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Network-based work is about tasks and interdependence between people, NOT jobs

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
19th December 2014


Excerpted from Esko Kilpi:

“The factory logic of mass production forced people to come to where the machines were. In knowledge work, the machines are where the people are making it possible to distribute work to where they are. The architectures of work differ in the degree to which their components are loosely or tightly coupled. Coupling is a measure of the degree to which communication between the components is predetermined and fixed or not. It was relatively easy to define in repetitive work what needed to be done and by whom as a definition of the quantity of labor and quality of capabilities. As a result, management theory and practice created two communication designs: the hierarchy and the process chart.

In a hierarchy the most important communication and dependence exists between the employer and the employee, the manager and the worker.

Manufacturing work is, perhaps amazingly, not about hierarchical, but horizontal, sequential dependence. Those performing the following task must comply with the constraints imposed by the execution of the preceding task. The reverse cannot normally take place. The architecture consists of tightly coupled tasks and predetermined, repeated activities. Communication resembles one-way signals.

Creative, highly contextual work creates a third design.

It is… Continue reading »

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

Co-operative and community owned enterprises: resisting or reproducing the neoliberal consensus?

photo of Kevin Flanagan
Kevin Flanagan
19th December 2014


Co-operative and community owned enterprises: resisting or reproducing the neoliberal consensus?

Co-operative (co-op) and community-owned enterprises (COE) can be understood as alternatives to dominant models of business ownership and control. We seek to explore, through the perspectives of these alternatives, whether they resist or reproduce the neoliberal consensus, and how and to what extent they challenge existing management and organisation theory.

Co-ops and COEs share a number of characteristics which include democratic decision-making and member ownership and are also likely to include equality, equity, and not-for-private-profit. Members may be workers, consumers, or residents within a defined local area or property they may be communities of place and/or communities of interest.

On the one hand, community owned enterprises are a distinct and slowly expanding facet of society, to date largely under-analysed by scholars. They are active within several sectors, including land, forest and property management, renewable energy, retail, and leisure. The emergence of COEs may be partly attributed to the dominant consensus: they are manifestations of community empowerment aiming to locally strengthen civil society as sought by neoliberal policies. COEs have been credited with generating various positive externalities for their communities. Enhanced local democracy, social cohesion and resilience, local… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Cooperatives, Events |

Democratic Housing in Edinburgh

photo of Kevin Flanagan
Kevin Flanagan
19th December 2014


“We were fed up with extortionate rent, exploitative landlords, dodgy letting agencies, and substandard housing. We wanted to increase the amount of affordable housing for students and create a sustainable, non-exploitative, community-led housing co-operative as an alternative to the private rental market.”

Edinburgh student housing cooperative is an inspiring initiative. The video here is a selection of short interviews with residents on life in the coop. Below is an extract from their website. May their success be an example to others and inspire a movement for students to take control of their housing needs.


The Idea

With 106 members, Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative Ltd (ESHC) is the largest student housing co-operative in the UK. We work closely  Birmingham Student Housing  Co-operative, currently the only other student housing co-op in the UK, which also opened in summer 2014.

It is a massive achievement and one that has taken more than a year of work in preparation. We have been incredibly lucky to turn Wright’s Houses into our new home. Although new to the UK, the student housing co-operative model is aContinue reading »

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Posted in: Cooperatives |

Video Explains the Importance of Subsistence Land Commons

photo of David Bollier
David Bollier
18th December 2014


Commons conversation

Participants in a workshop hosted by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and the German Institute for Human Rights are featured in a nicely done five-minute video, “A Commons Conversation.” (Tip of the hat to Silke Helfrich.)  It’s a thoughtful introduction to subsistence and traditional commons, especially in Africa. The focus is on secure land tenure and food security.King-David Amoah, Ecumenical Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development

The July 2014 workshop is in the midst of producing a “Technical Guide on Tenure Rights to Commons” (or “TG Commons,” for short) at the request of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).  The guide seeks to support the adoption of “Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT).”

According to the workshop, the TG Commons will:

provide strategies to overcome the challenges inherent in the recognition and protection of tenure rights to commons. The overall objective of the guide is to contribute to national… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Collective Intelligence, Commons, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Featured Video, Food and Agriculture, Open Models, Original Content, P2P Lifestyles, Sharing, Videos |

Project of the Day: Robin Hood Asset Management Cooperative

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
18th December 2014


The Robin Hood Asset Management Cooperative defines itself a counter investment cooperative of the precariat: “Our business is minor asset management”

They explain:

“How is it done? Very simply. By understanding that knowledge (immaterial and affective elements, the ability to learn, think, create and relate to the presence of others) has became a means of production. By understanding how these elements are producing value. By understanding how it is organized. By understanding the functioning of the new mechanisms of valorization at work in semiocapitalism. By understanding the mimetic logic of financial economy. By understanding the formation of market sentiment and how it organizes the multitude of transactions at the financial market. By knowing how the public opinion “runs” the formation of value.

Some basics about the financial market: The information deficit (or, call it ‘information overload’) is structural for the functioning of the stock market.

Nobody, including the big investment institutions, knows exactly what to do.

That is why making money at the stock market is not about being “right”, about having the “right” opinion, but about the art of knowing the common sentiment, the public opinion, and of anticipating, and even manipulating its movements. This is what Robin Hood does.

We are… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Crowdfunding, Economy and Business, Featured Project |

Surveillance and spying is not a bug, it’s THE business model!

