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Are there true sharing entreprises ?

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
24th May 2015


When evaluating platforms claiming to be a part of the “sharing economy”, it is important to look at why they were set up, how they are organized, and who they are intended to benefit. Those that implement a logic of collaboration, sharing and distributed power at each of these levels, stand to offer a compelling vehicle for change and force us to take seriously the transformational power of the ‘true’ sharing economy.

Julia Dreher and Francesca Pick give a number of examples in an article critiquing the ‘verticalist’ sharing economy:

“Some critics have argued that the sharing economy can only ever be parasitic to capitalism because those who do not already have private property to share are by default excluded from it. Such arguments are premised on a narrow understanding of “sharing” limited to the direct exchange of goods or services of equal value. Platforms like Couchsurfing call into question such criticisms and allow us to think about sharing in a broader sense.

Couchsurfing is the perfect example of a rhizomatic structure that allows users to move beyond a traditional, transactional mode of sharing. On Couchsurfing you can “surf” a couch even if you don’t have one to offer. If… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Cooperatives, Peer Property, Sharing |

The Ubiquitous Commons: a legal and technical toolkit for a user-controlled data commons ?

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
23rd May 2015


Excerpted from Maija Palmer:

“Could a system be created that gave back some control to individuals? An international group of researchers led by Salvatore Iaconesi, a lecturer at the La Sapienza university in Rome, and Oriana Persico, a communication scientist, is trying to create a legal and technical toolkit that would allow people to do just that.

The concept, called Ubiquitous Commons (UC), would insert a layer between individuals and Facebook that specifies how a users’ details can be used. For example, when a user types an “I love kittens” post on Facebook and presses “send” the message would be intercepted by the UC platform and encrypted before it reaches Facebook. They would be asked to specify how their data might be used — perhaps for scientific purposes, but not commercial ones, for example.

The back end of the system would log the user’s instructions to a “blockchain” or electronic public ledger. The data could only be decrypted and accessed by organisations that fit the set criteria.

“There is a real inequality of power between individuals and companies when it comes to data,” says Mr Iaconesi. “When you configure your privacy policy on Facebook, not many people realise that you are configuring… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Commons, P2P Legal Dev. |

Off-grid solar systems increasingly viable for low-income communities

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
23rd May 2015


Excerpted from the ‘GE Look Ahead’ series:

““First has been the improvement of efficiency of LEDs of 10,000% in the past 13 years,” says Russell Sturm, ?head of Climate Change Advisory at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group. “Batteries have improved 90% with the whole revolution around lithium and it’s been a similar trajectory for photovoltaic cells.”

These dramatic cost reductions have led to a quadrupling of installations of solar home systems worldwide between 2002 and 2014—from 1.3m to 5.1m. Bangladesh is a global leader in the field, with more than 2.4m systems installed.

For homes, power sources range from simple solar lamps and solar home kits to microgrids, with several houses in a village connected to a group of solar panels.

“What’s exciting is it’s going to be incremental,” says Shuaib Siddiqui, director of the energy portfolio at Acumen, a nonprofit venture fund with investments in solar and off-grid power companies. “It completely changes the way we think about utilities and power distribution for this income segment.”

Technology is also playing a role. Mobile phones and sensors, for example, have enabled the use of “pay-as-you-go” models to serve remote communities. Customers pay the fee using their… Continue reading »

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Posted in: P2P Energy |

The emancipatory potential of the blockchain will rest on its property arrangments

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
23rd May 2015


A new legal and technological entity called a Distributed Collaborative Organization represents a new way of organizing multi-stakeholder cooperatives at scale. Could the difference between dystopia and protopia pivot on the structure of ownership?

Excerpted from Noah Thorp, on Disintermediating Banking and User Accounts:

“The revolution in progress can generally be described as “disintermediation”. It is the transference of trust, data, and ownership infrastructure from banks and businesses into distributed peer to peer network protocols.

A distributed “world wide ledger” is one of several technologies transforming our highly centralized structures. This technology, cryptically named the “block chain” is embodied in several distributed networks such as Bitcoin, Eris Industries DB, and Ethereum.

Through an encrypted world wide ledger built on a block chain, trust in the systems maintained by third party human institutions can be replaced by trust in math. In block chain systems, account identity and transactions are cryptographically verified by network “consensus” rather than by trust in a single third party.

Currencies are not the only assets that can be traded on block chain protocols. Distributed user accounts are the most basic element of the cryptographic network infrastructure. The next wave of innovation is in the transference of asset ownership of all… Continue reading »

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Posted in: P2P Infrastructures, P2P Technology, Peer Property |

The resurgence of emancipatory muncipalism in Barcelona and beyond

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
22nd May 2015


It is always great to receive news that our work at the P2P Foundation has a real effect on the world and social change, so I was particularly happy to receive a message from a journalist in Barcelona that “Your ideas have been really instrumental in creating the participatory democratic online platforms being adopted by the radical candidates in the 24 May local elections.”

She was referring to a documentary about the En Comu coalition in Barcelona, which is the first political coalition to explicitely refer itself to the common good and the commons.

