Category:P2P Accounting

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This section monitors new metrics, evaluation and accounting methods that are appropriate for a collaborative, peer to peer economy.

The necessary Value Revolution strives to re-integrate both social and environmental externalities, currently neglected in the dominant system, into our production, valuing and measurement systems.

Key theme: how do we evolve towars "relations of open reciprocity, communal sharing, gift-giving and voluntary collaboration allowed value to circulate in its unalienated forms, including labor power, political expression and interspecies ecological exchanges". [1]

Key Concepts: Unalienated Value ; Generative Justice

Key introductory publications

Contextual Citation

The moment we stop optimizing the digital economy for the growth of capital, and optimize it for the circulation of value between people, everything will start to get better really fast.

- Douglas Rushkoff [2]

In the next economic system, “value” will mean the health of the planet, not numbers on a balance sheet….

- John Thackara

"What’s going on today is more than a few accounting oversights here and there. The distance between today’s industrial systems and truly sustainable industrial systems — systems that do not spend down stored natural capital but instead integrate into current energy and material flows — is not one of degree, but one of kind. What’s needed is not just better accounting but a new global industrial system, a new way of providing for human wellbeing, and fast."

- David Roberts [3]

"Accumulation requires measuring value. This measure is necessary since it makes functionally possible the distribution of surplus generated by the development of productive factors. On this key point, the theoretical debate has been structured around a twofold identification of a theory of value based on labour, on the one hand, and a theory of value based on utility, on the other."

- Cristina Morini and Andrea Fumagalli [4]

(MB: Please note that the recommended book, Capital as Power rejects the above dual choice, and proposes a third alternative.)

Introductory Resources

  • Sustainable Community Indicators: "Of the expanding “family” of alternative wealth measures, sustainable community indicators are probably the most comprehensive expression of qualitative wealth and community development generally. At their best, they synthesize a range of quantitative and qualitative data, including people’s subjective preferences." [5]

Key Projects Monitored by P2P Foundation


"Capitals most often represent resource pools that exist in – and hence are borrowed from – The Commons."

- SustyContextGroup [6]

"There is a way to more equally distribute wealth and transfer value. We can easily build technology to account for, assign, and distribute value as it’s created. Value distribution is coming — it’s just a matter of time."

- Chelsea Rustrum: [7]

"We are reluctant to cede all econo‐metrics to the Capitalocene. If we are to build post‐capitalist urban resilience, we need tools to track inputs and outputs of money, labour, care, and conviviality. In a moment of transition, in which new metrics are not yet in place, monetized calculation is a way to create “membranes” to capture value from the dominant system, that we can filter and use in a different way."

- Katherine Gibson et al. [8]

To Enclose Is To Make Invisible

"The transition from commons to enclosure entails making a world a Terra Nullius, a “no man's land”. The lifeworlds, the social fabrics, the webs of community made invisible, illegible through the economics of capture. To call out theft not only on a moral but economic level, we have to nurture the networked sense organ which sees planetary state and thus makes its value legible without collapsing it into yet another regime of enclosure. This is a fundamental challenge of legibility. Engaging this challenge begins with bearing witness to the living world we are within. To resist enclosure we must see and attest to a world replete with stories, niches, identities and rituals as anything but empty, or null. To bear witness, is to fundamentally combat the core hypothesis of enclosure which presumes we make productive and profitable what was previously nothing at all, and in so doing counteract willful structural ignorance."

- Austin Wade Smith [9]

It is measurements that shape our world

"Despite appearances, the majority of our global challenges revolve around measurement infrastructures. For example, the recent economic crisis was largely the result of inadequate and deceptive econometric practices (e.g., the ratings applied to collateralized debt obligations), while the ecological crisis continues to revolve around disputes over, and innovations in, measurement (e.g., calculations of global temperature changes). Measurement infrastructures function to generate (and impose) a shared understanding of the world, and in so doing literally create realities; whether these realties are true, good, and beautiful is another matter. Measures and their related standards also facilitate complexly coordinated social actions and set the terms by which a wide range of evaluative judgments are made, from those about the self (bathroom scale; IQ) to those about whole countries (GDP). Recent decades have brought a rapid proliferation of measurement infrastructures and related forms of standardization, which impact the most intimate details of our lives and the most significant planetary initiatives. A metatheoretical approach is needed that can expose the false realities created by inadequate and oppressive measurement practices as well as inform the creation of new approaches to the representation of complex global realities."

- Zachary Stein [10]

What we need to measure first of all: Carrying Capacity

From James Quilligan on Carrying Capacity as a Basis for Political and Economic Self-Governance:1.


