[iDC] Introduction: The Internet as Playground and Factory

Michael Bauwens michelsub2003 at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 15 04:59:46 UTC 2009

Hi Trebor,

I completely agree that users should be educated into who benefits/profits from their labour, and I personally would not engage in free activities for a for-profit. Nevertheless, for a young person that needs to establish his credentials in a competitive world, he may feel the benefits exceed the cost ...

Re your conclusion about building our own p2p infrastructures: I think it is pretty much a question of the underlying social contract: proprietary platforms are structurally constrained to offer participation and sharing, or face exist, not to speak of user revolts. It is only when they go beyond such acceptable social contract, that you have a chance to establish an independent platform, but precisely to avoid this, they will generally abide by the social contract. So I think they are here to stay and the more politically astute thing to do is to fight/hack for user rights, open standards, free network service principles ...

More generally, from my observations, it would seem that open communities which ally themselves successfully with some form of businesses, do better than those who don't, and there are good reasons for that, which I could explain later. So what I'm saying that, beyond what a radical minority may wish, there arer constraints of 'realism' in what can be achieved and expected,

This is not much different from the labour movement, where most workers were quite happy to accept the Fordist social contract ... as long as the system can deliver on those terms, change is only possible within the system; but when the system starts to fail in this deliverance, more radical change becomes possible.

So I think that a good policy of change is to play on both levels i.e. work on improving the social contract for sharing and peer producing communities, while paying close attention, and offer support, to those working on more radical distributed infrastructures ...


----- Original Message ----
> From: Trebor Scholz <trebor at thing.net>
> To: "idc at mailman.thing.net" <idc at mailman.thing.net>
> Sent: Saturday, June 13, 2009 8:28:01 PM
> Subject: Re: [iDC] Introduction: The Internet as Playground and Factory
> Michel,
> >Why see this as the exclusive benefit of capital, and be blind to how
> >people are using these services for the construction of their own
> >lives, using what is at hand.
> Hm,... from the conference introduction and my posts here I had hoped that
> it was clear that I am not suggesting a relationship marked by one-sided
> benefit. For the past ten years I have participated in countless social
> milieus and created a few myself. On reflection, I'd now say that the most
> pervasive relationship online is
> a praise-entertainment---expropriation-surveillance tradeoff
> > 
> > Unless we start peer producing infrastructures ourselves, the
> > sharing mode by itself is not strong enough to sustain itself.
> I could not agree more, Michel, and look forward to developing a strand of
> the conference that is dedicated to that.
> ~Trebor
> =
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