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[ox-en] Re: Peer production manifesto?

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Hi Stefan,

these are political theses, not to be confused with the P2PRG project, which
is scientific/academic in nature ... I haven't formulated any of those
principles yet, though I should,


On Mon, May 25, 2009 at 2:23 AM, Stefan Merten <smerten> wrote:

Hi list!

I find Michel's text below interesting - though it needs perhaps a lot
of improvement. He formulated it for the P2P Research Group. The text
gave me the idea to try something like a peer production manifesto
[1]_. What do you think?

.. [1] I consciously started a new thread for this.



Last month (36 days ago) Michel Bauwens wrote:
Appendix 1: *: Summary theses on the emergence of the peer to peer
civilization and political economy*

1. Our current world system is marked by a profoundly counterproductive
logic of social organization:

a) it is based on a false concept of abundance in the limited material
world; it has created a system based on infinite growth, within the
of finite resources

b) it is based on a false concept of scarcity in the infinite immaterial
world; instead of allowing continuous experimental social innovation, it
purposely erects legal and technical barriers to disallow free
through copyright, patents, etc...

2. Therefore, the number one priority for a sustainable civilization is
overturning these principles into their opposite:

a) we need to base our physical economy on a recognition of the finitude
natural resources, and achieve a sustainable steady-state economy

b) we need to facilitate free and creative cooperation and lower the
barriers to such exchange by reforming the copyright and other

3. Hierarchy, markets, and even democracy are means to allocate scarce
resources through authority, pricing, and negotiation; they are not
necessary in the realm of the creation and free exchange of immaterial
value, which will be marked by bottom-up forms of peer governance

4. Markets, as means to to manage scarce physical resources, are but one
the means to achieve such allocation, and need to be divorced from the
of capitalism, which is a system of infinite growth.

5. The creation of immaterial value, which again needs to become dominant
a post-material world which recognized the finiteness of the material
will be characterized by the further emergence of non-reciprocal peer

6. Peer production is a more productive system for producing immaterial
value than the for-profit mode, and in cases of the asymmetric
between for-profit companies and for-benefit institutions and
the latter will tend to emerge

7. Peer production produces more social happiness, because 1) it is based
the highest from of individual motivation, nl. intrinsic positive
motivation; 2) it is based on the highest form of collective cooperation,
nl. synergestic cooperation characterized by four wins (both the
participants in the exchange , the community, and the universal system)

8. Peer governance, the bottom-up mode of participative decision-making
(only those who participate get to decide) which emerges in peer projects
politically more productive than representative democracy, and will tend
emerge in immaterial production. However, it can only replace
modes in the realm of non-scarcity, and will be a complementary mode in
political realm. What we need are political structures that create a
convergence between individual and collective interests.

9. Peer property, the legal and institutional means for the social
reproduction of peer projects, are inherently more distributive than both
public property and private exclusionary property; it will tend to become
the dominant form in the world of immaterial production (which includes
design of physical products).

10. Peer to peer as the relational dynamic of free agents in distributed
networks will likely become the dominant mode for the production of
immaterial value; however, in the realm of scarcity, the peer to peer
will tend to reinforce peer-informed market modes, such as fair trade;
in the realm of the scarcity based politics of group negotiation, will
to reinforce the peer-informed state forms such as multistakeholdership
forms of governance.

11. The role of the state must evolve from the protector of dominant
interests and arbiter between public regulation and privatized corporate
modes (an eternal and improductive binary choice), towards being the
between a triarchy of public regulation, private markets, and the direct
social production of value. In the latter capacity, it must evolve from
welfare state model, to the partner state model, as involved in enabling
empowering the direct social creation of value.

12. The world of physical production needs to be characterized by:

a) sustainable forms of peer-informed market exchange (fair trade,

b) reinvigorated forms of reciprocity and the gift economy;

c) a world based on social innovation and open designs, available for
physical production anywhere in the world.

13. The best guarantor of the spread of the peer to peer logic to the
of physical production, is the distribution of everything, i.e. of the
of production in the hands of individuals and communities, so that they
engage in social cooperation. While the immaterial world will be
characterized by a peer to peer logic on non-reciprocal generalized
exchange, the peer informed world of material exchange will be
by evolving forms of reciprocity and neutral exchange.

14. We need to move from empty and ineffective anti-capitalist rhetoric,
constructive post-capitalist construction. Peer to peer theory, as the
attempt to create a theory to understand peer production, governance and
property, and the attendant paradigms and value systems of the open/free,
participatory, and commons oriented social movements, is in a unique
position to marry the priority values of the right, individual freedom,
the priority values of the left, equality. In the peer to peer logic, one
the condition of the other, and cooperative individualism marries
equipotentiality and freedom in a context of non-coercion.

15. We need to become politically sensitive to invisible architectures of
power. In distributed systems, where there is no overt hierarchy, power
is a
function of design. One such system, perhaps the most important of all,
the monetary system, whose interest-bearing design requires the market to
linked to a system of infinite growth, and this link needs to be broken.
global reform of the monetary system, or the spread of new means of
social production of money, are necessary conditions for such a break.

16. This is the truth of the peer to peer logical of social
1) together we have everything; 2) together we know everything.
the conditions for dignified material and spiritual living are in our
bound with our capacity to relate and form community. The emancipatory
to peer theory does not offer new solutions for global problems, but most
all new means to tackle them, by relying on the collective intelligence
humankind. We are witnessing the rapid emergence of peer to peer
for the virtual world, and facilitation techniques of the physical world
face to face encounters, both are needed to assist in the necessary
of consciousness that needs to be midwifed. It is up to us to use them.

17. At present, the world of corporate production is benefiting from the
positive externalities of widespread social innovation (innovation as an
emerging property of the network itself, not as an internal
of any entity), but there is no return mecachism, leading to the problem
precarity. Now that the productivity of the social is beyond doubt, we
solutions that allow the state and for-profit corporation to create
mechanisms, such as forms of income that are no longer directly related
the private production of wealth, but reward the social production of

Appendix 3: A legal and regulatory framework for the participative

1) In the immaterial sphere

a)      diminish artificial scarcities in the informational field so that
immense social value can be created, and immaterial conviviality can
the deadly logic of material accumulation.

b)      Public authorities adapt Partner State policies that enable and
empower the direct creation of social value

2)  In the sphere of materiality

a) introduce true costing in the material field so that the market no
creates negative exernalities in the natural environment; dissociate the
marketplace from the system of infinite material growth

3) create more distributed access to the means of production (peer-based
financing, distributed energy production, etc...) so that the peer to
dynamic can be introduced in the sphere of material production as well.

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The work of the P2P Foundation is supported by SHIFTN,

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