P2P Foundation

The first distributed tool for a new Sharing Economy

One of the main challenges for the first GNU social Camp was to develop an alternative to the centralization of the collaborative economy using GNU social, a free standard for the development of distributed web applications. Sharings—a plugin for GNU social— creates the possibility of adding objects and services to GNU social to share them with the users on your node or, if they’re on other nodes, connected to you through federation. Sharings is still in alpha, but it already allows you to share objects, and other users can show interest in the object that you’ve shared and get in contact with you to agree on the details of the exchange.

Faith-Based Insurance Pools for Healthcare: A Better Alternative?

As healthcare insurance in the US has skyrocketed, despite passage of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in 2010, many Americans are turning to a new/old solution: mutualized self-help. Many Christian groups in the US are forming their own unregulated insurance pools to pay the medical bills of their members. This trend raises some fascinating questions about state/corporate bureaucracies vs. social commons. Religious faith is a big part of these expense-sharing plans. The plans themselves often reflect religious moral judgments: no medical payments for injuries caused by driving drunk, for example, or for sexually transmitted diseases contracted via an extramarital affair. Such conditions make these expense-sharing plans unacceptable to most secular consumers.

Resetting Interest on Usury

The doings of Pope Francis have tended to be popular by default, but his Jubilee Year of Mercy is off to an unusually slow start. The ancient Hebrew jubilee was a periodic Sabbath year in which debts would be cleared away, slaves would be freed, and lands lost in the course of commerce would be returned. Jesus declared a jubilee as he began preaching the forgiveness of sins. But the forgiveness he preached began with repentance. Likewise, any jubilee must begin with the recognition that there are wrongs to be righted. Clearing away debts does not make sense if we consider debt an immovable reality, an amoral fact of life. To celebrate a jubilee, we need to recognize the usury in our midst.

The invisible heart: sharing the world’s resources

STWR’s Rajesh Makwana gave an interview at the annual World Goodwill seminar in November 2015. The conference featured a series of presentations and talks conducted in London, Geneva and New York and covered a full range of spiritual, political, environmental and social issues. He said that the eco-economy model that will lead us further is based on the principle of sharing, whereby we recognise that there is one planet worth of resources that we need to share and we distribute the resources in such a way that all people’s needs are met. We need to consider how we can become involved in trying to create the alternative, and in demanding change from our governments, he added.

How a p2p-driven mutual coordination economy may solve the economic calculation problem (2)

Here are four five theses, which introduce P2P's special wiki section on Mutual Coordination Economics: 1. Today we have the emergence of a new proto-system of production, Commons-Based Peer Production in which contributors are free to contribute to a common pool of shareable knowledge, code and design. 2. This emerging new system of value creation and distribution is not sustainable if contributors need to find work as labour for capital. 3. To achieve this, we advocate the use of Commons-Based Reciprocity Licenses such as the Peer Production License. 4. The production of immaterial common pools is already regulated through mutual coordination and stigmergy, i.e. coordination based on open and transparent signals of what is needed by the system.

Techno-Optimism and the Way to the Age of Abundance (an accelerationist interview)

C. James Townsend published the book "The Singularity & Socialism: Marx, Mises, Complexity Theory, Techno-Optimism and the Way to the Age of Abundance". Townsend explores past ideological ideas that critically examined the trajectory of our economies in relation to scientific and technological development, in doing so to reach a commonly accepted conclusion of which were shared by these various ideologies – a post-capitalist era of abundance and transcendence. Transhumanism is actually an extension and a longing to complete the Hermetic, gnostic and Alchemical vision of antiquity only now it is through the full and complete evolution of science and technology itself that humanity will be transformed and given eternal youth and life.

Book of the Day: The Convergence of Social Economy and Sustainability

The book: "Scaling Up: The Convergence of Social Economy and Sustainability", co-edited by Mike Gismondi, Mary Beckie et al., investigates innovative social economies in British Columbia and Alberta and discovered that achieving a social good through collective, grassroots enterprise resulted in a sustainable way of satisfying human needs that was also, by extension, environmentally responsible. As these case studies illustrate, organizations that are capable of harnessing the power of a social economy generally demonstrate a commitment to three outcomes: greater social justice, financial self-sufficiency, and environmental sustainability.

Support the Mutual Aid Network’s Crowdfunding Campaign

The aim of Mutual Aid Networks is to redesign how we work; to apply what we know about economic and community building tools to create a new vision for work. Instead of getting jobs so we can afford to live, we decide how we want to live and create community supports for each other to do what we want to do. Eight pilot sites are currently forming MANs to increase energy conservation and renewable energy production, provide food security and others. This crowdfunding campaign will provide us with the money we need to develop our infrastructure via software, communications tools, training and travel, outreach and more.

Rise of the Commons: Fundamentals of P2P Economies

Peer-to-peer (P2P) is the capacity that we now have to connect to each other, to create value together and to organise ourselves. It cuts out the middle man, and instead adopts a model of decentralised peer production, whereby value is delivered back to the place where it largely came from in the first place — the commons. In capital markets, labour is viewed as a commodity to be bought and sold. Within peer production labour is viewed as a shared resource for the community. People bring their own skills and services — teaching people, facilitating the transfer of data or goods, and creating value-added products.

Book of the Day: Creating an Economy for the Common Good

Is it possible for businesses to have a bottom line that is not profit and endless growth, but human dignity, justice, sustainability and democracy? Or an alternative economic model that is untainted by the greed and crises of current financial systems? Christian Felber says it is. Moreover, in Change Everything he shows us how. The Economy for the Common Good is not just an idea, but has already become a broad international movement with thousands of people, hundreds of companies, and dozens of communities and organizations participating, developing and implementing it. Published in English for the first time, this is a remarkable blueprint for change that will profoundly influence debates on reshaping our economy for the future.

