Peter Jones recently asked us for a list of our ten most representative articles to help others who wanted to come up to speed on the subject. The list was put together by Vasilis Kostakis, Vasilis Niaros, Stacco Troncoso and myself. Rather than ten articles, we came up with ten general categories, which then feature one or two representative articles. Enjoy!
Item 1: The Political Economy of Peer Production
This is the essay which led to the creation of the P2P Foundation and the elaboration of ‘p2p theory’. This first essay appeared in CTheory and explains the basis of our understanding of the importance of the peer to peer dynamic in our society, and how it both within and outside of capitalism:
The Political Economy of Peer Production. CTheory, October 2, 2006. Retrieved from http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=499 Re-published Post-Autistic Economics Review, issue 37.
(other version at: http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue37/Bauwens37.htm )
Item 2: A primer on P2P and the Commons
Written and arranged in 2016, this longer brochure is aimed at explaining all the basic elements of our approach, with explanatory illustrations and graphics:
Item 3: The Practices of P2P
The P2P approach aims to be a ‘low theory’, i.e. it aims to understand and generalize ideas that stem from the real practices of the peer to peer -driven communities. Here we identify ten ‘seed forms’, that we think we be part of our co-constructed post-capitalist future.
Item 4: What Needs to happen with capital and with the market ?
Two movements mesh cooperative traditions with the digital revolution: Platform Cooperativism, and Open Cooperativism. How do they relate?
Can we transform the renting economy of Uber and AirBnB into a genuine sharing one? Platform cooperatives must become open and commons-oriented.
Item 5: How do we fund the transition, i.e. using capital for the commons
This is a bit longer, but contains our fundamental vision of a shift in value regime and on getting ‘value sovereignty for the commons, while using open and contributive accounting to account for all contributions; as well as ‘transvestment’ techniques to transform external financing from capital and state sources, to actual expansion of the commons while creating fair livelihoods for the commoners.
Item 6: P2P Politics and the transformation of the state form
In this article, we focus on the simultaneous transformation of state, market and civil society , but with special attention to the concept and practices of an enabling state which supports autonomous commons-based initiatives: the Partner-State The Partner State is a concept where public authorities assist in the direct creation of value by civil society, and promote commons-based Peer Production.
(A more elaborate version in a peer-reviewed journal is here at http://peerproduction.net/issues/issue-7-policies-for-the-commons/peer-reviewed-papers/towards-a-new-reconfiguration-among-the-state-civil-society-and-the-market/ )
Can Commons and P2P practices offer viable solutions for our present and future social, political and ecological crises? This is the story of how it’s done in a time when the old is dying but the new is not fully born.
Item 7: The mechanics of the transition
Other authors who recently turned to the commons such as Jeremy Rifkin, Paul Mason, and George Monbiot, are not always very precise about how the transition can occur. A short attempt to explain after reading Rifkin’s book.
Item 8: What about values and spirituality ?
The Next Buddha Will Be a Collective: Spiritual Expression in the Peer-to-Peer Era. ReVision: A Journal of Consciousness and Transformation Issue: Volume 29, Number 4 / Spring 2007 Pages: 34 – 45. Draft version retrievable via
The Reality Sandwich version of the above text is shorter and more accessible (long version here ). This short article deals with many of the same themes: If we can have P2P economics why not P2P Spirituality?
Item 9: Introducing Cosmo-local production
An article at The Conversation, by Vasilis Kostakis and Jose Ramos. This article introduces a new mode of production, where the design is developed as a global commons and the manufacturing takes place locally, through shared infrastructures and with local biophysical conditions in mind.
This article aims to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on post-capitalist construction by exploring the contours of a commons-oriented productive model. On the basis of this model called “design global-manufacture local”, we argue that recent techno-economic developments around the emergence of commons-based peer production and desktop
Item 10: Living within ecological limits, in our cities and bioregions
One of our 3 strategic priorities has been the open source circular economy and our detailed studies of the ecological impacts of cosmo-local production methods.
But this new report does two more things:
1) first of all, it grounds our approach in biophysical economics, the only real economics, as we cannot have an economics that is in permanent overshoot vis a vis our planet’s regenerative capacities
2) second, it establishes the crucial historic and present link between the development of commons-based provisioning systems as the very key strategy to radically diminish the human footprint of our societies
Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Niaros were asked to conduct a research project to identify urban commons project, convey the wishes of leading contributors and creators of these projects, and suggest a longer-term institutional design for cooperation between the public sector and the commons.
This is the english Executive Summary of the report, which contains a number of graphics on public-commons partnership approaches.
A fuller treatment on urban commons-based transitions is available in a new report published for the Boll Foundation:
The emerging discussion about the sustainability potential of distributed production is the starting point for this paper. The focus is on the “design global, manufacture local” model. This model builds on the conjunction of the digital commons of knowledge and design with desktop and benchtop manufacturing technologies (from three-dimensional printers and laser cutters to low-tech tools and crafts). Two case studies are presented to illustrate three interlocked practices of this model for degrowth. It is argued that a “design global, manufacture local” model, as exemplified by these case studies, seems to arise in a significantly different political economy from that of the conventional industrial model of mass production. “Design global, manufacture local” may be seen as a platform to bridge digital and knowledge commons with existing physical infrastructures and degrowth communities, in order to achieve distributed modes of collaborative production.