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Everything written by Michel Bauwens

In support of the “No” in the Greek Referendum

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
29th June 2015


Sunday’s referendum will mark a defining moment in Greece’s modern history and a decisive turn for Europe’s neoliberal project. The choice is very clear. Five years after the people of Greece first rose up against the anti-democratic imposition of the Troika’s austerity measures, they have finally been given the chance to decide upon their own destiny: either they will vote yes to a lifetime of austerity within the eurozone, or they will roar back at the creditors’ inhumane demands with a proud and resounding “NO!” — thereby opening the way for a thousand yeses to a new, democratic and socially just Europe, freed from the shackles of debt servitude, the noose of a deflationary single currency, and the tyranny of an unaccountable financial technocracy.

Republished from Jerome Roos (via ZNet).

Needless to say with are fully onboard with this interpretation and the need to support the greek people against the extortionate and destructive demands of the Troika.

Jerome Roos:

The announcement struck like a bombshell.

Tsipras’ spectacular decision late on Friday to fly back to Athens and put the Eurogroup’s final bailout offer to a referendum — with the government advising voters to reject the deal — has stunned friends and foes alike.

Now, with depositors lining up at ATMs to withdraw cash, the Eurogroup refusing to extend the current bailout program, the ECB capping its emergency liquidity assistance for Greek banks, and Greece set to miss a €1.5 billion IMF payment on Tuesday, the long-awaited endgame is finally upon us. After five long and exhausting years, the euro crisis has exploded into its dramatic climax.

Those who now lambast the Greek government for its supposed “recklessness” in calling the referendum are profoundly mistaken. Yes, as I have argued many times before, Tsipras’ and Varoufakis’ belief that they could somehow extract an “honorable compromise” from the creditors was always extremely naive. But in the end it was the creditors’ utter contempt for democracy that pushed Tsipras with his back against the wall, forcing him to sign up to an agreement that they knew would split his ruling party and government.

Deliberately tabling one outrageous proposal after another, the creditors’ intention was clear from the very start: they were never even remotely interested in any positive “deal”; the only thing they would settle for was Syriza’s complete and total surrender — ideally followed by technocratic regime change inside Greece. Paul Krugman was therefore entirely right when he referred to the creditors’ ultimatum as “an act of monstrous folly.”

Backed into a corner by the virulent moves of the Eurogroup and the IMF, Tsipras responded in the only sensible way: he rejected the absurd proposal that the creditors had put on the table, took the decision to his people, and advised them to vote against the creditors’ disastrous ultimatum. What is surprising is not that he made this move per se — but that it took him so long to do it.

For five months, the creditors suffocated Greece, depriving it of all liquidity in a brazen attempt to force Tsipras to sign up to humiliating concessions that would have condemned the Greeks to years — if not decades — of extreme austerity. For five months, they doubled down on their cynicism and steadfastly refused to make even the most minimal concessions. For five months, they publicly belittled and degraded the democratically-elected representatives of millions of Greeks who had already suffered untold hardship.

If Tsipras had signed up to this unacceptable deal, it would not only have meant political suicide for him and his party; it would also have spelt an unmitigated disaster for the Greek people — not to mention the lasting damage it would have inflicted upon the political prospects of the European Left more generally. If there’s anything reckless about Tsipras’ approach, it’s that he even let the creditors get this far to begin with.

It was high time for the Big No — the resounding OXI!

For five years, European leaders and Greek elites sacrificed this beautiful country and its exceptional people at the altar of the financial markets to save a handful of reckless speculators inside the European banks and to convince international investors that the monetary union was irreversible. For five years, they punished the Greeks for a deep-rooted structural crisis they had no part in creating. For five years, they kicked the can down the road, hoping that the fundamental contradictions of financialized capitalism and the European monetary union would somehow magically disappear if only the inevitable moment of reckoning could be indefinitely pushed into the future.

This approach has now been exposed as a catastrophic but utterly predictable failure. Doubling down on their extreme positions with the malicious intent of forcing the Greeks into a self-defeating deal or disorderly exit, it was the creditors themselves who brought the Eurozone to the brink. Of course they will boast that Greece has long since been “ring-fenced” and that the fallout of a Greek default can now be contained, but investors will draw their own conclusions when they see a full-fledged member of the Eurozone descending into chaos. It is no surprise that the euro is already tanking in the Asian markets.

