Preface from the forthcoming book “Network Society and Future Scenarios for a Collaborative Economy” co-authored by Vasilis Kostakis and Michel Bauwens. The scholarly book will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in September 2014. This is a working draft on which we invite everybody to read and comment.
The aim of this book is not to provide another critique of capitalism; rather to contribute to the ongoing dialogue for post-capitalist construction and discuss how another world could be possible. We build on the idea that the peer-to-peer infrastructures are gradually becoming the general conditions of work, economy and society, considering peer production as a social advancement within capitalism but with various post-capitalistic aspects in need of protection, enforcement, stimulation and connection with progressive social movements. Using a four-scenario approach we attempt to simplify possible outcomes and explore relevant trajectories of the current techno-economic paradigm within and beyond capitalism. The first part of the book begins with an introduction (chapters 1 and 2) of the techno-economic paradigm shifts theory which sees capitalism as a creative destruction process. Such a dynamic, innovation-based understanding of economic and societal development arguably allows for an integral bird’s-eye-view of future scenarios (chapter 3) within and beyond the dominant system. Sharing the conviction that the globalized economy is at a critical turning point, we describe the four future scenarios; namely, netarchical capitalism, distributed capitalism, resilient communities and global Commons. Netarchical and distributed capitalism (chapters 4 and 5) are parts of the wider value mode of cognitive capitalism and form, what we call, the mixed model of neo-feudal cognitive capitalism (chapter 6). On the other, the resilient communities (chapter 7) and the global Commons (chapter 8) reside in the hypothetical model of mature peer production under civic dominance. We postulate that the mature peer production communities pose a sustainable alternative to the capital accumulation, that of the circulation of the Commons. Hence, we make tentative transition proposals for the state, the market and the civic domain towards a Commons-based economy and society (chapter 9). Finally, we conclude with remarks and suggestions for future action.