The Emergence of Peerist Synergism

by Layne Hartsell

There are any number of areas where emergence is occurring such as in nanotechnology, micromanufacturing (not to be confused with molecular manufacturing which is about 15 years away), economics, politics, and thus the term emergence takes on near metaphysical force, though I do not intend something on the order of the dialectical materialism which Bertrand Russell put to rest in his essay by the same name.

Here I want to add that I think what is emerging in the current or near future time, which is a peerist synergism which comes right out of P2P and the hackers of the 1980s and 1990s, and the tremendous development in information-communication technologies and then the 3D printers which were proprietary at the time. The astounding achievement of hacker communities was to make horizontal knowledge systems emergent due to connectivity, open design, open hardware and on up to the present more sophisticated forms such as Arduino, the Maker Movement, Occupy, and Wikispeed. These were peerist systems almost completely outside of the official system and have developed to include three major points: free association or the honor of human liberty, peer review which maintains excellence, and commons-based peer production particularly in micromanufacturing, design, knowledge, and code.
The combination of vertical knowledge systems, or what are recognized as professional expert systems and horizontal hacker knowledge systems (which I also call expert), is leading, I think to peerist synergistic structures guided out of Michel Bauwen’s work on theory and pluralistic productive systems and then that of Primavera di Fillipi on next generation blockchains and commons based peer production. I use the term combination above because these systems are not yet integrated or integral, such as what theorists like David Long or Frank Visser might agree with. These emergent aspects of civil society are allowing a wider expanse from the general political work of the past to the deeper productive capacity facilitated by ICT. Until this point in history, civil society has not had much of a productive capacity. Bauwen’s 2005 paper on the Political Economy of Peer Production was an observation of the early phenomenon. The next step, I believe, is the necessity for globalized, federated productive communities in the form of commons-based peer production in order for the actual emergence of peerist synergism to reach a threshold or momentum to integrate the entire system which is literally being built daily in all areas of the globe and within the current system.

The argument: Therefore, here is a major, potential bridge between the Global North and Global South as matter of Global Justice.


Photo ref.: from the website of educator Debi Keyte-Hartland, Digital Aesthetics

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