Robin Good presents Michel Bauwens: P2P Governance, Democracy, Economic Vision
November 15th, 2007

Robin Good, who is truly a master of new media, presents a two part series on Michel Bauwens‘ well thought-out ideas about Peer-to-Peer Governance, Democracy, and Economic Vision. Part 1 Part 2. If you are interested in the ways technologies of cooperation and commons-based peer production may be changing economics and politics, this is a great place to start.

At present, we see the emergence of a netarchical class of capital owners, who are renouncing their dependence on the present regime of immaterial accumulation through intellectual property, in favour of a role as enablers of social participation through proprietary platforms, which cleverly combine open and closed elements so as to ensure a measure of control and profit, while knowledge workers are reconfiguring from a class that was dissociated from the means of production, to one that is no longer dissociated from its means of production, as their brains and the networks are now their socialized means of production. (However, they are still largely dissociated from autonomous means of monetization.) It would be fair to say that currently, peer production communities are collectively sustainable, but not individually, leading to a crisis of value and widespread precarity amongst knowledge workers.

The solution would in my opinion point in the following direction:

1. the private sector recognizes its increasing dependence on the positive externalizations of social cooperation, and together with the public authorities, agrees to a new historical compromise in the form of a basic income; this allows the sphere of cooperation to thrive even more, creating market benefits

2. the sphere of the market is dissociated from infinite-growth capitalism (how this can be done would require a separate article, but the key would be a macro-monetary reform such as those proposed by Bernard Lietaer, associated with a new regime that extends the production of money from private banks to the social field, through open money systems)

3. the sphere of peer production creates appropriate ‘wealth acknowledgment systems’ to recognize those that sustain its existence, and systems exist which can translate that reputational wealth in income.

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