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Deep Democracy, Peer-to-Peer Production and Our Common Futures

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
20th January 2013


* Paper: Deep democracy, peer-to-peer production and our common futures. Jose Ramos. Futura, 2012.

Jose Ramos presents his new essay on the future of democracy in a p2p context:

“Earlier this year Dr. Vuokko Jarva, a futures scholar who works on consumer education to promote future consciousness and planetary responsibility and is developing new narrative approaches in futures studies, invited me to write an essay for the Finnish journal Futura (a publication of the Finnish Society for Futures Studies). The special edition of the journal was concerned with what in Finland is termed “close democracy”. From what I understand from Vuokko, this is not quite what is termed in English “participatory democracy”, it is more hands on, more involved, more peer to peer. I get the feeling that the Fins are way ahead of everyone else in pioneering democratic avenues of expression.

For my contribution, I decided to explore the connection between participatory democracy, peer production, the global movement for change and the commons. As it was exploratory and building the relationships between elements, it was more about understanding the connections in the emerging landscape of counter-hegemonic change. The essay is titled “Deep democracy, peer-to-peer production and our common futures / Syvädemokratia, vertaistuotanto ja yhteiset tulevaisuutemmemore“.”

Here is a general introduction to the themes:

In this essay I discuss an emerging perspective in the counter-hegemonic project to create social and ecological justice from the local to the global. This perspective is based on the idea that social innovators, connected within collaborative networks of social change, are the pre-figurative elements for a new type of social system to cohere and emerge. These collaborative networks are seed-beds of change and transformation, and are the foundations for emerging global movement(s) and projects for change. They are networks of people creating social alternatives, some already embodied in practices and enacted and others imagined and articulated. They have been most visible through the hundreds of social forums and the recent citizen uprisings held around the world, described by Paul Hawken as the greatest movement ever seen (Hawken, 2007). They are made up of a complex myriad of groups, networks, organizations, communities and movements, with diverse political and social views, that come together in the common struggle against political-economic corruption, and for social and ecological sustainment (Ramos, 2010). Paul Raskin (2006) considers these collaborative networks to be the foundation for building a pluralistic global citizen movement for the 21st century.

From the intro:

At first it was just a trickle, and then a torrent. At first a few experimented with carving our social life outside the dominant industrial system. But as the system began to capsize on the rocks of ecological and social ruin, it became an exodus. Necessity was the mother of invention, and people began to find their power by co-creating new ways of being and living, relating and transacting. People became new producers in an ecosystem of collaboration: cultural, political and economic. People began to join this new movement and create and demand the innovation of a multitude of deeply democratic social processes and institutions for the protection and production of the commons. Another World is Possible was no longer a slogan, but increasingly created in our life worlds, from the personal to the political.”

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