A paragraph from a draft paper of mine titled “After the crisis: Towards a new social contract” for an April 2010 conference at Tallinn University of Technology:
Has Leviathan been open-sourced?
One can articulate that all this relatively new theoretical universe successfully replaces Levathian with open source, collaborative production models, which motivate and elevate human creativity (and simultaneously are motivated and elevated by it). On the one hand, it is true that peer projects such as FLOSS or Wikipedia; the dynamics of the Open Access movement; and new legal concepts such as the Creative Commons and General Public License demonstrate that there is a wide range of human motivation beyond monetary rewarding, which lead to and is lead by a subjectivity different to the industrial one.
On the other hand, historical contingency warns us for a new, evolvent (sometimes even “worse”) Levathian: are those open source, collaborative initiatives creating an alternative so to replace Levathian, or actually are they creating their own Levathian, their own absolute sovereign? For sure no one can tell the future; however, assumptions can be made. What this essay suggests is that the “technological shock” activates forces, dynamics and motives of the human nature which for, at least the mainstream economic thought, remained unobserved. The subsequent overstating about a “brand new world” creates a hype, a phenomenon that characterises human nature, and in the shade of that many threats and dangers may be ignored.
Concluding, the civil society could be lead by a peer Leviathan, i.e. a partner state which promotes, controls and supports the co-existence of intelligent markets and peer production initiatives, by taking into consideration their effectiveness as well as their positive and negative externalities. Wherever civil society can directly create value, the partner state (the contours of the framework, in which a state like that would function, have already mentioned in a previous paragraph) should sustain the processes and be the curator of the Commons sphere; not only by stopping enclosures, but also by triggering peer production efforts, as, especially in the immaterial field, the latter prove to be more efficient and sustainable.