The 10 Most Important P2P Trends of the Year

Below, I’m focusing on trends in business and politics. WHAT DID I FORGET? Thanks for adding further suggestions to our comment field. What has been important in 2009, that is not reflected here?

Shareable has an excellent list of important trends related to the creation of a sharing economy and civilization as well.


1. The consolidation of open and distributed manufacturing as a real alternative, though presently operating at the margins of the economy

The new model of manufacturing, based on collaborative platforms, shared designs, and distributed (relocalized) manufacturing, has definitely emerged as a practical alternative, even though it is now operating at the margins of the current system, though it’s illegal variants, such as the Shanzai system, are very important to the Chinese economy.

Examples: Arduino, 100Kgarages, Open Source Ecology, eCars, the Maker movement

2. The emergence of Social Business Design for corporate adaptation

Hierarchies must adapt to networks, as civil society networks are now becoming more productive. The emergent discipline of social business design, organizing businesses in network modes, is the strategic path for obtaining such deep structural and behavioural changes.

Key individuals: Lee Bryant, Peter Kim; Key examples: Gartner’s Pattern-Based Strategy, the Headshift consultancy, the Dachis Group

3. New spaces for work and cooperation

Co-working, hackerspaces, hubs … major cities now feature spaces where people can work together in purpose-driven spaces, without having to belong to the same business organization.

4. Purpose-driven organizational formats and ownership models

The Friedmanite shareholder corporation is toxic to the world and a threat to our very survival. Tons of work and initiatives are emerging to develop organizational and business forms that are at the same time sustainable, more democratic, and make the world a better place. This is related to a broader thrust towards ‘good capitalism’, i.e. social entrepreneurship, fair trade

Key individuals: Umair Haque, Marjory Kelly’s Corporation 20/20, Chris Cook’s Open Capital

5. Consolidation of the Social ‘local grassroots’ and Sharing Economy (which includes new currencies and a revival of urban cooperative farming in western countries)

Whether it is called the social economy, the solidarity economy, slow money, there is a consolidation of a grassroots economy taking place, involving a revival of cooperatives, and many other formats. Reform of the dysfunctional monetary system is now a general part of alternative discourse and many local initiatives are being tried out

Milestones: the publication of Thomas Greco’s book on mutual credit; the launch of Shareable magazine; the Bay Area JASecon network; Velib in Paris, and the growth of ridesharing companies


6. The emergence of the commons as a policy platform

With signs such as Elinor Ostrom’s Nobel Prize, the creation of a commons lobby in the UN, gatherings such as the Crottorf Commons Consultations and a slew of commons oriented manifesto’s and book, state and business are no longer the sole polarities for policy solutions.

Key Individuals: James Quilligan, David Bollier, Silke Helfrich

7. The awakening of Andean Latin America and its native peoples, and their cooperative economic arrangements

Bolivia, Ecuador, but also Venezuela and Brazil: something important is brewing especially in the northern and central parts of Latin America, which partly involves a revival of social-democratic (Brazil) and socialist policies (Venezuela, Bolivia), associated to a coming into power of native peoples movement that refuse to give up their spiritual value systems, and lots of grassroots activities.

8. The election of Pirate Party MEP’s

The election of two Swedish PP parliamentarians in the European Parliament is a milestone for a new type of politics that was born with digital empowerment and the attempts to suppress it.

9. A breakthrough year for open movements

Whether it’s the P2P Foundation or many of our brother, sister, or ‘cousin’ organizations, all of us feel that 2009 was a breakthrough year in terms of growing attention and recognition. We’re still small, but we’re on the map.


10. Open access to science, education, government

I don’t think there is any doubt that there have been great strides forward for open access publishing, open access to government data, and other, multiple initiatives towards more transparency and participation. The new social demands are exerting pressure on institutions, and getting results.

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