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Support the Refugee Crowdfunding Campaign Using FairCoin

photo of Enric Duran

Enric Duran
8th February 2016


refugeesfund

Introduction

Global governments, and especially the European Union, have shown their worst side with the events of recent times. Economic Rescue is being exchanged for popular sovereignty. Neoliberal control, wage and pension cuts, tax increases, layoffs and all kinds of privatization.

And governments, rather than give in to demands for democracy from citizens, use brutality to end their resistance. These are policies that sacrifice the interests of the majority to benefit the interests of a tiny minority.

Together with the sovereign and austerity crisis, we cannot forget the refugee crisis.

Almost 3,000 people have lost their lives so far this year trying to reach safety in Europe. EU leaders cannot ignore this or turn their backs on its tragic consequences. After months of prevarication they still have not established a coordinated emergency response and have failed to fundamentally overhaul the failing asylum system. Now is the time for self-organized civil society to use direct action, and to directly support those in need. There is an urgent need for the provision of adequate and humane conditions for those arriving and to really help them to organize their lives for the long term in the new host countries.

A new Faircoin fund for refugees.

This fund will focus on helping autonomous and self-managed projects involving refugees and solving their need to retain full control over the decisions made in their lives. For example new settlements, and the creation of productive and holistic initiatives with which they can fulfill their material and immaterial needs on a daily basis, while offering something useful to the society in which they find themselves.

photo_2016-02-01_16-26-43Cooperative working initiatives can also be included, giving the newcomers an opportunity to become self-employed, beyond the control of states over their right to work. And of course grassroots solidarity movements who work on an open and participative basis can apply for their costs to be covered.

This proposal is also intended for those who have undergone forced displacement for economic and environmental reasons, and includes stateless people who are in the difficult situation of having no rights because of the behavior of their countries of origin or third countries that don’t recognize them as citizens.

The goal of this proposal is to get at least 500,000 Faircoins (the minimum amount to create a fund in FairCoop) towards the needs of refugees today in the world.

For this campaign you can pay with any currency, and the money received will be converted to Faircoin in order to be added to the fund.

Also you can yourself buy Faircoin (for example FairCoop offers https://getfaircoin.net)and so make your contribution in Faircoin.

The Euros received though this crowdfunding campaign will be held by the local FairCoop nodes to be used as liquidity to allow Faircoins to be changed into Euros by the projects that will use this Faircoin fund.

We can also count on the support of the autonomous initiative of the Troika Fiscal Disobedience Consultancy which will support this crowdfunding with its incomes. (http://www.disobedience.eu). If you can use their services, this is another way to contribute!

Why Faircoin?

The current banking and eurosystem are directly responsible for the refugee crisis.

Greece has shown that the European Central Bank is not independent and apolitical; indeed it is at the service of the bankers and their political agents, and is ready to kill democracy at the push of a button.

The treaties of the European Union feed the rise of the extreme right and have become a means to override democratic control over the production and distribution of wealth throughout Europe.

photo_2016-02-01_16-26-58Thus, in the situation where their human rights are not being respected, the people who find themselves without full legal status in other countries – according the rules set down by member states – do not have the right to create bank accounts and also do not have the right to work in European countries.

We need to build a new social and political framework, which does not obey laws which are really economic warfare in disguise; but rather on a conciousness which sees everyone as equal in the world. That’s why we need to act now and can no longer wait for a top-down solution which is never going to come.

We need to build another economy for another world. The global open cooperative, Faircoop, has designed Faircoin as a tool in the hands of social justice movements to allow us to become independent of the old banking system.

In making Faircoin a powerful economic tool for funding and exchanging products and services, we are creating this fairer economy right now. And we are doing so with a decentralized economic framework that does not allow the government to freeze the funds of the participants.

By suppporting this campaign you are simultaneously supporting actions in solidarity with the refugees, and are endorsing the vision behind Faircoop towards building another economy.

To understand how Faircoin works please read this guide:

https://fair.coop/the-faircoop-practical-guide-to-what-is-and-how-to-use-faircoin/

How the refugee fund will be managed:

FairCoop's Refugee Fund poster

Design by @tereseta

To make it happen a global FairCoop decision-making process will be created . An assembly of global FairCoop activists and local participants will be set up to administer and distribute the funds.

