The Foundation for P2P Alternatives – P2P Foundation

Ξ August 21st, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Science |

From the page: "Manifesto
From P2pFoundation

Peer to Peer and Human Evolution

On "the P2P relational dynamic" as the premise of the next civilizational stage"

The following essay describes the emergence, or expansion, of a specific type of relational dynamic, which I call peer to peer. It's a form of human network-based organisation which rests upon the free participation of equipotent partners, engaged in the production of common resources, without recourse to monetary compensation as key motivating factor, and not organized according to hierarchical methods of command and control. This format is emerging throughout the social field: as a format of technology (the point to point internet, filesharing, grid computing, the Writeable Web initiatives, blogs), as a third mode of production (neither centrally planned nor profit-driven), producing hardware, software and intellectual and cultural resources (wetware) that are of great value to humanity (Linux, Wikipedia), and as a general mode of knowledge exchange and collective learning which is massively practiced on the internet. It also emerges as new organizational formats in politics, spirituality; as a new 'culture of work'. This essay thus traces the expansion of this format, seen as a "isomorphism" (= having the same format), in as many fields as possible. But it does more than that: it tries to provide an explanatory framework of why it is emerging now, and how it fits in a wider evolutionary framework. Note that within the sections, the first subsection is descriptive, the second is explanatory, and the third is evolutionary. In the latter, I use the triune distinction premodernity/modernity/postmodernity, well aware that it is a simplification, and that it collapses many important distinctions, say between the tribal and the agrarian era. But as an orienting generalization that allows to contrast the changes occurring after the emergence of modernity, it remains useful. Thus, the concept of 'premodern', means the societies based on tradition, before the advent of industrial capitalism, with fixed social roles and a social organisation inspired by what it believes to be a divine order; modern means essentially the era of industrial capitalism; finally, the choice of the term postmodern does not denote any specific preference in the 'wars of interpretation' between concepts such as postmodernity, liquid modernity, reflexitive modernity, transmodernity etc.. It simple means the contermporary period, more or less starting after 1968, which is marked by the emergence of the informational mode of capitalism. I will use the term cognitive capitalism most frequently in my characterization of the current regime, as it corresponds to the interpretation, which is the most convincing in my view. The French magazine Multitude is my main source for such interpretations.

I will conclude my essay with the conclusion that P2P is nothing else than a premise of a new type of civilization that is not exclusively geared towards the profit motive. What I have to convince the user of is that 1) a particular type of human relational dynamic is growing very fast across the social fields, and that such combined occurrence is the result of a deep shift in ways of feeling and being. 2) That it has a coherent logic that cannot be fully contained within the present 'regime' of society. 3) As such, it is not an utopia, but, as 'an already existing social practice', the seed of a major transformation to come.


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