Message 04493 [Homepage] [Navigation]
Thread: oxenT04436 Message: 5/94 L2 [In index]
[First in Thread] [Last in Thread] [Date Next] [Date Prev]
[Next in Thread] [Prev in Thread] [Next Thread] [Prev Thread]

Re: Fundamental text by StefanMn and StefanMz - Part 3 (was: [ox-en] Fundamental text by StefanMn and StefanMz - Part 1)


some comments in between

Peer Production
- ---------------

At present we witness a tremendous transformation of global
capitalism. We can observe a change from a Fordist to a neo-liberal
accumulation regime, in order to integrate more and more previously
state-driven sectors into a private valorization process.

this is not wrong, but it seems strange to highlight the 30 year old
neoliberal process, at the moment when it seems disintegrating or at
least seriously in crisis.
The change you  mention could be observed 30 years ago, now we are
witnessing another kind of change, to another type of accumulation

 This process
is accompanied by unlinking large parts of society being no longer
profitable enough. However, another process of unlinking takes places,
on which we will focus in this chapter: the emergence of peer

Due to reorganize social processes around new ways of production, this
as of now small tendency has the potential to overcome capitalism. We
claim that peer production is a germ form of a new society based on a
mode of prodcution beyond exchange, market and money. This far
reaching hypothesis can be justified by using the germ form approach.
Within the emergence of peer production in general, so far Free
Software is the first, most developed and most visible part. Thus, in
this chapter we look at Free Software in more detail to learn about
the principles of peer production. In the final chapter we evaluate
the historic potential of peer production in general.

By *peer production* we mean phenomenons which have a couple of
features [#WorkInProgressCriteria]_.

Though there are a lot of peer phenomenons, peer production is
primarily about production and not distribution. This separates peer
production from barter exchange and other distribution related
approaches. [#WorkInProgressCriteria]_

I define peer phenomenon in general, as the 'relational dynamic at
work in distributed systems', i.e. permissionlessness. I also include
the distribution mechanism, i.e. universal distribution through a
commons, as part of the definition. This also excludes barter, but has
the advantage of distinguishing it from cooperative production for a

Peer production is based on volunteering, not on
coercion or command. Nobody can force others to do something, and
nobody is forced to obey others. This does not mean that there are no
structures. On the contrary, usually there are maintainers who can
decide, for example, which contributions to accept and which to
refuse. But nobody can compel others to do anything they do not want
to do. Moreover, you are never forced to accept the existing
structures as they are. If participants of a project are unhappy about
some aspects of the project they can try to convince the others to
change them. If that fails, they still can fork the project: they can
break away from the others and do their own thing based on the results achieved together so far.

I'm sure you will talk about this, but here it goes. When power is
distibuted, it becomes the invisible infrastructure which can enable
or disable certain types of relationships; the power of selection
moves from the a priori condition to participation, to a posteriori
mechanisms for quality control, through collective choice systems or
other means, such as the maintainer functions in free software

Only if a project allows for influences for anyone interested, it can
appreciate and use all useful ideas and other contributions regardless
from where they come. This unlimitedness is indeed one of the decisive
advantage of this mode of production as far as the resulting products
are concerned. One result of this unlimitedness is the *global
character* of peer production projects. This global character of peer
production projects is usually mediated by the Internet which makes
the Internet an important tool for peer production.

Exchange value as a driving aspect for a project introduces alienated
goals into a project which are not useful. We all know how profit
orientation in capitalism can ruin the most interesting projects. If,
however, exchange value is not among the drivers then the use of the
product itself is the only driver left for production leading to a
utility orientation. Peer production projects have a deep utility
orientation resulting in products with a higher quality
[#CommercialPeerProduction]_. A peer production process is not limited
by the quality which is necessary to sell a product on the market.
Instead most peer production projects strive for the best thinkable
product in their respective field. This is striving for *absolute
quality* instead of relative quality as on an exchange based market. A
result of the absence of exchange value is that ampleness is not a
threat--as it is for commodities which must be kept scarce--but
something useful.

Contributing to a peer production project has strong elements of
Selbstentfaltung (see below). In a peer production project
Selbstentfaltung is indeed the motivation for the contributors to
spent effort. The people do what they do because of their inner
motivation here called Selbstentfaltung, and not of alienated goals.
There is no external incentive like earning money so people can do
what suits their needs best. In fact this orientation of
Selbstentfaltung in peer production is what make this whole peer
production thing interesting for people who are generally interested
in emancipation. Selbstentfaltung really is the term for the maximum
possible freedom. One decisive point is that Selbstentfaltung and
alienation are antagonists.

Some would say that it is driven by intrinsic positive motivation,
excluding both positive and negative extrinsic motivation as the main
drivers; you could also say that coercive (precapitalist) and neutral
(idealized interpretation of capitalism) cooperation are replaced by
synergestic cooperation. Benkler says: peer production are designed so
that any motivation becomes productive.

Freedom of the results is outcome and
precondition of the process. This rule transforms the openness
mentioned above into a positive feedback cycle. A positive feedback
cycle like this is needed for any sustainable project and the railway
example in the last chapter gives a good illustration of an historical
feedback cycle. This positive feedback cycle also strengthens the
distinctive features of the peer production project.

what last chapter are you referring too?

So far peer production is easy in the realm of digital information.
This is a consequence of the ubiquitous use of digital machines and
networks and the universality of digital copy. In the following we are
discussing the emergence of Free Software and Free Culture as a sub
process of the emergence of peer production in general. This sub
process can also be explained by using germ form theory and serves as
another example. However, the concept of digital copy does not
directly apply to production of material goods. Whether or not the
principles of peer production can be transferred to the material
sphere or what that even means is an open research question.

It is not just a research question, there are some general things that
can be said, apart from already observing existing open design

That's it for today,

Contact: projekt

Thread: oxenT04436 Message: 5/94 L2 [In index]
Message 04493 [Homepage] [Navigation]