The gravest irony is that, all this time, there was a very straightforward and socially acceptable way out of the deadlock. The sensible solution would have been to write off a significant chunk of Greece’s debt. But, as even the IMF has since officially admitted, this option was politically unpalatable to Greece’s “partners” from the very start. In the early years, the Europeans feared that a debt write-down would lead to the collapse of some of their biggest private banks. Now that Greece’s debt has effectively been socialized, these same European leaders fear an electoral backlash from their Euroskeptical taxpayers, who now stand to bear the brunt of the impending Greek default.

In other words, it was the very intransigence of the creditors, the utter unwillingness to tell their own voters the truth about the Greek bailout and their stubborn refusal to even contemplate a sustainable and socially just resolution of the crisis, that led us to this dramatic apotheosis.

Greece and Europe now find themselves on the eve of a rancorous rupture. At the start of a week that will undoubtedly go down in history as a make-it-or-break-it moment for Europe’s ill-fated neoliberal project, the skies over Greece are already darkening. A full-fledged bank run over the weekend forced the government to keep the banks closed on Monday and to impose an ATM withdrawal limit of 60 euros per day. The knock-on effects on the economy and society will make it very difficult for the Greeks to vote in peace.

In this respect, the creditors’ intentions are once again crystal clear: shocked and outraged by Tsipras’ unexpected move, they will do everything within their power to obstruct the democratic process and influence the outcome of the vote. Their goal won’t even be to keep Greece inside the Eurozone anymore; their number one priority right now is simply to prevent Syriza from being able to publicly claim a victory — for that would risk emboldening other anti-austerity forces across the continent, most significantly Podemos in Spain. They would rather see Greece go down in flames than cut Syriza some slack.

This is why the Eurogroup refused to extend Greece’s current bailout program, not even for a few days: they knew the ECB would not be able to maintain its emergency support of the Greek banks without such a program, and they knew that without this support the Greek banks would not be able to open on Monday. This, in turn, would force the Greeks to vote under conditions of extreme financial uncertainty, emboldening the terror-campaign of the neoliberal opposition and possibly skewing the vote in favor of a fear-induced yes.

Meanwhile, the unelected wing of the Troika technocracy has taken the trolling to a whole new level. IMF chief Christine Lagarde argued that, since the creditor offer expires on Tuesday, Tsipras is technically asking his people to vote on a deal that no longer exists anyway. European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker added on to this by releasing a new proposal that was supposedly in the works before the Greeks “unilaterally” walked out of the negotiations. Both moves are clear attempts to destabilize popular expectations ahead of the vote and confuse the electorate about the clarity, legality and historic significance of the choice that now lies ahead of them.

Make no mistake: Sunday’s referendum will mark a defining moment in Greece’s modern history and a decisive turn for Europe’s neoliberal project. The choice is very clear. Five years after the people of Greece first rose up against the anti-democratic imposition of the Troika’s austerity measures, they have finally been given the chance to decide upon their own destiny: either they will vote yes to a lifetime of austerity within the eurozone, or they will roar back at the creditors’ inhumane demands with a proud and resounding “NO!” — thereby opening the way for a thousand yeses to a new, democratic and socially just Europe, freed from the shackles of debt servitude, the noose of a deflationary single currency, and the tyranny of an unaccountable financial technocracy.”

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Posted in P2P Action Items, P2P Public Policy, Politics | No Comments »

Discover the Enspiral network, the world’s leading commons-oriented enterpreunerial coalition

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
29th June 2015


I met with co-founder Alanna Krause, who came to Chiang Mai.

A good occasion to discover this leading commons-oriented enterpreneurial coalition that does so many things right.

Watch their intro video here:

Testimonies from members here:

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Posted in P2P Business Models, P2P Collaboration, P2P Company Watch, Peer Property, Videos | No Comments »

What the EU has wrought in Greece: the tale of Magda

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Michel Bauwens
29th June 2015


What I do know, is that the encounter was the beginning of the end of my love affair with the European project. Because, quite simply, it is no longer my European Union. It is Amazon’s and Starbucks’. It is the politicians’ and the IMF’s. But it is not mine. If belonging to the largest and richest trading bloc in the world cannot provide dinner for a retired teacher like her, it has no reason to exist. If a European Union which produces €28,000 of annual GDP for every single one of its citizens cannot provide a safety net for her, then it is profoundly wicked. If this is not a union of partners, but a gang of big players and small players, who cut the weakest loose at the first sign of trouble, then it is nothing.

