From Exchange to Contributions - Generalizing Peer Production into the Physical World
Christian Siefkes
Business & Money
From Exchange to Contributions - Generalizing Peer Production into the Physical World

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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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
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
Mathematical Details of the Auctioning Models
Task Auctioning
Product Auctioning
Resource Auctioning
Virtual Effort
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