For the Uncommons conference in Berlin on October 23, Michel Bauwens recently distilled his years of thinking about digital collaboration into a short text, “Ten Commandments of Peer Production and Commons Economics.” The document describes the key pillars of “a mode of production and value creation that is free, fair and sustainable.” I am reproducing his entire text here because I think it is so succinct and seminal.
As we have tried to show elsewhere, the emergence of Commons-Oriented Peer Production has generated the emergence of a new logic of collaboration between open productive communities who created shared resources (commons) through contributions, and those market-oriented entities that created added value on top or along these shared commons.
This article addresses the emerging practices that should inspire these entities of the ‘ethical’ economy. The main aim is to create new forms that go beyond the traditional corporate form and its extractive profit-maximizing practices of value extraction. Instead of extractive forms of capital, we need generative forms, that co-create value with and for the commoners.
I am using the form of commandments to explain the new practices. All of them have already emerged in various forms, but need to be generalized and integrated.
What the world and humanity, and all those beings that are affected by our activities require is a mode of production, and relations of production, that are “free, fair and sustainable” at the same time.
OPEN AND FREE
1. Thou shall practice Open Business Models based on shared knowledge
Closed business models are based on artificial scarcity. Though knowledge is a non- or anti-rival good that gains in use value the more it is shared, and though it can be shared easily and at very low marginal cost when it is in digital form, many extractive firms still use artificial scarcity to extract rents from the creation or use of digitized knowledge. Through legal repression or technological sabotage, naturally shareable goods are made artificially scarce, so that extra profits can be generated. This is particularly galling in the context of life-saving or planet-regenerating technological knowledge. The first commandment is therefore the ethical commandment of sharing what can be shared, and only creating market value from resources that are scarce and create added value on top or along these commons. Open business models are market strategies that are based on the recognition of natural abundance and the refusal to generate income and profits by making them artificially scarce.
Thou shall find more information on this here at http://p2pfoundation.net/Category:Business_Models
2. Thou shall practice Open Cooperativism
Many new more ethical and generative forms are being created, that have a higher level of harmony with the contributory commons. The key here is to choose post-corporate forms that are able to generate livelihoods for the contributing commoners.
Open cooperatives in particular would be cooperatives that share the following characteristics:
1) they are mission-oriented and have a social goal that is related to the creation of shared resources
2) they are multi-stakeholder governed, and include all those that are affected by or contributing to the particular activity