Excerpted from Alex Andreou:

“Last winter, I stood outside the Opera House in the centre of Athens looking at the posters in the window. I was approached by a well-dressed and immaculately groomed elderly lady. I moved to the side. I thought she wanted to pass. She didn’t. She asked me for a few euros because she was hungry. I took her to dinner and, in generous and unsolicited exchange, she told me her story.

Her name was Magda and she was in her mid-seventies. She had worked as a teacher all her life. Her husband had been a college professor and died “mercifully long before we were reduced to this state”, as she put it. They paid their tax, national insurance and pension contributions straight out of the salary, like most people. They never cheated the state. They never took risks. They saved. They lived modestly in a two bedroom flat.

In the first year of the crisis her widow’s pension top-up stopped. In the second and third her own pension was slashed in half. Downsizing was not an option – house prices had collapsed and there were no buyers. In the third year things got worse. “First, I sold my jewellery. Except this ring”, she said, stroking her wedding ring with her thumb. “Then, I sold the pictures and rugs. Then the good crockery and silver. Then most of the furniture. Now there is nothing left that anyone wants. Last month the super came and removed the radiators from my flat, because I hadn’t paid for communal fuel in so long. I feel so ashamed.”

I don’t know why this encounter should have shocked me so deeply. Poverty and hunger is everywhere in Athens. Magda’s story is replicated thousands of times across Greece. It is certainly not because one life is worth more than another. And yet there is something peculiarly discordant and irreconcilable about the “nouveau pauvres”, just like like there is about the nouveau riches. Most likely it shocked me because I kept thinking how much she reminded me of my mother.

And, still, I don’t know whether voting “yes” or “no” will make life better or worse for her. I don’t know what Magda would vote either. I can only guess. What I do know, is that the encounter was the beginning of the end of my love affair with the European project. Because, quite simply, it is no longer my European Union. It is Amazon’s and Starbucks’. It is the politicians’ and the IMF’s. But it is not mine.

If belonging to the largest and richest trading bloc in the world cannot provide dinner for a retired teacher like her, it has no reason to exist. If a European Union which produces €28,000 of annual GDP for every single one of its citizens cannot provide a safety net for her, then it is profoundly wicked. If this is not a union of partners, but a gang of big players and small players, who cut the weakest loose at the first sign of trouble, then it is nothing.

Each one of us will have to engage in an internal battle before Sunday’s referendum. I will be thinking of you, Magda, when I vote. It seems as honest a basis to make a decision as any.”

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Posted in P2P Public Policy | No Comments »

150 Years after the first call: How do you abolish the wages system by degrees?

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Michel Bauwens
28th June 2015


Tom Walker writes thatJune 27, 2015 is the one-hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Marx’s call for the abolition of the wages system — a fitting occasion for renewing that call”, and he cites:

We do not forget that we are fighting with effects, but not with the causes of those effects; that we are retarding the downward movement, but not changing its direction; that we are applying palliatives, not curing the malady. We shall not, therefore, be exclusively absorbed in these unavoidable guerilla fights incessantly springing up from the never ceasing encroachments of capital or changes of the market. We understand that, with all the miseries it imposes upon us, the present system simultaneously engenders the material conditions and the social forms necessary for an economical reconstruction of society. Instead of the conservative motto: “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work!” we inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword: “Abolition of the wages system!”

Tom Walker then continues with his own proposals:

“Step one: Do not forget. Marx advised not to forget that in everyday struggles you are fighting with effects, not with the causes of those effects. Not forgetting requires a lot of attention to history. It also requires a keen awareness that there is a well-funded industry devoted to making us forget.

Step two: Our own accounting. Standard double-entry bookkeeping looks at profit and loss from the perspective of the business enterprise whose purpose is defined as monetary profit seeking. Making a profit is not the purpose of people or of nations.Labor is not a commodity. Labor power is a common-pool resource.

Step three: Build (or transform) organizations dedicated to not forgetting and our own accounting. The model for this is a hybrid that borrows both from traditional trade unionism and from common-pool resource management. The precedents are there. What needs to be done is to synthesize from those experiences.

