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Three Competing Societal and Economic Models in the Age of Peer Production

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
6th October 2013


A summary of my p2p ideas, written on September 21, 2013, in Quito.

This is a draft which I am continuing to update here.

I distinguish Three Models of Value Creation, Redistribution and Economic Development, with the following characteristics:

1. Under conditions of proprietary capitalism

* Workers create value in their private capacity as providers of labour

* Deskilling of workers production knowledge; creation of managerial and engineering layers which manage collective production on behalf of the owners of capital

* Codified knowledge is proprietary and the value is captured as IP rent

* Owners of capital capture and realize the market value, partial redistribution in the form of wages

* Under conditions of capital-labour balance, the state redistributes wealth to the workers as consumers and citizens

* Under contemporary conditions of labour weakness, the state redistributes the wealth to the financial sector and creates conditions of debt dependence for the majority of the population

2. Under conditions of emerging peer production under the domination of financial capitalism

* Civic voluntary contributors, paid labour and independent enterpreneurs create value codified in common pools of knowledge, code, and design

* Capital owners realize and capture the market value of both contributors and labour; proprietary network and collaboration platforms capture and realize the attention value of the sharers/contributors

* Capital owners profit from the benefits of disaggregated distributed labour (crowdsoursing)
Capital co-create through the financing of labour and platforms, the continued accumulation of common pools of knowledge, code and design ; under conditions of precarity for the voluntary civic contributors and unsupported commons-oriented enterpreneurship

* Commons are managed by for-benefit institutions which reflect the balance of influence between contributors, labour, and capital owners, but continue to expand the common pools; the commons sector lacks solidarity mechanims to cope with precarity; civil society is still derivate to the market and state sectors

* The state weakens its public service and solidarity functions, in favour of its repressive functions and subsidizes financial capital ; the state only minimally co-creates the conditions for commons-oriented peer production, and redistribution to financial capital continues

3. Under conditions of strong peer production under civic dominance

* Civic voluntary contributors and autonomous cooperative labour create codified value through common pools ; labour and civic reskilling occur through commons-oriented distributed manufacturing which places value creators at the helm of distributed manufacturing and other forms of value creation

* Commons contributors create cooperative commons-oriented market entities that sustain the commons and their communities of contributors

* Cooperative and other commons-friendly market entities co-create common pools but engage in the cooperative accumulation on behalf of their members; commons contributions are codified in their legal and governance structures; Enterpreneurial coalitions and phyles (structured networks of firms working around joint common pools to sustain commons-producing communities) .

* Societal mutual coordination of production through open supply chains direct the market activities

* The commons-enabling for-benetif institutions become a core civic form for the governance of common pools; the associated market entities create solidarity mechanisma and income for the peer producers and commoners, supported by the partner state

* The state, dominated by the civic/commons sectors becomes a Partner State, which creates and sustains the civic infrastructure necessary to enable and empower autonomous social production

* The market becomes a moral and ethical economy, oriented around commons production and mutual coordination, supported by the Partner State functions

* The market sector is dominated by cooperative, commons-oriented legal, governance, and ownership forms; the remaining profit-maximizing entities are reformed to respect environmental and social externalities, including redistribution of extracted ‘commons-benefits’

* Governance mechanisms are reformed towards commons-orientation and multistakeholder governance models; ownership models are reformed from extractive to generative models

* The Partner State model renews public service provision, solidarity mechanisms and social care through the commonification of public services and public-commons partnerships

* Social redistribution takes place through basic income provisions and reduction of necessary labour participation to create conditions for civic contributions and a contributory economy

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3 Responses to “Three Competing Societal and Economic Models in the Age of Peer Production”

  1. David de Ugarte Says:

    Great synthesis! And a great start point for a wider discussion!

  2. john hartley Says:

    Would be great to try and overwrite with a patchwork of partial case studies that illustrate each of these comparisons. Clearly the third case would have many more gaps than other cases since it is the least realised…

  3. Michel Bauwens Says:

    as soon as I have time

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