Local nodes involved in supporting the regional initiatives will be able to request funds. This means that local self-organized groups are needed, in order to be in contact with the projects presented for funding, and to make sure that the funds go where they are supposed to go.

Eligible collectives or organisations will be invited to request funds for their self-managed projects.

To join the participative structure that will manage that funds, come to https://fair.coop/fairnetwork  and see how to contact the local node where you live, how to create a new one if needed, and how to participate in the Refugee Fund global assemblies.

LogoFairCoopVectorialOk_pos_eng

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Posted in Campaigns, Commons, Commons Transition, Crowdfunding, Ethical Economy, P2P Action Items, P2P Collaboration | No Comments »

Factual details about the upcoming basic income experiment in Finland

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
7th February 2016


“In a recent survey carried out by Kela, nearly 70% of respondents support the idea of a universal basic income, and most of them think it should be set at around 1000 euros per month.”

The BIEN website gives a good breakdown about what actually will happen in Finland, written by Vito Laterza:

“The government has set aside 20 million euros for two years for the experiment. There are several options that the working group will consider. The first is a full basic income, where the amount paid to participants would be high enough to replace “almost all insurance-based benefits”, hence a significant monthly sum. As in other European welfare states, Finland has an insurance system where workers receive their unemployment and pension benefits from sector-specific funds. These are usually higher than the basic benefits administered to welfare beneficiaries regardless of their occupational status. The figure of 800 euros per month circulated by many news outlets is to be read as a possibility under this option, rather than anything set in stone.

The second option is a partial basic income that would replace basic benefits, but leave intact almost all existing insurance-based benefits. The presentation notes that, in this case, the monthly sum should not be lower than the existing level of basic benefits, which is around 550 euros per month. The same figure was reported in several media without the appropriate context.

A third option is that of a negative income tax, where income transfers are made through the taxation system. Other models might also be considered, including the option of a participation income given to unemployed people as an incentive to seek additional income – this alternative is discussed by Kangas himself and Jan Otto Andersson in a 2002 paper.

The size of the sample and the geographical areas covered are other key topics to be addressed. According to Kela, the next step will be the delivery of a review of available evidence from universal basic income models tested in other countries, which will be presented to government in spring 2016. In a recent survey carried out by Kela, nearly 70% of respondents support the idea of a universal basic income, and most of them think it should be set at around 1000 euros per month.”

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Posted in P2P Money, P2P Public Policy | No Comments »

Where next for the sharing economy debate?

photo of Rajesh Makwana

Rajesh Makwana
7th February 2016


16639834358_980fce055b_k_1

As social and environmental crises continue to escalate, it seems increasingly unlikely that the sharing economy will lead the way to a more sustainable future – unless it actively challenges the power structures that maintain an unjust status quo.


During the course of 2015, the continued success of Uber, Airbnb, TaskRabbit and other commercial giants of the so-called sharing economy provoked a robust critique from environmentalists, social activists and other commentators about the nature and purpose of this fast-emerging new economic model.

In broad terms, the contours of this increasingly nuanced debate are clear: some advocates assert that the sharing economy has the potential to prefigure a post-capitalist future by dramatically reforming the way goods and services are owned, produced, exchanged and consumed. Others remark that sharing economy platforms often commercialise social functions that are traditionally undertaken for free, and are restructuring the nature of employment along far more precarious lines. Put simply, the dispute hinges on whether or not the sharing economy challenges or merely reinforces the fundamentals of neoliberalism.

These contrasting viewpoints have been catalogued and examined in a recent paper by Chris Martin published in the journal Ecological Economics, in which he also reviews a range of perspectives expressed by Share The World’s Resources (STWR), Shareable, OuiShare and other organisations that comment regularly on this topic. His research mainly serves to map the full diversity of opinions on the sharing economy, and it provides a useful overview of the wider discourse in that respect – albeit in an academic format.

