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Essay of the Day: The Scored Society

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
7th July 2015


* Essay: The Scored Society: Procedural Due Process for Automated Predictions. Frank Pascuale and Danielle Keats Citron.

John Danaher summarizes the article:

“The article looks at the recent trend for using big data to “score” various aspects of human behaviour. For example, there are now automated “scoring” systems used to rank job applicants based on their social media output, or college professors for their student-friendliness, or political activists for their likelihood of committing crimes. Is this a good thing? Citron and Pasquale argue that it is not, and suggest possible reforms to existing legal processes. In short, they argue for a more robust system of procedural due process when it comes to the use of algorithms to score human behaviour.” 9http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2376209)

An excerpt from a discussion by John Danaher:

“Citron and Pasquale recommend that we think of the scoring process in terms of four distinct stages:

(i) the data gathering stage, in which personal data is gathered;

(ii) the score-generating stage, in which an actual score is produced from the data;

(iii) the dissemination stage, in which the score is shared with decision-makers; and

(iv) the usage stage, in which the score is actually used in order to make some decision.

Once… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Featured Essay, P2P Hierarchy Theory |

The Tragedy of the Servitude Bubble

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
7th July 2015


Excerpted from Umair Haque:

“Money’s pouring into the tech industry today. Too much money, chasing too few truly groundbreaking investments. And so a bubble is inflating?—?but not just any bubble. A bubble of an especially insidious kind. Of stuff that’s beyond eyewateringly, painfully, mind-numbingly trivial.

I’m going to call it a Servitude Bubble. For the simple reason that it is largely based on creating armies of servants. You can call them whatever buzzwords you like?—?“tech-enabled always-on super-hustling freelance personal brand capitalists”. But the truth is simpler. The stuff of the Servitude Bubble makes a small number of people something like neofeudal masters, lords with a corncucopia of on-demand just-in-time luxury services at their fingertips. But only by making a very large number of people glorified neo-servants…butlers, maids, chauffeurs, waiters, etcetera.

The Servitude Bubble is creating “jobs”, sure?—?but only of the lowest kind: low-end, deskilled, dead-end, go-nowhere “service” jobs?—?that don’t only crush your soul, damage your psyche, and break your spirit?—?but waste your potential. Not “service” as in doctors and therapists— “service” as in pedicurists, trash-pickers, and dog-walkers. And so, on balance, it deskills and impoverishes human potential?—?it doesn’t expand and enrich it. The Servitude Bubble is made of stuff which, en… Continue reading »

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Posted in: P2P Hierarchy Theory, P2P Labor, Sharing |

Why we need the ‘meent': re-historisizing the Dutch Commons

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
6th July 2015


Etymologically the word ‘meent’ shares its root with ‘menigte’, which is the Dutch translation of the Latin ‘multitudo’ (Philippa et al. 2005, 179-81 and 2007, 323-24). They share a Middle Dutch adjective, ‘maneg’ meaning ‘many’ (Philippa et al. 2007, 334). Because this was the same in Old English and Old Frisian, the ‘meent’ and the ‘menigte’ even have the same root as the English words ‘mean’ and ‘common’ – through the Latin contraction of ‘cum’ (with) and ‘munus’ (office, tribute, gift) into ‘communis’.

Excerpted from Aetzel Griffioen:

“At first face, Ostrom’s understanding of the commons and the autonomous understanding of the common are at odds with each other: scarce resources in need of endogenous management versus abundant social relationships access to which needs to be increased. However, the commons constitute mainly a question of governance whereas the common constitute one of ontology. At a time in which it is clear that capitalism, once having trumped politics, is now being trumped by the planetary ecology, it is also clear that another kind of economy will have to be adopted. Such an ecological economy has to be an economy that is based on social justice and economic democracy. A better understanding of the… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Commons |

Beyond the Gig Economy: The Trend towards Full-Employment Startups

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
6th July 2015


Excerpted from Farhood Manjoo:

““Fundamentally what it boiled down to was that we had to create good jobs to make sure that our operators were vested in our company,” said Saman Rahmanian, a co-founder of Managed by Q, a start-up that provides commercial cleaning and supply services.

Of course, creating “good jobs” entails costs. Managed by Q’s workers get an “above market” wage, plus full medical benefits. “They are the same benefits that our programmers and engineers get,” Mr. Rahmanian said, because “we didn’t want to create a company that had a divide between people that worked in headquarters and the others.”

Munchery, a dinner delivery service, pays drivers a base wage that exceeds the minimum wage, plus their driving expenses, plus tips. Taken together, it comes out to about $23 an hour in San Francisco, far higher than most other delivery jobs. Those who work more than 30 hours a week also get health and retirement benefits.

Beepi’s auto mechanics and delivery people get an above-market salary, overtime pay and medical benefits. MoveLoot, a start-up that sells and delivers used furniture, also provides above-market wages and benefits to its workers.

And at Enjoy, which began operating in San Francisco and New York… Continue reading »

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Posted in: P2P Labor |

Latest Issue of Stir Magazine Now Out

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Kevin Flanagan
6th July 2015


stir_issue_10_Cover-724x1024

http://stirtoaction.com/stir-summer-issue10-pre-order-discount/

STIR Summer 2015 Issue/10 – £2.95 – 25% off!