Step four: Bargain collectively. Collective bargaining is not synonymous with the administrative model of bargaining established under the Wagner Act. Eric Hobsbawm, for example, called the Luddite actions “collective bargaining by riot.” Theodore Ave-Lallemant wrote an obscure article nearly a hundred years ago in which he distinguished between the collective labor contract based on cooperation and the more standard form of contract bargaining which “seeks no more than to stipulate the terms of individual contracts of employment.”

Step five: Work less. The wages system is effectively abolished in each hour workers collectively withdraw from the labor supply. Limitation of the hours of work is abolition of the wages system by degree. This explains why employers have fought so tenaciously for two centuries against the reduction of working time.”

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Posted in P2P Hierarchy Theory, P2P Labor, P2P Theory | No Comments »

Interview with Sini Forssell, co-founder of the Helsinki Ruokaosuuskunta Urban Food Cooperative Farm

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Michel Bauwens
28th June 2015


This interesting overview, conducted by Christin Boggs, is followed by a little movie produced by the food coop.

Watch the interview here:

On the benefits of urban cooperative farming:

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Posted in Cooperatives, Food and Agriculture, P2P Collaboration | No Comments »

How can we better identify idle resources for the p2p economy ?

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Michel Bauwens
28th June 2015


A thought capsule from Eric Hunting:

“I’ve been pondering lately the question of alternative resources and how they might be sought, catalogued, and developed.
One of the often overlooked aspects of P2P is that it was founded in the discovery of a global resource overlooked by the market. That resource was passion and its margin of human productivity untapped by most corporations because of their essential inability, within the context of simplistic Taylorism, to understand the nature of human motivation and potential productivity. Discovering this resource and the digital technology to collectivize it on global scales has catalyzed a cultural revaluation of labor and lifestyle, hinting at the prospect of a kind of social equity outside the worldview of the conventional economy that could become the basis of a new, progressive, fairer, social, alter-economy and alter-infrastructure.

But we’ve run into something of a roadblock because there are practical limits to this social resource despite its vast scale. This problem is illustrated by the complications of transitioning the Open Source model to Open Hardware and initiating with this alter-economy new alternative subsistence infrastructures. The market encloses so much of the world and its conventional resources and complicates attempts to create new communities that don’t play by its rules by driving them to the periphery of the civilization. So often obsessed with an idea autarky, these communities struggle to be sustainable. Autarky isn’t quite plug-and-play yet.

But if the market overlooked one great resource, why not others? In fact, the market overlooks or ignores many potential resources that can’t fit its Industrial Age production and economic paradigms and they lie scattered all around us. All waste is resources that lack a practical technique for their utilization. And the market generates so much waste that it has become a global environmental catastrophe. It would seem a fair suggestion that there’s enough stuff thrown away by our civilization to sustain a whole other civilization. And then there are the renewable resources–solar, wind, tidal energy and biological production–not only overlooked but actively suppressed by the market because they could not be exploited through scarcity. Futurist Marshal Savage proposed the bootstrapping of the world’s biggest space program and the catalyzing of a Post-Industrial civilization by the organized exploitation of just the renewable resources associated with OTEC. (ocean thermal energy conversion) He described renewables as; “coming to the poker table of the global market like a player with a hose spewing chips up his sleeve.”

The core idea of the original Urban Nomad movement was that a new culture could emerge and sustain itself through the exploitation of the detritus of the declining Industrial Age civilization. It was from this that the idea of ‘upcycling’ emerged. This idea has long fascinated me. As a kid, I was very interested in stories of other civilizations hidden in our midsts; The Littles, The Borrowers, The Rescuers, The Secret of HIMH, and, of course, the faeries of folklore. Secret cultures that functioned, more-or-less, by appropriating, recycling, and hacking the cast-offs of human civilization and the many overlooked and out-of-sight spaces in our built habitat.
Recently, we’ve discovered an overlooked resource very much like this. The Tiny House, shedding, and friggebod movements have emerged around this. It’s the discovery that, in many places in the world, conventional building regulations don’t apply to buildings below a certain scale. By applying clever design, new technology, and new lifestyle models we can exploit this to afford comfortable, highly adaptive and personalized, even mobile or portable housing while avoiding the exploitation of the housing finance industry. This is incredibly disruptive when you consider just how much human productivity is being wasted on mortgages today and how much the limitations of mortgage fungibility limit people’s mobility and lifestyle options. This also affords a potential to create many kinds of micro-industrial/agricultural facilities that can aid in production demassification and localization while creating new alternatives to the corporate job market. Maybe we don’t need to go to the edge of the wilderness to build alternative infrastructures if we can go tiny and network.