The author rightly identifies STWR’s concern that sharing economy platforms often reinforce a narrow and highly individualistic economic paradigm, and that proponents of sharing should therefore align their activities to the more progressive vision of establishing a ‘sharing society’. In Martin’s analysis, a sharing society is “built upon resource sharing at the local and national scales (e.g. public services) and at the international scale (e.g.  transferring resources from developed to developing countries)”. He goes on to explain that making a convincing case for establishing a truly sharing society will require advocating for “the values of social justice, environmental justice and equality”.

Moving towards a sharing society

Despite concerns about the commercialisation of sharing, there is growing hope that the sharing economy can emerge as a more comprehensive social and political concept that can be employed to reshape entire cities along more sustainable lines, and even improve access to public services. As Duncan Mclaran explains in a recent article, “the sharing economy and its intermediaries are only a part of a broader sharing paradigm. Sharing fundamentally relies on reconnecting people and rebuilding social capital, it offers a vehicle for rediscovering public services such as libraries, as well as creating new community facilities such as shared kitchens and workspaces.”

These themes are more fully explored in the book Sharing Cities (co-written by Mclaren and Julian Agyeman), in which the authors explore case studies of the growing list of cities that are adopting the sharing economy model on a municipal basis. Drawing on these examples, they argue that the ethos and practice of sharing does have the potential to challenge neoliberal capitalism by building urban commons, shifting human values, and fostering more civic engagement and political activism.

It will be interesting to see how the sharing economy debate unfolds in 2016, especially in light of a deteriorating global economic situation in which the demand for a more just and sustainable global economy is likely to be on the rise. For STWR, it’s therefore more important than ever that this important conversation about how to integrate the principle of sharing into the way we organise society takes a global perspective, one that is based on the urgent need to address the pressing social and environmental challenges confronting humanity.

As we highlight on our sharing economy resources webpage, “the growing support for the sharing economy indeed has the potential to change the way we understand and address the many crises we face, but it has to be a genuine form of economic sharing that addresses the power structures and politics that maintain an unjust status quo.”


For more information about STWR’s perspectives on the future direction of the sharing economy, please visit our sharing economy page, where you can find a full list of relevant articles and blogs. 

Image credit: Flickr creative commons

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Posted in Cognitive Capitalism, Commons, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Guest Post, P2P Action Items, P2P Business Models, Sharing | No Comments »

Money as a Commons requires a Local Standard of Value

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
6th February 2016


“I cannot see how money can become democratic unless its value is determined independently of the financial system just as standards of weights and measures are determined independently of those that use them as a common good.”

An interesting argument by Shann Turnbull:

(via email)

“I cannot see how money can become democratic unless its value is determined independently of the financial system just as standards of weights and measures are determined independently of those that use them as a common good.

A local standard of value established in each bio-region would allow anyone in that region to enter intro contract to exchange goods and services with reference to the accepted standard. There would be no need for either a centralised or distributed ledger even if one was kept.

Establishing the standard of value on a democratic basis becomes a governance problem not a financial one. Millions of producer and/or suppliers of benign renewable energy being shared through a cooperative creates a democratic governance arrangement that unlike LIBOR or foreign exchanges could have its value cross checked by millions of its stake holding suppliers/consumers.

I would caution the call of requiring money to be created without debt unless you also specify “Bank” debt. If we are going to use money as a medium of exchange it will be creating private peer to peer debt!

If you want democratic money then we cannot have money that creates money by earning interest. The ability of money to earn interest also misallocated resources to creating money rather than investing in real things that can increase prosperity on a sustainable basis without growth and even with de-growth.”

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Posted in Commons Transition, P2P Money, P2P Public Policy | No Comments »

Video: Fred Harrison on Why Land Value Taxation would be fairer than progressive income taxes

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
5th February 2016


During boom years, it takes land owners only three years to recuperate a lifetime of taxes through the rising land values.

A brilliant explanation by Fred Harrison.

Watch the video here:

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Posted in Commons Transition, Economy and Business, P2P Public Policy, Peer Property | No Comments »

Policy & FLOSS for the Commons – upcoming P2Pvalue Event in Barcelona

photo of Ann Marie Utratel

Ann Marie Utratel
5th February 2016


POLICY N FLOSS blog adjusted width

The P2Pvalue team is hosting the following event in Barcelona, Spain, on March 12-13, 2016 (with a locally-focused event taking place March 11).