It’s really worth watching to have an impresssion of the new mentalities that are emerging in Spain after 7 years of crisis and an extremist anti-commons government.

You can get the english captions by clicking on CC.

Our friends of Guerilla Translation have introduced the topic and the video here.

It’s a very inspiring conversation between grassroots activists, please do watch it!

Watch the video here:

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Posted in: Commons Transition, P2P Movements, P2P Public Policy, Videos |

OuiShare Fest 2015 – Transition is the Keyword

photo of Ann Marie Utratel
Ann Marie Utratel
22nd May 2015



By Ann Marie Utratel for Goteo – http://goteo.org/blog/5324


A similar spirit was echoed in a number of ideas expressed during the day, some of which I was fast enough to write down before they were, well, lost. The most surprising was this idea from Sinan Khalili, who shared his twist in perspective. “I think we’re here precisely because we’reContinue reading »

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Posted in: Crowdfunding, Ethical Economy, Events |

Essay of the Day: Ethnography of a Humanitarian Hacking Community

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
22nd May 2015


* Article: The Ethic of the Code: An Ethnography of a ‘Humanitarian Hacking’ Community. By Douglas Haywood. Journal of Peer Production, Issue 3, July 2013

From the Abstract:

“Hackers and computer hacking have become important narratives in academia and popular media. These discussions have frequently portrayed hackers as deviant, framing them ethnocentrically within North Atlantic societies. Recently, however, events such as the politicisation of hacking through ‘hacktivism’ and those who hack for humanitarian causes have forced us to reconsider such typologies, although the body of empirical research in such areas remains relatively sparse. The aim of this paper is to present the findings of an ethnographic study carried out during a hacking event in 2012 which focused upon those involved in ‘Humanitarian Hacking’. Online and offline research explored the events that hackers took part in, the technologies they produced and the individuals involved. Based around the ‘Humanitarian Hacking’ event, this paper explores the motivations of participants, contrasting against previous studies and theory, particularly the idea of a ‘hacker ethic’; the extent to which these groups comprise a ‘community’ and its nature; and finally the social shaping of the technological artefacts produced by these groups. These three themes are explored together… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Collective Intelligence, Culture & Ideas, Featured Essay, P2P Movements, P2P Research, P2P Subjectivity, Peer Production |

Reputation based on punishment rather than generosity allows for evolution of cooperation in sizable groups

photo of Øyvind Holmstad
Øyvind Holmstad
21st May 2015


Read the survey as a pdf:

– Reputation based on punishment rather than generosity allows for evolution of cooperation in sizable groups 

Abstract:

Cooperation among unrelated individuals can arise if decisions to help others can be based on reputation. While working for dyadic interactions, reputation-use in social dilemmas involving many individuals (e.g. public goods games) becomes increasingly difficult as groups become larger and errors more frequent. Reputation is therefore believed to have played a minor role for the evolution of cooperation in collective action dilemmas such as those faced by early humans. Here, we show in computer simulations that a reputation system based on punitive actions can overcome these problems and, compared to reputation system based on generous actions, (i) is more likely to lead to the evolution of cooperation in sizable groups, (ii) more effectively sustains cooperation within larger groups, and (iii) is more robust to errors in reputation assessment. Punishment and punishment reputation could therefore have played crucial roles in the evolution of cooperation within large groups of humans.

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Posted in: P2P Collaboration, P2P Research |

The Meaning of the Paris Commune

photo of Kevin Flanagan
Kevin Flanagan
21st May 2015


Communard at the barricades during the Paris Commune.

Todays book of the day is “Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune” by Kristin Ross http://www.versobooks.com/books/1864-communal-luxury. We feature here an extract from an interview with the author for Jacobin.

What can the Paris Commune offer to present struggles for emancipation?

On March 18, 1871, artisans and communists, laborers and anarchists, took over the city of Paris and established the Commune. That radical experiment in socialist self-government lasted seventy-two days, before being crushed in a brutal massacre that established France’s Third Republic. But socialists, anarchists, and Marxists have been debating its meaning ever since.

Kristin Ross, in her powerful new book, Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune, clear-cuts the accumulated polemics regarding the Commune, which she says have calcified into false polarities: anarchism versus Marxism, peasant versus worker, Jacobin revolutionary terror versus anarcho-syndicalism, and so on.

Now that the Cold War is over and… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Culture & Ideas |

Essay of the Day: Effects of Algorithm Awareness

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
21st May 2015


* Essay: A Path to Understanding the Effects of Algorithm Awareness. By Kevin Hamilton et al.

From the Abstract:

“The rise in prevalence of algorithmically curated feeds in online news and social media sites raises a new question for designers, critics, and scholars of media: how aware are users of the role of algorithms and filters in their news sources? This paper outlines an approach to studying how users perceive the algorithmic “curation” of their feeds, using Facebook as a sample case. Such a problem presents particular challenges when, as is common, neither the user nor the researcher has access to the actual proprietary algorithms at work.”

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Posted in: Featured Essay, P2P Governance |