What other resources like this can we identify today? How might we characterize their logistics? What technologies are needed to exploit them? How can we protect them from being enclosed by the market as we develop them? How can we network them into larger infrastructures? What new means of transportation and distribution are needed? What sorts of ‘firewalls’ can we develop between the market and the alter-infrastructure in order to exploit it to our ends, bringing that firehose spewing chips to bear on it?
Perhaps we should think like The Littles, cultivating an insurgent, guerrilla, civilization. That’s why I’ve come to name my nomadic eco-village project Guerrillaville. It’s motto is; “There is no need to be upset.”

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Posted in P2P Manufacturing, Peer Production | No Comments »

Who are the agents of alternatives today ?

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Michel Bauwens
27th June 2015


“an independently published open book exploring the visions, actions, tools and impacts of change agents, thinkers and ‘happeners’.

Excerpted from the introduction to the wonderfully edited and designed book:

* Book: Agents of Alternatives – Re-designing Our Realities. Ed. by Alastair Fuad-Luke, Anja-Lisa Hirscher and Katharina Moebus. Agents of Alternatives e.V., 2015

By Anja-Lisa Hirscher et al:

“”You hold in your hands a book which is really a manifestation of an evolving vision to link designing with everyday ‘active-ism’ which helps materialise plausible ‘alternatives’ to the global economy and neo-liberal capitalist practices. This was driven by an underlying belief that we need to ‘re-design our realities’ to better reflect and respond to our pressing contingent challenges about our social, ecological and financial condition.

Exploring ‘agents of alternatives’ demands a multidisciplinary dialogue within and between citizens, practitioners and academics who make things happen. So, you will find contributors from diverse fields: design, the arts, architecture, education, politics, economics, urban planning and city administration, social enterprise and the informal sector, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), experts on the commons, and others. We encouraged activists, researchers, educationalists, strategists and facilitators to share their views. In this book we mix the voices of well-known contributors alongside lesser-known active local agents. We look for emergent ways of learning-by-doing, of designing, of manifesting things differently and catalysing positive change, and we present these ways of thinking and practicing so that others might fruitfully experiment with, explore and generate alternatives for themselves.

* Agency

Our position is that everyone and everything has agency, that is, the capacity to change what happens next. A position reinforced by certain philosophers – for example, Bruno Latour’s human and non-human ‘actants’, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s ‘social material assemblages’, and Jane Bennett’s ‘vibrant matter’.

We, and our contributors, also adopt more accepted sociological and anthropological views of agency involving the social structures, systems and rules which bind or break them. Those with agency are actors, stakeholders, shareholders, institutions, organisations, diverse communities and other social groups. We would also invoke ‘political agency’ as a healthy form of disagreement and discourse as part of our civic and human condition, not confined within formalised institutionalised practices of ‘politics’. In this sense we see the political agency of this book and its contributors as a means to re-examine and explore our social relations and our relations with the wider world so that we might, individually and collectively posit or construct alternatives.

* The agents

Who are these agents of alternatives? They exhibit some common features: they are independently minded, but share a critical awareness of our social, ecological and economic condition; they have a vision but it is adaptive to changing circumstances; they are open and transparent, showing their processes and sharing their expertise; they start their journey with the (often meagre) resources at their disposal and show perseverance; they believe their voice counts and encourage others to add their voices too; they turn rhetoric into action; and they reveal opportunities and possibilities. Most importantly, all our contributors here are ‘making things happen’, they are active not passive, caring not distant, and different not conformist. Read their voices in the essays, interviews and case studies.

* Alternatives

Anyone, or anything, contesting the status quo, societal ‘norms’ or contemporary paradigmatic forces, is, potentially, an ‘alternativ-ist’. To be an alternativ-ist is not a new position but has an illustrious history which embraces daring individuals, collective movements, specialised groups and minorities.

