with yourself to become healthier. Why keep secrets such as using a certain brand of steroids to "win over" the other person or to receive a materialistic "gold medal that somehow helps me when I'm dead".

How about an olympics where people discussed what foods and techniques they used to obtain their results so they could improve many humans results instead of selfishly just a few? What harm would it be if everyone openly discussed how to improve their health and olympic times? Why is is better that one person gets slightly better results in the olympics by "hiding information"? To have a better coach than the next fellow or to have "better techhnique" than the next fellow in the olympics is selfish. To share information with a fellow so that he improves and you improve also, means more for both of you.

What whey powder mixes did one athlete use to gain better results? Why should this be kept secret if it will help humans? Why should only one human be "the winner" and how is this going to help anyone when this one person is dead?

How does this restriction of information in software and nonsoftware help people as a whole? It has nothing to do with communism or capitalism.. more about interest in helping people, or lack of interest. That and about being selfish or not.

Re: Capitalism, or new capitalism


"The example of that are patents. They are good for hardware, but are opposite of that for software."

Software runs on hardware and they are both very closely integrated. That statement above should definitely be revised, sir. They are not "good" for hardware.

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