" />
Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Michael Bauwens: Patterns that point to the future

“Can we find patterns today that point to the future?”

On Monday, October 24, Michel Bauwens of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives spoke at the Institute for the Future (IFTF) in Palo Alto about how the innovations and values of P2P are enabling a third revolution in human productivity and transforming capitalism. In a talk presented by Shareable and the IFTF, Bauwens argued that the Fordist model of managing society has reached its end and that the P2P model represents a much more productive and egalitarian system of production. Some takeaways from his talk:

  • We are living through the third revolution in human productivity.
    1st revolution: coercion, slavery, etc — motivation extrinsic and negative.
    2nd revolution: capitalism — motivation based on self-interest.
    3rd revolution: invention of a system that allows us to self-aggregate our labor, built upon a task-based distribution of labor and aggregated contributions. In this system, the motivations are intrinsic and positive.
  • We have reached “peak hierarchy”.
    • Complex societies simplify hierarchy, and hierarchy trumps equality.
    • The P2P model, exemplified by projects such as Linux and Wikipedia, upends this hierarchical system using distributed networks.
  • Peer production is a hyper-productive, incipient mode of production.
  • "When the old system starts crumbling, you have to move from the bottom up.”
  • We can’t get too concerned about corporate entities co-opting and reducing the effectiveness of the P2P movement. Just because Facebook and Google invest in these things, doesn’t mean that they can’t still turn the system inside out.

  • Asymmetric Competition
    • In a competition between a for-profit entity with closed proprietary strategies, and a for-benefit institution working with a community and a commons, the latter will tend to win out.
    • In a competition between for-profit companies, those using open/free, participatory, and commons oriented strategies will tend to win out.
    • Capitalism is peer production, and currently, peer production is capitalism.
  • Bauwen proposes that to move to an autonymous mode of production, it must be self-sustainable.
    •  We must create global peer-based economies.
    • We have more people in the world working for co-ops than international corporations.
    • “Today, society says value is created in the market. Imagine a society where you extend a civil society where peer production is the basis of the market.
    • Peer-to-peer production will form the core of the new capitalist system.
    • Within the existing system, we have to create a counter-system. The current one is not going to last.
  • On Occupy Wall Street: all previous social movements were based on old paradigms. Occupy Wall Street is truly new, the native expression of those who have internalized the values of the Internet.
  • Co-optation by large corporations is less of a danger now than it was in the ’60s. There are now less reasons to be co-opted, because there are no jobs to co-opt with.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Make connections via our GROUPS page.
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.


Can we leverage common assets to reduce inequality?

Everybody talks a lot about economic inequality, but there don’t seem …

Community supported enterprise – how might that work?

One of the REconomy Project’s aims is to find new ways that …

Unlikely Suspects – Deep Outreach: Resilience for Whom, and to What End? - “Transitioning for All”

It’s time to ask some thorny questions of the Transition movement. We …

You Did This! The Birth of the Sharing Cities Network   

The Sharing Cities Network is a grassroots network of communities from …

How America's Largest Worker Owned Co-Op Lifts People Out of Poverty

Can worker-owned businesses lift families out of poverty? “They did …

Transformative Common Sense in Vermont

Chances are that when you hear the phrase “Comprehensive Economic …

Energy and the Economy - Twelve Basic Principles

There is a standard view of energy and the economy that can briefly be …