Project of the Day: Towards Social Plastic with the Plastic Bank currency

The Plastic Bank is turning plastic waste into a currency that can be exchanged to help lift people out of poverty & transition them into a self-sustaining life of entrepreneurship. Re-purposing / exchange centers for plastic waste are set up in areas that have high concentration of poverty and plastic pollution. The mandate is to provide a ladder of opportunity for the world’s poor to ascend from poverty by providing access to education, opportunities and 3D printing services. The exchange process for our recycled “Social Plastic” improves the life of a disadvantaged person while cleaning our planet. The higher the worldwide demand becomes, the higher the reward will be for harvesting Social Plastic.

#GlobalGoals? The truth about poverty and how to address it

Despite the UN’s ambitious claims, all the indications are that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) do not have the potential to “free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want” or “heal and secure our planet”. On the contrary, the ‘new agenda for development’ fails to address the root causes of today’s interconnected global crises, perpetuates a false narrative about poverty reduction, and reinforces an unsustainable economic paradigm that is inherently incapable of reducing the true scale of human deprivation by 2030. There are many reasons to question the entire sustainable development initiative and the political-economic context within which it will be implemented.

How to hack the mainstream discourse on ending poverty

In less than three weeks’ time, the world’s heads of state will gather at the United Nations in New York to officially adopt the post-2015 development agenda, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the campaign group The Rules, there’s so much wrong with the SDG process that its 17 goals and 169 targets are not only misleading and inadequate, but even dangerous. They argue that while the SDGs represent a significant step forward by aspiring to completely eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, the new agenda fails to provide an answer for how to realise its objectives within the means of our shared planet.

3 Ways Humans Create Poverty

There is no doubt that ordinary people in England—and in the rest of Europe—have become richer over the past hundred years, and quality of life has improved dramatically. But the humanitarian crisis didn’t just disappear into thin air—it was exported abroad. After the ravages of colonialism were over there was a time when things started getting better for poor countries during the 1960s and 1970s. Incomes grew quickly and the gap between rich countries and poor countries began to narrow. But these two decades of hope were brought to a crashing end in the 1980s. The World Bank and the IMF began to impose “structural adjustment programs” on developing countries as a basic condition for receiving international finance.

Money as a Common Pool Resource

The Money we are working towards here is a value-led means of exchange – the manifestations of value being decided by its users – the commoners. What follows is a consideration of three important design areas from a commons perspective: convertibility, the equitable allocation of issued money, and how to provide capital investment; followed by a comment on division of labour. The paradigm of money as a common pool resource may be able to provide insight and encourage radical monetary innovation. New money forms do not need growth. Designers can choose to exclude or discriminate against deprecated behaviours, recognise and reward behaviour compatible with an explicit transparent value-set, and prioritise the well being of commoner-insiders.

Book of the Day: Proposals For A Democratic Economy

New Left Project’s new e-book, "Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy" is now available for download. In it, the leading radical thinkers Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright take on the crucial but all-too neglected question: what kind of society should we be fighting for instead of capitalism? Hahnel favours ‘participatory economics’. Wright advocates ‘real utopian socialism’. Alternatives to Capitalism puts these practical proposals through their paces in an in-depth, frank and extremely instructive debate about the central question of our time.

How does real change occur? P2P Theory vs. socialist theory

Fundamental change is only achieved by a congruence of change, both from the bottom, and from the top, a double reconfiguration of classes to a new system. Socialist proposals cannot account for this. The owners of capital have zero interest in such a radical change of ownership, while the workers cannot point to any successful alternative patterns that could form the basis of a new society, instead having to opt for radical but unproven social experiments. The key problem therefore was that it could not point to any other proven alternative that would be more productive, and elicit congruent change both from the top and from below.

Book of the Day: Democratizing Wealth for Building a Citizens’ Economy

The e-Book "Democratic Wealth: Building a Citizens’ Economy" by Stuart White and Niki Sethi-Smith is a collection of essays that challenges the poverty of thinking around economic policy, particularly after the 2007 financial crash. It explores the renewed interest in republicanism and suggests this as a framework to shape an economy that serves the common good. It is a selection of articles from a series published by openDemocracy and Politics in Spires, a blog run by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. It ends with an afterword by James Meadway, senior economist at nef, on clearing a path for a better future.

Reforming the Monetary System in Greece (1) – A Varoufakis Conversion

Greece’s new Syriza government has two major economic challenges to address: a Resolution of Greece’s unsustainable debt burden followed by a Transition to a long term sustainable economy. Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis' proposal is for a conversion of the existing dated ‘debt’ liabilities into a modern form of the undated credit instruments (‘stock’). Firstly, Greece would dedicate an agreed proportion of tax income to long term funding. Greece then issues stock at a discount, each of which is returnable in payment of Greece’s taxes. This new issuance would then be allocated between the different creditors in a way reflecting the repayment date and interest rate of Greek liabilities. From then on Greece would use part of its tax income to buy back this stock for cancellation.

OIKONOMOS – a documentary about transforming economics education

Oikonomos is a film about the growing movement to transform economics education. There is an increased criticism of economics and economists not adequately dealing with our societal issues. That's why there is a strong plea to make economics education more pluralist and related to the real world, giving economists-to-be a bigger toolbox and wider range of perspectives when dealing with increasingly complex economies and societies. This project attempts to tell the story of this movement, and asks why and how students, academics, educational institutions and citizens are working to change economics education.

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