Paul Mason: the P2P Movement has paid insufficient attention to the state

This excerpt, chosen and provided to us by Nathan Cravens, is from Paul Mason’s latest book on PostCapitalism:

“At present, the community of thinkers and activists around the peer-to-peer movement are heavily focused on experimental, small-scale projects – credit unions or co-ops, for example. When they think about the state, it is at the level of laws to protect and extend the peer-to-peer sector. With the exception of thinkers such as Michel Bauwens and McKenzie Wark, few have bothered to ask what a whole new system of governance and regulation might look like in this new mode of production.

In response, we should broaden our thinking so that solutions can be found through a mixture of small-scale experiment, proven models that can be scaled up and top-down action by states.

So if the solution in finance is to create a diverse, socialized banking system, then setting up a credit union attacks the problem from one direction, outlawing certain forms of speculation attacks it from another, while changing our own financial behaviour attacks it from still another angle.

In postcapitalism, the state has to act more like the staff of Wikipedia: to nurture the new economic forms to the point where they take off and operate organically.

For twenty-five years, the public sector has been forced to outsource and break itself into pieces; now would come the turn of monopolies such as Apple and Google. Where it’s dysfunctional to break up a monopoly – as for example with an aircraft manufacturer or a water company – the solution advocated by Rudolf Hilferding 100 years ago would suffice: public ownership.”

1 Comment Paul Mason: the P2P Movement has paid insufficient attention to the state

  1. AvatarMatthew Slater

    Philosophies such as communism seem to answer the question ‘how can state power be used for good’, but many in the p2p movement might see this as a naive question, especially with what we know now about the deep state, and its elected corporate managers.

    Perhaps the p2p movement has nothing to say to the state. The very idea of p2p implies to me self organisation, and the obviation of the state. Much as we might like the power of taxation to pay for p2p coordination services, we might more fruitfully put our attention onto more realistic prospects.

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