From Exchange to Contributions - Generalizing Peer Production into the Physical World

From Exchange to Contributions - Generalizing Peer Production into the Physical World

By Christian Siefkes
Book Description

A new mode of production has emerged in the areas of software and content production. This mode, which is based on sharing and cooperation, has spawned whole mature operating systems such as GNU/Linux as well as innumerable other free software applications; giant knowledge bases such as the Wikipedia; a large free culture movement; and a new, wholly decentralized medium for spreading, analyzing and discussing news and knowledge, the so-called blogosphere.

So far, this new mode of production—peer production—has been limited to certain niches of production, such as information goods. This book discusses whether this limitation is necessary or whether the potential of peer production extends farther. In other words: Is a society possible in which peer production is the primary mode of production? If so, how could such a society be organized?

Is a society possible where production is driven by demand and not by profit? Where there is no need to sell anything and hence no unemployment? Where competition is more a game than a struggle for survival? Where there is no distinction between people with capital and those without? A society where it would be silly to keep your ideas and knowledge secret instead of sharing them; and where scarcity is no longer a precondition of economic success, but a problem to be worked around?

It is, and this book describes how.

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Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Elements of Peer Production
    • Commons, Sharing, and Control over the Means of Production
    • Free Cooperation
    • From Status to Reputation
  • Problems to Solve for Generalization
    • How to Coordinate the Producer Side with the Consumer Side?
    • How to Allocate Limited Resources and Goods?
  • Organizing Shared Production
    • How to Find Others for Cooperation
    • How to Obtain Contributions
    • How to Ensure That Tasks Are Handled
    • How to Assign Results of a Project
  • Fitting It All Together: A Peer Economy
    • Society as a Big Project or a Multitude of Projects
    • Sharing Effort Between Projects: Distribution Pools
    • Organizing Infrastructure and Public Services: Local Associations
    • Coordinating Production: Prosumer Associations
    • Resource Allocation
    • Decision Making
  • Comparison with Other Modes of Production
    • Differences from a Market Economy
    • Differences from a Planned Economy
  • Aspects of Life in a Peer Economy
    • Forms of Democratic Decision Making in Local Associations
    • Stakeholder Involvement and Conflict Resolution
    • Education and Learning
    • Creative Works and Other Freely Sharable Goods
    • Styles of Production
  • Concerns
    • How to Handle Contributions?
    • How to Handle Effort?
    • What About Migration?
    • Won't There Be Need for Further Laws and Standards?
    • Won't Such a Society Revert to a Market Economy?
    • Aren't There Many Variants to the Proposed Model?
  • Conclusion: The Development of a Peer Economy
  • Bibliography
  • Mathematical Details of the Auctioning Models
    • Task Auctioning
    • Product Auctioning
    • Resource Auctioning
    • Virtual Effort
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