WHAT:   Policy & FLOSS for the Commons

“Commons Collaborative Economies: Policies, Technologies and City for the People”

A two-day international interdisciplinary workshop which aims to highlight the relevance of the commons-oriented approach of peer production and collaborative economy, while proposing public policies and providing technical guidelines to build software platforms for collaborative communities.

WHEN: During the weekend of March 12-13th, 2016, with a locally-oriented event taking place on Friday, March 11th, 2016.

WHERE: Barcelona, Spain

For more information please visit the P2Pvalue event page.

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Posted in Conferences, Culture & Ideas, Events, Open Calls, P2P Collaboration, P2P Public Policy | No Comments »

STWR’s verdict on the Paris Agreement

photo of Rajesh Makwana

Rajesh Makwana
5th February 2016


climate-justice-001

There is no true ambition or justice in a global climate deal that undermines the principles of sharing, equity and justice. But after the ‘COP-out’ negotiations in Paris, there is still every hope that the growing power of the people’s voice can usher in a more equal and sustainable world.


Now that all the world leaders, diplomats, lobbyists, and NGOs have returned home after COP21, environmental campaigners are still taking stock of the new climate deal agreed in Paris. In many ways, the newspaper headlines heralding a ‘major leap for mankind’ and ‘the world’s greatest diplomatic success’ were justified. The aspirational goal to keep temperatures at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is certainly more ambitious than expected, and much has been made of the ultimate goal of ‘net-zero human emissions’ in the second half of this century.

Despite the fanfare, however, it’s impossible to call the Paris Agreement an actual success in terms of environmental sustainability or global justice. Green groups have widely argued that the 1.5C aspiration is meaningless without concrete measures for hitting it, while the individual emissions reductions promised by world powers will not be sufficient to prevent global temperatures rising beyond 2C. We are still headed for a catastrophic rise of 3C, and even these existing pledges are not legally binding. So far from being ambitious in any real sense, there are no longer binding targets or meaningful carbon cuts obligated on rich countries—which is almost a step backwards from the Kyoto Protocol (itself deemed inadequate in 1997).

There is also no justice in an agreement in which no new money is pledged to help developing countries adapt to climate change and move beyond fossil fuels. The pre-existing pledge of $100 billion per year of climate finance is about one quarter of the sums needed, according to civil society analysis, and this again is non-legally binding and couched in vague language. As campaigners have long reasoned, it is not a question of aid, loans or charity; it is about the historical debt of rich countries to the majority world. Yet this was far from the basis of the Paris negotiations, where the obligation was shifted back onto poor countries and proposals for climate reparations were pushed off limits. At the same time, the final agreement dropped any reference to human rights or Indigenous rights in the main text.

A growing call for ‘fair shares’

On a more positive note, a global call for sharing is now a central theme among civil society activists who focus on environmental justice issues. Indeed the crunch point in the Paris talks involved—as ever—the vexed issue of how to share responsibility for climate change between developed and developing countries. Campaigners have meticulously articulated how fairness and equity is key to the success of any climate negotiations, as reflected in the major ‘fair shares’ civil society review of government pledges to reduce carbon emissions. Demands for rich countries to remember their #FairShares at COP21 was even a rallying cry of protesters who staged actions outside the talks.

As anticipated, the final agreement did not include a clear reference to a global carbon budget as a basis for targets, which is imperative for any discussion about how to fairly share the Earth’s atmospheric space between rich and poor countries. The talks spelled out no vision of equity or fairness; on the contrary, the United States did everything it could to undermine the landmark principle of equity in the UNFCCC negotiations—known as Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities—by using bullying tactics and bribery to get its way.

Instead of addressing the root causes of climate change and committing to the measures needed to reduce inequality and overconsumption, most world leaders continue to sanction an unjust economic system that is fuelled by fossil fuel extraction. There is an obvious contradiction in major industrialised nations signing the Paris deal on one hand, while pushing for environmentally damaging trade deals such as the TTIP and TPP on the other. As widely pointed out, there was no mentioning in the text of the word ‘fossil fuel’ (let alone the need to keep 80% of fossil fuels in the ground), and there was no reference to the global military industrial complex that is next to the fossil fuel industry in its global GHG emissions.