Here we define our alternatives through a series of imagined worlds –Thinking, Learning, Sharing, Making, Intervening, Working, and Living – worlds which evolved as the content for the book grew (see p.18-19). We see these worlds intertwined, joined by a series of emergent practices (p.462) and expressed through an evolving lexicon (p.22-37). These alternatives are still young, yet they are potentially catalytic and, if scaled-up, can encourage a transition towards more sustainable, equable and adaptable futures. We found professionally organised alternatives that try to bridge policy-making and grassroots activism as well as small initiatives that have spread all around the world, because their underlying ideas are so simple, accessible and welcoming to a wide range of people. There are different ways of changing society, and this book tries to have a closer look at the potential of the informal and formal worlds of change makers.

* Re-designing

Our shared vision for this book was also underpinned with a belief that the field of design is diffusing out into wider society and is no longer just the primary concern of professionally trained designers, but is actually being practiced by other professionals, professional amateurs and citizen designers. We share and update Victor Papanek’s view that ‘all people are designers’, and Joseph Beuys’ political position making all citizens ‘artists’ that shape the ‘social sculpture’ of our society. And, we believe that a sustainable way of designing is to work with what is existent in a ‘locale’ – a diverse array of human, social, public, commercial and natural capitals. In this sense ‘re-designing’ makes more sense than ‘designing’, because it involves re-configuring the potential of what already exists. This might, of course, involve bringing in new ingredients and smartly combining them to create fresh potentialities. The initiatives, projects and ideas collated in this book are representative for a growing global ‘zeitgeist’ (spirit of the time) around openness and sharing. This means making ideas accessible to everyone so that they can be adapted to diverse local conditions. Most of them are open source so individual authorship becomes less important and the positive impacts and potentialities of sharing are emphasised. They bring different communities and places around the world together in a dynamic self-organised and, often, surprising way.

To summarise, it is our hope that this book will stimulate you, the reader, to become an agent of alternatives too…”

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Posted in Open Models, P2P Action Items, P2P Books | No Comments »

Platforms as the new bureaucracy , or beyond towards non-bureaucratic organizations ?

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Michel Bauwens
27th June 2015


Clear signs tell us that, today, organizations that embraced a post-industrial transformation and defeated the bureaucracy and rigidity of linear business models are the masters of the market.

Excerpted from an excellent discussion of the implications of David Graeber’s new book, the Utopia of Rules, by Simone Cicero:

(we recommend reading the whole essay!)

““Only” fifteen years after Himanen’s book, a prophet of business thinking such as Geoffrey Moore looks at Coase’s seminal “The Nature of the Firm” and explores the deep changes that the digitally transformed economy is having on the structure of the firm itself. According to Moore, the transition to post-industrial, information, age is finally getting to maturation and having effects not only on the business models (with the rise of the “age of access” and “on demand” economy) but also onto the very nature of the firm itself.
The growing demand for the firm to be able to act as a pivotal point – interact and collaborate with partners and peers – is being deeply disruptive to the hierarchical and bureaucratic management structures that provided the motivation for the existence of an entire class of middle-management, middle-class jobs for most of the twentieth century.

The transition from corporate bureaucracies to digital empires is, according to Greg Satell, so relevant that he defines Platforms as “bureaucracies for the networked age“.

Ultimately you go then, gradually and with huge differences between different industries, from an industrial perspective, of a linear relationship between firms and the market to one which is networked and post-industrial. While in the first, the company (capital) owns the means of production and workers access them to produce products and services to be marketed, In the latter the market is reticular and indistinguishable from the society, the means of production are dispersed and accessible and companies have the main aim of connecting supply and demand and facilitating the “citizen producer”.

It is therefore impossible, recognizing how the maturation and the ubiquity of the networks and the social web transformed the structure of society in a “grid”, not to overcome the “linear” logic of business typical of industrial production. Is therefore necessary, in companies and organizations – and eventually in ourselves – to adopt a new attitude, a new work ethic.

But what can then be the guiding spirit, the basic ethics of this transformation? Himanen (and others) identify this in the hacker ethic. In the hacker ethic of work, work has to be interesting and fun and, above all, must create value for the worker, the organization and for society as a whole. Workers also must have freedom to organize their work in a way that is more functional to reach their own goals and in the manner that best fits their needs and insights.

