Essay: Can capitalism reform itself and move towards a p2p society?

P2P & INOVAÇÃO is a new journal linked Grupo de Pesquisa Economias colaborativas e produção P2P no Brasil (Collaborative  Economy and P2P Production in Brazil Research Group) from Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia (IBICT). The second volume has just been published and includes, amongst others, articles authored by P2P Foundation collaborators.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 09.31.03This week we introduce Jean Lievens’s essay titled “Can capitalism reform itself and move towards a p2p society?”


The first Dutch book on P2P “Save the World” by Michel Bauwens had a good reception in Flanders. Even for the critics, the emerging way of ‘getting things done’ through global cooperation on “what is light” and re-localisation of “what is heavy” is making a lot of sense and is indeed the way to go. In this article, we examine two criticisms of the book: the feasibility of an unconditional basic income within the present system and the possibility to move gradually to a P2P society without “overthrowing” capitalism.  Apart from the “low road” to peer-to-peer (after an economic collapse) and “the high road to peer-to-peer” (through neo-Keynesianism) a third way could open up, based on a reformed partner state facilitating peer production. Our conclusion is that under the present circumstances, with exponentially growing bottom-up initiatives, open source alternatives and the Internet as a new means of production, value creation and distribution, past failed experiences of ‘socialism in one country’ could today have more chances of succeeding on condition that a progressive government arms itself with a commons transitional plan. Such a transitional government would undoubtedly face many difficulties, but it would at least open the horizon for a better future. And it would certainly enjoy a wave of solidarity throughout the world.

More can be found here.

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