The polluters’ great escape

The latest climate agreement will be remembered in history as “the Polluters’ Great Escape”, according to one progressive analyst, since it weakens the rules on rich countries and promises no fundamental changes in how the global economy is structured. Far from discussing the difficult political, economic and social changes that are needed to tackle climate change in the near and longer term, the door is also opened once again to carbon markets and other false solutions that suit big corporations.

For all these reasons and many others, the real hope for building a more just and sustainable economic system falls ever more firmly on the shoulders of ordinary, engaged citizens. The last words of many environmental activists following COP21 can only be repeated: that the main obstacles to change are not scientific or technical, but social and political. That history will not be made in convention centres and government institutions, but on the streets in massive peaceful protests and direct actions. That we as people of goodwill are not yet strong enough to dismantle the power of global corporations, but there is increasing evidence that the movement for transformative systemic change is growing apace.

So even if the Paris Agreement failed to reflect the principles of sharing, justice and equity in anything near to their true form of global expression, the great challenge of the 21st century—to fairly distribute the planet’s resources within environmental constraints—has never been more clear or urgent.

As STWR’s Mohammed Mesbahi comments: “There are many committed activists who campaign with passion and intelligence about the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, to switch to renewable energy resources, to protect the commons, to live more simply and so forth. But they are a comparatively small number of people trying to do a job that requires the backing of the whole population. They’re on their own trying to do the job for everyone else, which doesn’t make sense when you listen to the warnings from scientists who say we’re heading for a climate catastrophe. Those scientists are not just talking to the governments: they are talking to us, you and me, the people of the world.

“Every family should be its own government when it comes to environmental issues today. We should become our own presidents and prime ministers who each plays their part in working to save our planet, as if we are all ambassadors for humanity.

“Most of all, we must carry on organising more protest actions, until those protests catch on and get bigger and bigger. We have observed how world leaders make many promises during these global summits, then go home and put on another mask for the business of making profits for global corporations. Hence we have to persist until those politicians understand that their agenda of commercialisation is incompatible with protecting and healing the environment.

“We have to scale up our existing demands for shifting money away from fossil fuels and armaments, towards climate finance and renewable energies. We know we have all the technology, all the ingenuity, all the money. But governments will not shift their priorities without enormous pressure from the public that is expressed through constant and peaceful mobilisations.”


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Posted in Commons Transition, Ethical Economy, P2P Ecology, P2P Energy | No Comments »

Video: Benjamin Tincq and Francesca Pick on Globally Scaling Shared Values

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
4th February 2016


Benjamin and Francesca share how they collaborate as a large-scale international distributed community.

(The conversation was conducted by Alanna Krause in the context of an investigation of how organizations use Loomio.)

Watch the video here:

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Posted in P2P Collaboration, P2P Governance, P2P Movements, Videos | No Comments »

A new era of global protest begins

photo of Rajesh Makwana

Rajesh Makwana
3rd February 2016


Protesters in Japan

In line with the steady rise in social unrest over the past decade, it’s likely that we will witness an unprecedented escalation in large-scale citizen protests across the globe in 2016 and beyond.


Research by Dr. David Bailey provides empirical evidence for what many activists and campaigners have long suspected: that we have entered a prolonged period of dissent characterised by an escalation in the magnitude and diversity of public protest. The UK-based data clearly indicates that the catalyst for this upsurge in social unrest was the financial crisis of 2008, which continues to have a detrimental impact on economic security for the vast majority of citizens – even while the combined wealth of the richest 1% continues to soar.

