Saturday, November 1, 2014

Governance and legal structure for commons-based peer production

Governance and legal structures for commons-based peer production (CBPP) are evolving very rapidly, but we are still far from having something that is fully compatible with CBPP practices, to make a coherent CBPP system.

CBPP communities that create exchange value (products and services to be distributed/exchanged on the market) are usually hybrid or mixed structures. The most obvious examples are ecosystems like Arduino, which are comprised of a classical structure (the Arduino company) in the middle of an open source hardware (OSHW) community. The Arduino company incorporates functions for production and distribution, but it also plays an important role of facilitation and coordination of the open OSWH network around it. The 3D robotics (the company) and DIY Drones (the community) form a similar ecosystem. See Open source hardware meets the p2p economy blog post.

Other CBPP communities are organized as cooperatives. This choice is justified by the more democratic nature of these types of organizations. I expressed my opinions on this structure in the Are Coops Outdated in a Network Age article.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Capitalism fights us now

This post was motivated by a documentary that you can watch on Youtube: Counterfeiting. 

First, they don't take you seriously. Later, they laugh at you. Then they fight you, and after you win. I think the new economy (call it multitude or p2p) is one step away from going mainstream.
When society reaches a tipping point, all the absurdities of the old system become apparent. This time around, our global society is undergoing profound transformations because the new technology introduces new possibilities, which in turn affect the way we produce and distribute value. But the conflict between those invested in the old system and the proponents of change opens along ethical issues and values. When did we start to call sharing of designs, counterfeiting?
If you read history books you will not be able to miss the importance of diffusion of technology across continents. Marco Polo is depicted as a hero, because he embarked on a 24 year long and very dangerous voyage from Venice to China and back, and enriched Europe with new technology from the East.  How can a culture consider Marco Polo a hero because he copied the Chinese, but at the same time consider the Chinese thieves, because they copy technology and designs from the west? There is nothing important to understand there, other than the fact that our modern society is undergoing a crisis, a major transformation.
Copying and sharing are essential to development. If an economy starts to vilify essential things like copying and sharing, it is just a matter of time before it collapses, because by denying essentials it will start to accumulate ineficiencies.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Why do we need a value accounting system?

First published on 3 January 2014 and last modified on 23 February 2015

With the development of digital technologies and the advent of the Internet the economy is following a trend of decentralization. The most innovative environments are open source communities and peer production is on the rise. The crowd innovates and produces. But the crowd is organized in loose networks, it is geographically dispersed, and contributions to value creation follow a long tail distribution. What are the reward mechanisms in this new economy?

Our thesis is that in order to reward everyone who participates in value creation, in this context, we need to record individual contributions and distribute the revenue according to a preestablished algorithm. In other words, we need to do value accounting, or accounting of all contributions to value creation processes, and to crunch them all together, for all the participants, using a mathematical formula to calculate a % for every participant. This method for redistribution must be established at the beginning of the value creation process, in a transparent way. It constitutes a contract among participants, and it allows them to estimate their returns on their investments. We call this the value accounting system.

For the rest of this article we will try to explain why a value accounting system is needed in a more decentralized economy, and unavoidable in a p2p economy.