Reblogged from the Transitioner. After explaining why the Internet is a “phronesis engine” (see the same entry), the author makes a number of propositions regarding the future of our economy, with a focus on the mode of ownership:
For related ideas, see our entry on Peer Property.
“Proposition: Economic revolutions occur when aspects of production are sufficiently amplified by cognitive technologies that new economic patterns of production come into being. Example: the printing press provided the intellectual infrastructure (a culture of epistome) for the expansion of the simple tools of production during the industrial revolution into what is called Capital in the classical economic sense.
Proposition: There is a new economic revolution under way, the Process Revolution, that is the result of the amplification of information and information processing by the cognitive technology of the Internet, and which is similarly bringing new economic patterns of production into being. These patterns are a new economic factor that can be called Information (capital I), which is defined (analogously to Capital) as the data plus the patterns and processes that use that data to organize production.
Proposition: New economic factors produce competing political systems that are answers to the question: who should own the new economic factor. Example: In the industrial revolution the question was: who should own Capital and the products produced by Capital. Communism proposes common ownership in the form of the State, and Capitalism proposes ownership by individuals.
Proposition: The new economic factor of Information is likewise producing competing approaches to answer who should own it. “Ownerism” which proposes the same answer as Capitalism (ownership by individuals, natural or corporate), and “Commonism” which proposes that its ownership be held in the commons (not by the State).
Proposition: Capitalism won out against Communism for three fundamental philosophical and systemic reasons:
1. Capitalism was better at recognizing and building on individual dignity and potential.
2. Capitalism is essentially decentralist because it pushes the intelligence out to the edges (see David Reed & Andrew Lippman’s paper on Viral Communicationexternal link for details on this idea) where local information can be used to maximum advantage in decision making.
3. Capitalism works with, not against people’s natural self-interest.
Conjecture: Commonism will win out over Ownerism because it shares with Capitalism the same first two properties as well as another property which is analogous to the third, namely that Commonism works with Information’s natural abundance and it’s tendency to flow everywhere, whereas Ownerism has to fight tooth and nail to keep it scarce and from getting out.