Although many would regard 2011 as the year that mass civil disobedience peaked across the world (as exemplified by the emergence of Occupy and the Arab Spring, or ‘The Protestor’ being named person of the year by Time magazine) Dr. Bailey’s calculations show that 2015 was in fact the year that public mobilisations in the UK hit a record high. It’s not hard to see why protest activity is on an ascending trajectory, especially in light of government policies that continue to redistribute wealth upwards to an affluent minority. As opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn pointed out in response to the current direction of policymaking in the UK, “[this government is] slashing public services, especially at local level, for those who rely on them for security and a decent life. It is driving the NHS and social care into crisis, while accelerating the privatisation and break up of our health and education services.”

Unsurprisingly, most of the protests reviewed in Dr. Bailey’s research were austerity-related and convened in response to concerns around pay and working conditions in the public sector, cuts to social services, the privatization of essential services or the lack of affordable housing. More recent catalysts include climate change and the refugee crisis – pressing international issues that remain wholly unresolved and likely to cause further mobilisations in the period ahead. Indeed, with continuing economic stagnation, more austerity measures and growing levels of hunger and poverty anticipated in the coming months, there is every reason to believe that the scale of public disaffection and dissent in the UK will continue to escalate in 2016 and beyond.

Rising protest as a global trend

The evidence from the UK tallies closely with the situation in other countries, as well as the general perception that social discontent is on the rise across the globe. A spate of studies and meta-analysis in recent years depict how large-scale citizen mobilisations have been intensifying for more than a decade, reaching a new peak in the past five years. According to the conclusion of an extensive study examining the complexities of global protests“The current surge of protests is more global than the wave that occurred during the late 1980s and early 1990s, reaches every region of the world, and affects the full range of political systems—authoritarian, semiauthoritarian, and democratic alike.”

But it’s not just the magnitude of protest that has been multiplying; the number of people engaged in public rallies is also rising. A study analysing 843 protests that occurred between 2006-13 in 87 countries concluded that 37 mobilisations attracted one million or more participants. For example, in 2013 around 100 million people marched against inequality and dire living standards in India, and 17 million citizens mobilised in Tahrir Square to oust Egypt’s President Morsi – possibly two of the largest demonstrations in history. Commentators also acknowledge the instrumental role that the internet and social media have played in engaging the population during Occupy-style campaigns, and that global communication networks have even facilitated the spread of protests across national borders. In terms of motivation, the evidence suggests that most protests take place in response to pressing socio-economic concerns, the violation of basic human rights or a lack of democratic governance. Put simply, the majority of protests constitute a demand for wealth and political power to be shared more equitably among citizens.

Skeptics might argue that citizen protests are unnecessarily disruptive and do more harm than good, or that they are ineffective at changing laws and regulations. However, the research demonstrates that this is not the case. Although some 63% of stipulations made by protestors between 2006-2013 were not met by their governments, many of these were for systemic reforms which can only be implemented progressively over time. Moreover, the influence that large-scale demonstrations have on public consciousness should not be underestimated – a point well-articulated in the film ‘We are Many’, which details how the anti-war marches that took place prior to the invasion of Iraq influenced Egyptian activists during the Arab Spring almost a decade later.

A new expression of democracy

It’s reasonable to conclude from a simple analysis of these trends that a revolutionary change is taking place in the global political landscape. As policymaking becomes increasingly subverted by powerful vested interests, the resulting democratic deficit is being filled by concerned citizens who are demanding that governments take heed of their collective demands. This signifies a fundamental shift in the relationship between citizens and the State, and heralds a new expression of democracy that is still in its infancy but already capable of shaping public opinion, influencing policy discussions and even toppling governments.

The peoples’ voice is likely to strengthen dramatically during 2016, especially in response to a deteriorating geopolitical, socio-economic and environmental situation that necessitates a far more effective form of intergovernmental cooperation than has yet been achieved. In response to this epochal challenge, perhaps citizens campaigning on separate issues or based in different countries will also begin to coalesce their activities more concretely around a common set of principles and global priorities, such as a united demand for governments to finally secure basic human rights universally. Without such expressions of international unity and solidarity among both policymakers and protesters, it is difficult to imagine how today’s converging crises can be addressed in a way that upholds the global common good.

