bauwens - P2P and Human Happiness Michel Bauwens,...

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P2P and Human Happiness Michel Bauwens, , Abstract: The emergence of distributed networks, defined by capacity of agents to freely determine their actions and relations, and of the internet and the social web in particular, have created a new set of technological affordances creating a broad range of open knowledge and open design communities functioning according to a ‘peer to peer’ social logic. These communities have set in motion a new set of social processes for the creation of value, which we could summarize as peer production (the ability to produce in common), peer governance (the capacity to self- organize) and peer property (the capacity to make common production universally available). The social web has created the possibility to create complex social services, and ‘productive systems’, through the global coordination and scaling of small group processes of mass participation, moving them from the periphery of social life to its very center. The aim of this paper is to describe the characteristics of this new social process, and to see how they are specifically related to the issue of human happiness. The Emergence of Passionate Production The emergence of this new mode of production has already been quite substantially described and researched with recent summaries in a series of books and monographs. Using Ronald Coase i ’s transaction cost theory, Yochai Benkler (in The Wealth of Networks ii ) has examined the particular conditions under which commons-based peer production can emerge, and these conditions are strongly related to the emergence of a globally distributed network for the production and sharing of knowledge, i.e. the capability to reproduce non-rival information goods at marginal cost. The main thesis could be summarized as follows: When costs of participation are low enough, any motivation may be sufficient to lead to a contribution. This new mode of producing social value is also a new mode of governing human collectives and in particular a mode of technological development, which has become very widespread as a method to develop software. Steve Weber proposes a detailed examination of the open source
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development and governance process in his book The Success of Open Source iii . There is a near consensus in the pragmatic research community that is represented by Venture Capital iv , that open source is now expected to be a default strategy for their investments, and that there is only a limited future left for pure proprietary software strategies. Another detailed description, focusing more on general knowledge production, is an upcoming book by Queensland University researcher Axel Bruns, who describes it as a process of produsage, because production and usage are merging v , and are undertaken by communities of produsers. An earlier description, and a long argument and explanation of why open source functions better for complex projects such as software, is of course Eric Raymond’s widely known The Cathedral and the Bazaar
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This note was uploaded on 10/24/2011 for the course UNIV 2201 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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bauwens - P2P and Human Happiness Michel Bauwens,...

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