Michel Bauwens: In the P2P Foundation report, ‘Value in the Commons Economy, we describe and propose ‘tranvestment‘ strategies, which is a process where capital is transferred from one mode of production, for example, private capital used for capital accumulation, is used instead for expanding the commons and creating livelihoods for commoners, on their own terms, not the terms of capital.
This is derived from original proposals by the Telekommunisten group, where entities capable of doing transvestment are called ‘Venture Communes’.
The following short text and audio lecture explain the background to this idea and practice.
A key idea is a new kind of institution — the “venture commune” — an association of co-operatives that is the sole owner of all the assets of all constituent worker-owned firms.
All land, buildings, capital etc. are rented by the co-ops from the venture commune. All members of co-ops are automatically members of the commune. Hence, the means of production are communally owned.
In theory this institution solves the problem of the highly unequal distribution of capital between worker-owned firms in a market economy.
In addition, the venture commune democratically allocates funds to new worker-owned start-ups. The idea here is that the institutions of the venture commune will compete with the institutions of venture capitalism, and eventually crowd-out the latter.
I gave a half-hour talk on Dymtri’s ideas in Oxford, UK, which provides more details. You can listen to the audio here:
In that talk I refer to the input/output relations of the venture commune with the surrounding capitalist sector. This diagram summarises the main monetary flows:
Venture communism is precisely the kind of institutional proposal that satisfies the requirement of a political economy of socialism that is immediately a new kind of political practice. For me, it is an highly instructive reference and starting point.