The only certainty is that government ministers will invite further social unrest if they fail to act on the rising demand for real democracy and justice that is at the heart of the current wave of popular unrest. The way forward has long been clear to global activists and engaged citizens: curtail the power of elites and corporations, and ensure that governance systems truly serve the people and protect the biosphere. As a minimum – and in line with the growing demands of a disaffected majority – this necessitates a radical decentralisation of power and the redistribution of wealth and resources across the world as a whole.

Image Credit: Nathan Keirn, Wikipedia Commons

 

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Posted in Activism, Collective Intelligence, Commons, Commons Transition, Guest Post, P2P Action Items, P2P Development, P2P Movements | 1 Comment »

Decentralized Autonomous Organization as Social Automatization: do we need techno-cratic governance ?

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
3rd February 2016


The whole blockchain development is a very good example of ‘value-sensitive design’, i.e. how the material interests and visions / intentions of various human groups enter into design decisions. The underlying cyber-libertarianism is a composite of different sensibilities, all of which are competing for the design direction of our new technological systems.

The original Bitcoin/Blockchain design is very much beholden to the so-called anarcho-capitalist vision of propertied democracy, one dollar, one vote, and with an in-built system for rent-extraction, which it aims unsuccessfully to distribute. It rests on a underlying vision as society (if we can call it that), as consisting of un-related individuals freely going into smart contracts into each other. It favours individual decisions and avoids collective decision-making.

Another stream of thought was represented by the Backfeed Magazine article we excerpted two days ago, which explicitely calls for democratic decision-making and governance by peers, and which is much closer to the sensibility of the P2P Foundation.

But there is of course also a very strong undertone of techno-cracy, which is exemplified here by the same author, Julian Feder, which years for organizations that automatize social relations and exist independently of humans and their messy decision-making processes.

This is very well expressed in the following excerpt.

Julian Feder:

“The Idea of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization that truly isn’t controlled or owned by any particular individual isn’t only revolutionary on a political or social level. One is almost tempted to call it an ontological revolution, one that redefines the basic categories of what is objectively real and what is simulated.

Classic distributed organizations such as shared stock companies, nonprofits or cooperatives simulate distribution. Their existence depends on laws, terms and regulations – guarded and executed by armed men and women (mostly men) – which restrict the otherwise total control of the individuals in power.

In comparison, a DAO, once in place, is a self-existing entity that transcends time, space and the personal existence of specific individuals and their ability to use institutional force. It is in many ways something entirely new; one could call it a new form of social automatisation, solely made out of information.

The idea of an organization without the need for an headquarter, which exists almost outside of physical space and that cannot be captured or seized by any kind of military force, would have sounded almost religious just a few decades ago. The bewildering implications of this new potential form of human organization seem to a 20th century mindset almost as alien as the landing of a flying saucer on the lawn of the Whitehouse, albeit less photogenic.

It might sound pathologically optimistic, if not straight out insane, but this new ability we are developing – to create autonomous complexes made out of information that exist in some kind of digital hyperspace and that have the ability to execute themselves and self-regulate while abiding nowhere and everywhere at once, with no servers or strings attached, might not just revolutionize governance and modes of production, but might very well transform our very understanding of nature itself.

Why would one claim such venturesome preposterousness? Well, because in the few decades in which our information technologies developed from handwritten manuscripts to mass distributed copies of disembodied information, our universe expanded from a few dots encapsulated in transparent spheres to a mind boggling vastness reaching to the outer ends of infinity, that’s why. In the end, it was our ability to conduct an (almost) global dialog, which transcended the ingenuity of the particular individual that brought us the telescope, calculus and eventually a new and alien universe.

Furthermore, this new technology of Decentralized organizations, databases, applications, contracts and what have you, are not just a new tool for exploring the world. To a large degree they are a new territory of existence to explore: a dimension of autonomous information.

But then again, It might very well be too early to jump to specific conclusions. We wouldn’t expect a 16th century peasant to foresee late consumer capitalism and to understand what an employee of Goldman-Sachs does for a living – let alone contemplate on interstellar spaceflight. But luckily time seems to speed up as history progresses so hopefully it won’t be too long until we’ll be granted with a glimpse of a world to come.”

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Posted in P2P Collaboration, P2P Governance, P2P Hierarchy Theory, P2P Subjectivity | 2 Comments »