A lot of Himanen’s vision can be also seen in the work of historical leaders of organization transformation such as Peter Drucker or in the “learning organization” advocated by Peter Senge where “…people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together”

Exactly in 2001, in conjunction with Himanen’s book release, we witnessed what can be considered among the first incarnations of hacker thinking in the world of production in the information age: in February of that year, in fact, a group of software developers, met to discuss new practices and methods of software development and gave birth to the “Agile Manifesto”.

This manifesto, made ??of 12 principles, and four Key aspects was a real break with the world of hierarchies, long term contracts and bureaucratic companies that, in most cases, even after almost 15 years, is still the market that we know and live every day as professionals.

* Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

* Working software over comprehensive documentation

* Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

* Responding to change over following a plan

The vision embodied by the Agile Manifesto was actually emerging from a cultural background inspired in part from the work of Richard Stallman – the last “true hacker” according to Steven Levy – and other Free software activists.”

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Posted in Economy and Business, Open Models, P2P Collaboration, P2P Governance, P2P Hierarchy Theory | No Comments »

The Barcelona Fab City 5.0 plan outlined in Barcelona Metropolis magazine

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Michel Bauwens
26th June 2015


The Barcelona 5.0 Plan aims to relocate industrial and agricultural production back to the city, using
an interconnected community of neighborhood fab labs.

Barcelona Metropolis magazine gives important details on the project. Recommended reading.

Barcelona Metropolis Uittreksel

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Posted in Commons Transition, Default, P2P Architecture and Urbanism | No Comments »

Work and Peer Production, call for papers

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Michel Bauwens
26th June 2015


Ask for more info via .

Here’s how they describe the issue at hand:

Phoebe Moore et al.:

“The rise in the usage and delivery capacity of the Internet in the 1990s has led to the development of massively distributed online projects where self-governing volunteers collaboratively produce public goods. Notable examples include Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects such as Debian and GNOME, as well as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. These distributed practices have been characterised as peer production, crowdsourcing, mass customization, social production, co-configurative work, playbour, user-generated content, wikinomics, open innovation, participatory culture, produsage, and the wisdom of the crowd, amongst other terms. In peer production, labour is communal and outputs are orientated towards the further expansion of the commons, an ecology of production that aims to defy and resist the hierarchies and rules of ownership that drive productive models within capitalism (Moore, 2011); while the commons, recursively, are the chief resource in this mode of production (Söderberg & O’Neil, 2014).

Peer projects are ‘ethical’ as participation is primarily motivated by self-fulfillment and validated by a community of peers, rather than by earning wages. Their governance is ‘modular’, understood in a design sense (decomposable blocks sharing a common interface), but also in political-economy terms: participants oppose restricted ownership and control by individually socializing their works into commons. Conflicting interpretations of their societal impact have been articulated (O’Neil, 2015). Skeptics view the abjuration of exclusive property rights over the goods they produce as irrelevant, and ethical-modular projects as increasing worker exploitation: participants’ passionate labour occurs at the expense of less fortunate others, who do not have the disposable income, cultural capital, or family support to engage in unpaid labour (Moore & Taylor, 2009; Huws, 2013). In contrast, reformists, often hailing from a management perspective, suggest that the co-optation of communal labour by firms will improve business practices and society (Arvidsson, 2008; Demil et al., 2015). Finally activists celebrate the abjuration of exclusive property rights, and present ethical-modular projects as key actors in a historical process leading to the supersession of capitalism and hierarchy (Kostakis & Bauwens, 2014).

This last perspective raises a central challenge, which is the avoidance of purely utopian thinking. In other words, how can commons-based peer production reach deeply into daily life? How can ‘already existing non-capitalist economic processes’ be strengthened, ‘new non-capitalist enterprises’ be built, and ‘communal subjects’ be established (Gibson-Graham, 2003: 157)? An increasingly large free public goods and services sector could well cohabit in a plural economy with employment in cooperatives, paid independent work, and the wage-earning of the commercial sector. However analysis of peer production typically eschews mundane considerations such as living wages, benefits, job security, working conditions, work-induced medical conditions, and debates on labour organization. How can peer production operate as a sustainable practice enabling people to live, if labour and work issues are not formally addressed?”

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