Thursday, August 15, 2013

P2P on socio-economics

I referenced this article in the last post but it is relevant to this topic: "The next Buddha will be a collective." Below is an excerpt from the socio-economics section:

"If one examines more in detail how peer production projects operate, one can see many reversals from not only the traditional mode of operating either a corporate or public institution, but also from NGO’s emanating from civil society. At the root of the different functioning of peer projects is the concept of equipotentiality, which was already defined by Jorge Ferrer. It means that human being are not ranked according to one criteria, or as a totality, but that they are considered to consist of a multitude of skills and capabilities, none of which in itself being better than another. In the context of a peer project, potential participants are considered a too complex mix of skills and experiences to predict a priori who can perform a certain task. The solution is to slice up any project in the greatest possible array of modules, which can be carried out separately, but nevertheless coordinated as one project. Participants can then self-select their tasks, without any a priori control of their credentials (this is called anti-credentialism), giving rise to this mode of distributed production which differs from the traditional division of labour.

"But given that there is no more a priori selection mechanism, how then to ensure the quality of the work, and carry out a selection for performance? The answer is to couple distributed control to this distributed production. This concept can be called communal validation, and differs from the still credentialist peer review process in scientific publishing for example. In addition, peer projects are characterized by holoptism, this is the total transparency of the project, and stands in contrast with the panoptism of hierarchical projects, i.e. the availability of information only to those deemed to have a need to know, and with only the top of the hierarchy having a full view of the project. In contrast, peers have access both vertically (the aims, the vision) and horizontally (who does and did what), from their particular angle. Every change in code in Linux, or every change of word in the Wikipedia, is available for review, and linked to the recognized author. This is a stunning number of reversals with the traditional way of performing tasks and organizing work, yet the system turns out to be more productive in terms of performance, more participative in governance, and more distributive in terms of property, than its rivals. So there we have it: equipotentiality, anti-credentialism, self-selection, communal validation, and holoptism, as some of the key characteristics of the peer to peer mode of producing the common."

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