ox4 Submission

ox4 conference logoHere’s my submission for the Fourth Oekonux Conference (the official deadline for submissions ended two days ago).

Title: Peer Production Everywhere

Subtitle: How Can We Do It And Where Can We Start?


I’ll talk about how commons-based peer production can be extended to all areas of life. How might a society based on peer production look like and which principles will be typical for such a society? I’ll also talk about which steps are reasonable to encourage the emergence of such a society.


I’ve written about how commons-based peer production, the new mode of production which has developed in several related communities—free software, free/open content, open access, free community networks, and others—can be extended to all areas of life. Extrapolating from the practices of current commons-based production communities, we can suppose that any future commons-based society will be a community of people making up their own rules for creating, maintaining, and handling the commons they create and use, just like the current communities do. Production will be organized around a pool of commons created and maintained by the community: the resources required for production and the goods that are produced will go into this pool, and the goods which people consume or use will come out of it.

In my talk, I will quickly explain these conjectures and talk about the principles which I suppose will be typical for such a society:

  1. Everyone can give as they like.
  2. Taking from the commons means taking something as possession (something that can be used), not as property (something that can be sold and commercialized at will).
  3. Everyone can take commons into possession, as long as they don’t take them away from others.
  4. If taking would mean taking away, the best way of solving this problem is to produce enough to satisfy everybody’s wishes.
  5. The second best way is to distribute limited goods in a fair manner.
  6. Cooperation will be organized by area and by interest, and units of cooperation will nest and overlap as appropriate.
  7. Production will take place in projects of people who work together on an equal footing (as peers).

The second half of the talk will be about discussing how we can start to generalize peer production. Which steps are possible and sensible to encourage the emergence of a society based on commons and cooperation?

The submission is of course very dense, because of space constraints (only 300 characters for the Abstract, only 2000 characters for the Description). The mentioned principles will be explained not only in my ox4 talk (hopefully), but also in a text which will appear in the German-language commons book edited by Silke Helfrich.

Judging from the events visible in the ox4 submission system, the outside interest in the Oekonux conference seems to be thin—very few submissions except for the invited speakers and the usual Oekonux bunch 🙁

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