The contribution is based on the project “Society after Money – Beginning of a Dialogue” funded by the VW-Foundation, which is now succeeded by a bigger project called “Society after Money – A Simulation”. Its basic assumption is that the widespread distribution of digi- tal technologies on the one hand comes into conflict with capitalist relations of production (crisis of labour and crisis of the commodity-form), but on the other opens up possible new roads to go – perhaps beyond capitalism. In the exposé for the MoneyLab we can read: „Moving beyond finance, some affordances of blockchain applications allow for novel forms of exchange and data practices. Do we see the beginnings of new models for exchange and valuation that might replace the crumbling ad-based model of monetization?“ It seems that ‚exchange‘ and ‚valuation‘ are uncritically presupposed as eternal, naturalized forms of economy. That is highly problematic given the long history of critique of exchange-between- separated-producers and therefore value already in Marx and of course neo-marxian theory (‚critique of value’), but also in anthropology (David Graeber) and recent commons studies (following Elinor Ostrom, Nobelprize for economics 2009)
In the talk, the main results of the project will be presented. Its main question – central in the second phase of the project – is, if under the conditions of recent digital infrastructures some or most of the problems, which prevented commoning to become a serious economic alternative on more than local scales, can be solved. Commons and commoning are, as shown by Elinor Ostrom, feasible in principle and can operate as economic structures beyond the state and the market. But their expansion (‘up-scaling’) from local to regional to even global levels might be blocked by the same calculative (Mises) and informational (Hayek) problems that also affect diverse other forms of communicatively and cooperatively organized (‘planned’) economies. The talk will discuss these problems and their genealogy – it is worth reminding that Lange remarked long ago: “The market process with its cumbersome tatonnements appears old-fashioned. Indeed, it may be considered as a computing device of the pre-electronic age.” So one question is, if and how the market, exchange and valuation and therefore money can or will be transformed or overcome by new digital infrastructures.