Climate Column — Raja Jarrah

“Over the coming months, in the lead up to the annual UN climate conference, this time in Paris (COP21), we will see politicians escalating the rhetoric about this being a a historic moment, crossroads, nay, a last chance, to confront the climate crisis. Another year, another UN climate conference, and we’re all set up for another round of frustrated hopes and confirmed fears. And no doubt the spin doctors are already preparing this year’s batch of greenwash with which to daub another set of unspectacular outcomes, then palm them off as major achievements. So far so no-big-deal. And that’s precisely what the climate movement is now saying about itself. It’s not good enough simply to keep saying it’s not good enough.”

 

Commons Column — Kevin Flanaghan

“Alternative currencies should be considered an essential part of every communities toolkit for discovering a greater degree of economic sovereignty over their lives. But are localised alternative currencies enough to challenge the power of a financial system that is global in its reach? Can the lessons learned in these communities be taken from… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Culture & Ideas |

A summary of the arguments for making the socialized internet into a sustainability engine

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
6th July 2015


How is internet technology related to the transition to a sustainable future, according to my vision and those of others in the P2P Foundation?

We see the internet not as a given or a ‘essentialized technology’, but as a locus of struggle between different values and usages, determined by the design of the systems, ‘by whom and for whom’. Right now the internet is the result of a mix of influences, the original military research and public funding, the mentalities of the scientists who worked on it, the influence of private investors and designers, and the influence of the choices of the public and user communities. The internet we would want would be significantly more ‘socialized’, made sustainable, and used for a fundamental transition of the mode of production, i.e. creating and distributing value.

I would guess that the change in mode of production, using globally networked distributed production, would follow the logic of ‘what is light (knowledge) is global, what is heavy (material production) is local’, would have the following effects,

First in terms of the redistribution of value to the direct producers:

* interest-free money would remove 38-48 percent of production costs that now go directly to… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Commons, Commons Transition, Default, Economy and Business, Ethical Economy, P2P Ecology, P2P Infrastructures, P2P Manufacturing, P2P Technology, P2P Theory, Peer Production |

Abundance is the end of divisions in production

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David de Ugarte
5th July 2015


fabrica-de-utopias-1024x681
A society of abundance is a society in which productivity is not separate from research, conversation and knowledge, as if they were different worlds, and knowledge itself is not divided into professional and mercantile knowledge. It is a society where community is directly productive, without divisions.


The culture in which we were brought up is the product of millenia of scarcity. That is why it’s easier for us imagine a society of abundance as the negation of a good part of what we know and take for granted than as the affirmation of a project whose elements are within arm’s reach. However, the unprecedented development of productivity during the last two hundred years, the emergence of distributed networks, and the first social experiences of abundance on the Internet have begun to clearly show outlines of the possible world in the present. Today, to imagine the society of abundance is, in more and more fields, to take the present–a present that is radically different from that of the origins of industrialism–to its limits.

The division of labor

Fabrica-FordAn especially interesting example is the… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Commons, Cooperatives, Culture & Ideas, Economy and Business, Ethical Economy, Original Content, P2P Business Models, P2P Labor, P2P Theory, Politics |

Essay of the Day: In Search of Democratic Academic Publishing Strategies

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
5th July 2015


* Essay: The Power of Free: In search of democratic academic publishing strategies. Jan Blommaert.

Summary of the thesis:

“In this polemical essay, I intend to engage with the current system of academic publishing, in light of the debates about possible Open Access publishing strategies. I write my remarks from my own position in the field: as an Arts scholar (a linguistic anthropologist to be precise), tenured at a European University (Tilburg University, to be precise), with a degree of seniority in my field and with a reasonably full publishing track record. It is my view that the debate on Open Access, which currently opposed in a rather random way a “Gold” versus a “Green” strategy, should consider some fundamental issues related to the economic dimension of academic publishing, of the motives and rationale for publishing as an academic, and on available alternatives. Lacking such reflections, the debate risks becoming a reiteration of stereotypes and “inevitabilities” and may lead not to improvement but to a “race to the bottom”.”

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Posted in: Featured Essay, Media, P2P Research |

Screencast: An Overview of the Transformative Proposals of the P2P Foundation

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
5th July 2015


Thanks to Irma Wilson of FutureSharp, South Africa, for her assistance in producing this screencast, presenting the different proposals of the P2P Foundation on one overview slide, which is explained here:

“The three key responses we see from the world in crisis can be grouped as the movements around Sustainability, Openness and Solidarity, gives the starting blocks, working into the bridges between them, the political structures (both local and global) and the economic enablement required to assist the transition.”

Watch the video here:

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Posted in: Commons, Commons Transition, Ethical Economy, P2P Foundation, P2P Public Policy, P2P Theory, Peer Production, Videos, Visualisations |

Introduction to P2P Class Theory ( 3) : Are Developers Part of the Working Class ?

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
5th July 2015


Excerpted from David Judd and Zakiya Khabir:

“Software developers are much better compensated than the average worker in the tech industry. Last year in the U.S., the median worker earned a paltry $35,540 compared to $91,320 for software developers and programmers. And this doesn’t include the comprehensive benefits packages that are the industry norm. Even the lowest 10th percentile of programmers makes $50,920 per year on average.

Programmers typically have more control over their working lives than workers on an assembly line or at a checkout counter. Nobody has yet figured out how to Taylorize software development. The task of writing a working program has yet to be broken down into subtasks that can be performed without specialized knowledge and some grasp of the whole system. Individual output is hard to measure effectively, especially in the short term, which makes it difficult for employers to control the pace of work or use carrots and sticks to make up for a lack of internal motivation on the part of employees.

For these reasons, programmers are often thought of as “professionals,” like doctors or lawyers, and not part of the “working class.” But this is misleading. Most programmers are neither self-employed nor… Continue reading »

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Posted in: P2P Labor |