In my PhD Thesis The Political Economy of Information Production in the Social Web: Towards a “Partner State Approach” (soon to be published), amongst others, I try to provide a first, tentative definition of the concept of Partner State, walking on Bauwens’ thought. The understanding of the Partner State – around which it is attempted (by not neglecting the ambivalent context within information Commons flourish) to systematise the conclusions of the investigation of the political economy of Commons-based peer production – can be summarised as following:
The Partner State Approach (PSA) is a cluster of policies and ideas whose fundamental mission is to enable and empower direct social value creation by user communities, and to focus on the protection of the Commons sphere (both physical and information) as well as on the promotion of sustainable models of entrepreneurship and participatory politics. While people continue to enrich and expand the information Commons, building an alternative political economy within the capitalist one, by adopting a PSA the state becomes an arbiter, retreating from the binary state/privatisation dilemma to the triarchical choice of an optimal mix amongst government regulation, private market freedom, and autonomous civil society projects. (Bauwens 2010) Thus, the role of the state evolves from the post-World War II welfare state model, which could arguably be considered a historical compromise between the social movements for human emancipation and capitalist interests, to the Partner State one, which embraces win-win sustainable models for both civil society and market.