A recent article on a Society of the Commons co-authored by Michel Bauwens, Vasilis Kostakis, Alex Pazaitis.

“For much of the history of industrial and post-industrial capitalism, political conflict has been between state and market: either to use state mechanisms for the regulation and redistribution of the excesses of market players, or, conversely, to re-privatise activities towards market players. This has been called by some the “lib” (for liberal) versus the “lab” (for labour and its derivative social movements) pendulum. In our current political economy, the latter has been discarded as a historical legacy without future.

Indeed, the remaining physical commons (e.g. land, water resources, minerals, airwaves, public infrastructures, etc.) that exist globally are under threat and enclosure. At the same time, the re-emergence of digital commons of knowledge, software and design celebrate human collaboration and recreate commons-oriented modes of production and market activities around it.

In these new systems, value is created through contributions and not labour per se, with the output being commons, not commodities. During the last two decades, several commons-oriented projects, such as myriad of free/ open source software projects (FOSS) or the free encyclopedia Wikipedia, have highlighted the emergence of technological capabilities shaped by human factors, which in turn shape the physical environment under which humans live and work.

From this new, communicational and interconnected environment, a new mode of information production has emerged, called commons-based peer production, which is based on distributed, collaborative forms of organization. Ultimately, the potential of the new mode is to emancipate itself from dependency on the old, decaying mode, so as to become self-sustaining and thus replace the accumulation of capital with the circulation of the commons. In an independent circulation of the commons, the common use value would directly contribute to the further strengthening of the commons and of the commoners’ own sustainability, without dependence on capital. How could this be achieved?”

This essay explores a potential course of such a transition – Read the article here.

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