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The Peer Economy
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.
From Exchange to Contributions: Generalizing Peer Production into the Physical World.
Edition C. Siefkes, Berlin, 2007. ISBN 978-3-940736-00-0.
The text can be modified and shared under the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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- Complete text in original format (155 pages, PDF)
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Texts and Ressources
A short text explaining the philosophy and basic ideas of the approach:
- Christian Siefkes: The Commons of the Future: Building Blocks for a Commons-based Society (PDF, 2009). This text was published in the Commoner magazine. License: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.
A longer series of five blog articles on Material Peer Production (written by Christian Siefkes) explains the core concepts of the Peerconomy model in more detail:
- Part 0: Traits of Peer Production
- Part 1: Effort Sharing
- Part 2: Free Cooperation
- Part 3: Commons and Possession
- Part 4: What Difference Does It Make?
Talks given by Christian Siefkes:
- Hiddinghausen talks (2008): see Events.
- Peer Production Everywhere: Thoughts About a Society Based on Commons and Peer Production—And How to Get There: talk given at the Fourth Oekonux Conference (27–29 March 2009). Slides are in HTML S5 format; they're designed for viewing on a 1024x768 display in full-screen mode.
keimform.de is a group weblog discussing and analyzing the development of commons-based peer production and the emerging "seeds" of a possible future peer economy. Most articles are in German, but there also is a small (but growing) section of English-language articles.
You can track all articles related to the peerconomy model by checking the peer-economy tag.
Reviews and discussions about the book and the Peerconomy model
Links and descriptions related to events concerning the peer economy.
Want to start a project related to physical peer production? Let us know here...
What else is needed? A mailing list? A blog or a planet? Let us know here...