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Re: [ox-en] Peer Economy. A Transition Concept.

I wonder if I could have the assistance of a volunteer to update the German-language pointers in our wiki?

Especially with the links to Christian Siefkes book and the reviews mentioned here?

The address is at and I can provide id/pw on request,

A list of the other main German-language sources would be very helpful. I hope you can appreciate that I can't do everything and that assistance to pointers would be very much appreciated.


----- Original Message ----
From: Karl Dietz <karl.dietz>
To: list-en
Sent: Monday, December 3, 2007 1:14:43 AM
Subject: Re: [ox-en] Peer Economy. A Transition Concept.

hi stefan mz.,

Stefan Meretz schrieb:
Hi all,

recently I wrote a review about the peer economy book of Christian 
Siefkes, published in the small Vienna journal named "Streifzuege".

Now, here is a quick translation of this review. However, it is not a
replacement of reading the book;-)

Corrections due to my limited english usage are welcome:

one remark. if you refer to the book in the bibliographic record, it 
would be good to mention the size: 156 pages.
the 2.50 euro plus for sending would also be helpful. it makes more
25 per cent difference in the prize.


        Peerconomy-Buch erschienen

*Christian Siefkes, 16 Oct 2007*

Es hat etwas länger gedauert als gehofft, aber meine Einführung in
Peer-Ökonomie ist jetzt auch als gedrucktes Buch verfügbar. Wer an
Exemplar interessiert ist, kann es ab sofort im Peerconomy-Wiki 
bestellen. Bei Onlinebestellung kommen zu den 9,50 EUR für das Buch
Seiten) noch 2,50 EUR Versandkosten, die ich leider nicht vermeiden



a few weeks ago i read in that there were appr. 400 
downloads of the book.
thats pretty good imho.


Peer Economy. A Transition Concept.

by Stefan Meretz

Inside the critical left there is a small group refering to free 
software and free culture movement being already start points (»germ
forms«) for new possibilities beyond commodities, money, market, and
state. Such approaches on their part are critized as to be limited to
reproducible information goods and being unable to reach the world of
physical good.

Christian Siefkes now has presented the »Peer Economy« concept
with this central critique of germ form ideas. In his english 
book »From Exchange to Contributions« Siefkes generalizes the 
principles of free software and free culture production into the 
physical world.

Starting point is the consideration, that people have to spend
during the production of their living conditions. While capitalism
the market as an »indirection« to allocate produced
afore it is not clear, if they are needed or can be sold---peer 
production does not distribute goods, but the effort to produce them.
Doing this it will only be produced what is needed---the relationship
between needs and products is »direct«.

How can this work? Here the peer principle comes into play. The 
term »peer production« was introduced by Yochai Benkler in order to
describe the open and cooperative type of production of free 
information goods. Individual people (»peers«) work together on a 
voluntary basis, in fact from a single reason: they want to do it.
make contributions to a project to bring it to success. Intensity, 
extent, and duration is determined by each person themself. On the 
other side peer projects depend on contributions and will do
to be attractive for participation.

Peer production bases on so called Commons being ressources without 
owner controlling the usage. As a rule results of peer project are on
the other hand part of the commons. Currently this does not apply to 
physical means of production, they are private property of the peers 
being contibutors.

Free cooperation is an additional fundament of peer projects.
as a mean to organize the production does not exist, because means of
coercion are absent. Participation is voluntary and there are no 
sanktions when leaving a project. Inside peer projects formal status 
and its symbols, but also other criteria like gender, origin, age
don't play a role. What counts are the contributions one makes. They 
determine reputation, credit, and confidence one gets.

Now, how can needs of the producers be coordinated with the needs of
consumers? Today peer projects can function, because peers dispose of
production means and because non-physical goods being once created
almost arbitrarily be reproduced. This does not apply to the physical
world. Peer projects of physical goods have to demand an adequate 
compensation for the taking of goods requiring each time anew an
to produce them.

But which contribution is adequate? This question is decided by the 
project. It weights the contributions using the time duration
proportional to its popularity: unpopular tasks only require a small 
contribution, while popular tasks require a big contribution. This 
sounds similar to role the economic value is playing in market

The economic value maps complex actions on simple once. However,
always complex actions are manifolds of simple once---resulting in
volume of spending---a generalized peer production tend to function
other way around: Simple tasks no one likes to do will be highly 
weighted to guarantee its execution, while popular and often highly 
qualified tasks get a lower weight. The weighting---according to the 
proposal---is nothing static, but is permanently adjusted. This 
adjustment is done automatically using an »auctioning system«
demand and supply. Thus one hour garbage removal can thoroughly 
correspond to one week writing computer programs.

Concerning the allocation of the goods peer projects join together
form distribution pools, in order to be able to provide a larger 
bandwith of useful goods. At the same time the project extent should 
(but not need to) be straightforward, problems should be handled 
directly »peer to peer«. Everybody contributing something to a
project can gather goods from the respective distribution pool. 
Depending on the type of goods the ways of disribution differ, from 
flat rate allocation to preference weighting.

It is remarkable, that Siefkes concretely discusses a number of
questions, which are usually avoided by refering to a future »where 
everything will be solved«: How will limited resources and goods be 
distributed? What about infrastructures and meta-tasks? How will 
decisions be made, how conflicts be solved? How will global projects
organized? What about people being not able or willing to make a 
contribution? Who decides what a »contribution« is? What about 
migration? Are laws further on necessary?

To my opinion the presented concept is a pragmatic transition model,
a general model of a post-capitalist society. Main limitation is the 
interlinking of contribution and taking. However, it is well 
imaginable, that the strict interlinking between contribution and 
taking during the phase of competition to capitalism will be resolved
after its overcoming.

Christian Siefkes has not written his book in terms of a notion 
critique, but pragmatically oriented at discourses of the english 
language area. As the text is released under a free license a german 
translation should be possible soon. A set book!

Christian Siefkes, From Exchange to Contributions. Generalizing Peer 
Production into the Physical World, Berlin, Edition C. Siefkes, 2007,
9.50 Euro, Web:

Contact: projekt

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