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
18th December 2014


Excerpted from a really great Indie Summit keynote presentation by Aral Balkan:

“The problem is that we keep getting shocked; we keep getting surprised. We keep thinking this is a bug, and it’s because we don’t understand the problem. Some of us still harbour the misunderstanding that Web 2.0 for example was about freedom. Remember open APIs? That if we all just used open APIs, we could build an open web, right? I fell for it. I started creating Twitter clients. But what I was doing was adding value to a closed silo, which is what Twitter is. An API key, an open API key is a key to a lock that you don’t own, and a lock that can be changed at any time, so what we were doing in Web 2.0 was, we were adding value to closed silos; the same corporate surveillers that run the internet today, but we were told we were doing it in the name of openness.

I have an issue with that. Today, we’re seeing the same people, the O’Reillys, etc, telling us that we should embrace the Internet of Things as long as they have open APIs, so today with Internet of… Continue reading »

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Posted in: P2P Infrastructures |

Why sharing is a common cause that unites us all

photo of Rajesh Makwana
Rajesh Makwana
18th December 2014


People before profit sign in front of bank of america

Given that a call for sharing is already a fundamental (if often unacknowledged) demand of engaged citizens and progressive organisations, there is every reason why we should embrace this common cause that unites us all.


Across the world, millions of campaigners and activists refuse to sit idly by and watch the world’s crises escalate, while our governments fail to provide hope for a more just and sustainable future. The writing is on the wall: climate chaos, escalating conflict over scarce resources, growing impoverishment and marginalisation in the rich world as well as the poor, the looming prospect of another global financial collapse. In the face of what many describe as a planetary emergency, there has never been such a widespread and sustained mobilisation of citizens around efforts to challenge global leaders and address critical social and environmental issues. A worldwide ‘movement of movements’ is on the rise, driven by an awareness that the multiple crises we face are fundamentally caused by an outmoded economic system in need of wholesale reform.

But despite this… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Campaigns, Collective Intelligence, Commons, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Open Models, P2P Collaboration, P2P Lifestyles, Sharing |

The Nature of Order: Unfolding a Sustainable World

photo of Øyvind Holmstad
Øyvind Holmstad
17th December 2014


Stuart Cowan is the co-author of Ecological Design and participates in the rich culture of sustainability emerging in Portland, Oregon.

His review of The Nature of Order, was first published in Resurgence, 2004.

THE UNIVERSE IS abundantly filled with living structure at every level of scale. Energy, matter, and information cascade from vast sheets of galaxies through to our own solar system, to the earth, to the oak glistening in the glade, to its microbial symbionts, on to their proteins, and ultimately to the Planck scale at which spacetime becomes discrete.

When we are most alive, we experience the universe in its wholeness. We experience our connection to a thirteen-billion year old unfolding story that links every living cell, every particle, every star. Why then are we surrounded with buildings, landscapes, and artefacts that engender fragmentation?

Christopher Alexander, an architect, builder and mathematician, has spent forty years attempting to discern the living structure inherent in the universe and harvest this structure for use in practical processes that repair damaged places and create harmonious new ones. In his extraordinary four-volume summation of a fruitful life’s work, The Nature of Order, Alexander proposes… Continue reading »

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Posted in: P2P Architecture and Urbanism, P2P Books |

German utility E.ON confirms irreversible distributed energy revolution

photo of Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens
17th December 2014


We may be about to witness one of the most profound transitions ever to occur in the utility industry. Challenged by the surge in distributed renewables and a strong decline in revenues, one of Europe’s largest largest utilities, RWE, is reportedly planning to completely transform itself from a traditional electricity provider into a renewable energy service provider. The utility’s new philosophy: either adapt — or wither away and die.

This is an important development, reported by Stephen Lacey:

“In a strategy approved by the utility’s advisory board yesterday, E.ON is preparing to split into two separate companies sometime next year. The new (as-yet-unnamed) company will take on the company’s coal, gas and nuclear assets, as well as its trading business and hydropower plants. Once the spinoff is complete in 2016, E.ON will focus exclusively on renewable energy, energy efficiency, digitizing the distribution network and enabling customer-sited energy sources like storage paired with solar. The reformed utility will be active in Europe, North America and Turkey.”

To explain it, CEO Johannes Teyssen said the following:

“Until not too long ago, the structure of the energy business was relatively straightforward and linear. The value chain extended from the drill hole, gas field, and power… Continue reading »

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Posted in: P2P Energy |

New Film Documents Commons-Based Peer Production in Greece

photo of David Bollier
David Bollier
17th December 2014


header

As one of the countries hardest hit by austerity politics, Greece is also in the vanguard of experimentation to find ways beyond the crisis.  Now there is a documentary film about the growth of commons-based peer production in Greece, directed by Ilias Marmaras. “Knowledge as a common good: communities of production and sharing in Greece” is a low-budget, high-insight survey of innovative projects such as FabLab Athens, Greek hackerspaces, Frown, an organization that hosts all sorts of maker workshops and presentations, and other projects.

A beta-version website Common Knowledge, devoted to “communities of production and sharing in Greece,” explains the motivation behind the film:

“Greece is going through the sixth year of recession. Austerity policies imposed by IMF, ECB and the Greek political pro-memorandum regimes, foster an unprecedented crisis in economy, social life, politics and culture. In the previous two decades the enforcement of the neoliberal politics to the country resulted in the disintegration of the existed social networks, leaving society unprepared to face the upcoming situation.

During the last years, while large parts of the social fabric have been expelled from the state and… Continue reading »

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Posted in: Collective Intelligence, Commons, Culture & Ideas, Featured Video, Open Models, Original Content, P2P Collaboration, Peer Property, Sharing, Videos |