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Discovering The User As Value Creator And The Emergence Of A User-Centric Ecosystem

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chris pinchen
17th October 2012


This month we are serialising the report “Synthetic overview of the collaborative economy”, coproduced by Orange Labs and the P2P Foundation. Today we post Chapter 2: Discovering The User As ValueCreator And The Emergence Of A User-Centric Ecosystem.  And don’t forget the “Ask Me Anything” session with Michel Bauwens over on reddit. (Of course if you can’t wait you can download the full report here). All posts on the report can be found here.

Synthetic Overview of the Collaborative Economy: Chapter 2: Discovering The User As Value Creator And The E…

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3 Responses to “Discovering The User As Value Creator And The Emergence Of A User-Centric Ecosystem”

  1. Poor Richard Says:

    “See also Clay Shirky’s examination of the surplus time available to productive and networked publics,in his concept (and book) on the so-called Cognitive Surplus.”

    Everybody with surplus time or cognitive surplus, please raise your hands. OK, Shirkey, you can put your hand down…

    I generally agree with most of the observations about openness and collective productivity in this chapter, but I’m not so enthusiastic about depending on intrinsic motivation to produce value, especially when that value is enclosed (owned, data-mined, commercialized, monetized, and finacialized) by the already wealthy.

    100 million monkeys creating content on keyboards without so much as a peanut in remuneration is not my idea of real, sustainable abundance. It seems more like a bubble of some kind.

    Facebook and IBM take all the revenue developed from freely contributed content and free software to the bank. None of it trickles down to the creators. The revenue is a huge positive externality captured by those once again who don’t do an honest day’s productive work but live off the labor of others. There is an extreme dis-equity in this. Are we just so used to this kind of rip-off that it seems like the natural (or divine) order?

    Poor Richard

  2. Poor Richard Says:

    Why no serious discussion of how to distribute revenues derived from free software, free culture, and other forms of volunteerism equitably to those who do the work? All I’ve heard so far in P2P discourse is the suggestion to give the free-content-creating monkeys some kind of national dividend, stipend, or basic income. I say give them real shares (ownership) in the vinyards and cast out the parasitic rentiers like Facebook and IBM!!! Then workers will have a sense of earning their livings nobly and will have less need for social hand-outs.

    My impression is that most (not all) of the discussion here is unqualified anti-enclosure, anti-copyright, anti-market, etc. which does not address the distribution of derivative revenues to the workers. And on the P2PF Wiki there is no page on revenue distribution but there is a page on revenue sharing. About half of that page holds arguments AGAINST revenue sharing in “non-reciprocal peer production”, with which I strongly disagree. I am also at a loss to understand the virtue of non-reciprocity in any economic model. In my book reciprocity = fair play.” For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” (1 Timothy 5:18)

    “Distributions” based on acknowledgment, effort, value, etc. is responsive to the internal motivations of volunteers, but NONETHLESS I see a very real moral hazard in the failure to distribute revenues backwards, down the supply chain (including labor) regardless of whether potential distributions of revenue were any part of the original motivation for work. We must not give the corpRats free rides on the backs of volunteer labor because then they will grow to believe they are in charge, when in fact they are the hired help. It is they who are disposable. And secondly, internally motivated voluntarism is fine and dandy, highly commendable, spiritually satisfying, etc., but the worker must be taught that s/he is worthy of an equity position and a cash dividend whether they know it or not and whether they want it or not. Its like a parent saying to a child, you can play your video game but you must eat your mush.

    Poor Richard

  3. Karl Says:

    Poor Richard,

    [Me raises hand]
    I have surplus time and my cognitive surplus resides in some of the 7 billion other humans who are willing to share it.

    I didn’t read the document presented here, and I don’t really understand Michel’s “non-reciprocal peer production” idea (which admittedly sounds strange), so I’ll only respond about monetary remuneration.

    My position is that this sort of human control mechanism is unhelpful. Mindful production is that done for the sake of production. When you find yourself dependent on the derivatives of production you are subject to economic instability. If we need 10 widgets, we shouldn’t wastefully produce 100 with the expectation of earning a first-order derivative of monetary profit. This behavior leads to the anti-economic system we have today where the moral hazard lies in confusing the money abstraction with actual human needs.

    The equity position of people who produce free software is in having a larger commons of free software. The equity position of farmers working on a community farm is having a more productive farm. Why is anything else needed?

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