In his late writings Marx contrasted the alienation of labor value in mass production with the gift economy of indigenous cultures. Rather than industrial extraction, indigenous societies circulated value in unalienated form through meaningful, collaborative exchange with both human and nonhuman partners. Marx failed to move beyond his top-down economic vision, but new opportunities have now arisen for the bottom-up generation and circulation of value in unalienated forms: peer-to-peerhomeimage


production such as open source software; community based agroecology; and “DIY citizenship” ranging from feminist makerspaces to queer biohacking are just some of the new possibilities. In addition to labor, we can apply the “unalienated value” concept to nonhuman (ecological) value, as well as the “expressive” value in free speech, sexuality, spirituality, and other generative performance. For all three categories (labor value, ecological value, and expressive value) we can define generative justice as follows:

The universal right to generate unalienated value and directly participate in its benefits; the rights of value generators to create their own conditions of production; and the rights of communities of value generation to nurture self-sustaining paths for its circulation.

2 thoughts on “Introduction”

  1. I’m a big fan of Dr. Eglash’s work on mathematics in Africa, but this post seems to be full of postmodernist buzzwords. Shame. From what I can see, it seems like the projects listed here are well-intended, but if I could actually understand what this is saying, I’d be able to judge better.

    Well, at least it’s critical of Marx, I suppose.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s