"No major civilization has EVER practiced carrying capacity as a basis for political and economic self-governance; carrying capacity has only succeeded in small communities. Of course, we know this from the modern Ostrom view of the commons; but Ostrom never put her finger on the pulse of carrying capacity as the *self-organizing principle between a species and its environment*. Nor has the commons movement recognized the importance of an *empirical way of measuring the metabolism of society* through the cooperative activities of people using resources to meet their biological needs. In other words, Ostrom and the commons movement have yet to define the dynamic equilibrium which they seek as the balance between two opposing forces - population and resources - which continually counteract each other. Instead, the commons movement is more focused on counteracting the Market and the State than on measuring the replenishment of renewable and non-renewable resources and managing them to sustain their yield. In short, the commons movement does not seem to be producing alternative indicators for the productive and provisioning which can be used to guide policy. ... (We must) ... establishes empirical targets that will bring down exponential growth to arithmetic growth levels; and thus organizing society according to the dynamic equilibrium between population and the availability of food, water and energy. ... If we don't know how to develop evidence-based policy for a soft landing toward a reasonable level of subsistence -- and I've seen very little of this in the commons movement -- then I don't know how we expect to create a long-term system for meeting human needs through sustainable yields. I would hope that the commons movement begins to create the basis for a viable new society by actually focusing on the optimum rate at which a resource can be harvested or used without damaging its ability to replenish itself."

- James Quilligan, Fb, August 2017


"Just as the US took the world off the gold standard and the world went from fixed to floating exchange rates, the Limits to Growth report was published. No one realized at the time that the planetary limits of non-renewable resources which were only then beginning to be identified by mainframe computers would now have have no possible direct bearing on a money supply backed by fixed reserve assets under the new regime, because the international monetary system was now deregulated (which kicked off the era of neo-liberalism, the supplanting of monetary policy by finance and a complete political denial of planetary limits). This shift in monetary policy expressed, in true post-modern fashion, that "all values are relative", systemically delinking the world's socio-economic institutions from the natural world and encouraging the massive consumer credit rampage for the fire sale of the world's resources since then. It is time now to establish a structural link between planetary limits and monetary value which supplants price signals with monetary signals, in order that currency value directly expresses the carrying capacity between the available non-renewable resources and the needs of an ever-increasing population. In short, today's free-floating currency value must become fixed once again, this time with an entirely new anchor: non-renewables, probably including gold." (

GDP is Sexist: The value of non-market household work

"When the GDP was developed in the early 20th century, caregiving and raising children were considered women’s work, not worthy of inclusion in the metrics comprising the score. As Riane Eisler, president of the Center for Partnership Studies and author of The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics, notes, “Studies show that if caregiving work were included, it would constitute between 30% and 50% of the reported GDP.”

This “household” or “nonmarket” product—which beyond caregiving activities includes cooking, gardening, and housework according to a 2012 report—is not only economically significant but, if measured, could improve women’s lives (or the men who do equivalent tasks). Were the GDP to be updated in 2018 to recognize that women globally provide these essential undervalued services, metrics would likely change to better incorporate the fundamental activities that underpin traditional economic measures. As the report states in its findings, “Home production reduces measured income in equality.”

But society has chosen not to update this outdated metric. And as a result, the GDP is sexist. Plain and simple. It’s time to upgrade the system to galvanize “household production”—and the women who provide the majority of it—as something worthy of measure."

- John C. Havens: [11]

On the Value Revolution that is taking place

"Under the radar of mass media and mainstream academia, a value revolution is taking place that is promising to transform humanity’s very notions of wealth and economic development. Expressed in an explosion of both traditional academic indicators and innovative new quality-of-life and sustainability measures, this value revolution is not simply revealing previously invisible “full costs” of production, but also “redefining progress” more positively—from quantity to quality. Economically, our ways of growing and distributing food, providing & using energy, building buildings, making and exchanging clothing, etc. are being reexamined not only to reduce their negative impacts, but also to more fully express their social and ecological potentials. They are geared not simply to the sustainability of communities and ecosystems, but to their regeneration—to make economic development, as eco-architect Bill McDonough would say, “not just less bad, but good.”

- Brian Milani [12]

On Measurement and Power

"The history of measurement has been a history in which the privileged and empowered have been the creators and institutionalizers, while the oppressed and powerless have had no choice but to use their master’s tools and definitions of reality (Kula, 1986; Scott, 1998). This is a pattern that continues to this day, perhaps best exemplified by current trends in educational “reform,” where in the United States, billionaires who never set foot in a public school growing up, and who send their own children to private schools, swayed federal legislation toward the creation of a vast technologically intensive testing infrastructures that now dominates the entire public school system (Ravitch, 2014). New tests and measures are being forced upon teachers; if they do not use them they can be fired. Educators are being disempowered, deskilled, and rendered without voice when it comes to some of the most essential aspect of their professional practice, i.e., assessment drives curriculum and pedagogy. Meanwhile for-profit industries are poised to make billions off the privatization of one of the oldest and most inspiring public institutions in American history."

- Zachary Stein [13]

Tiberius Brastaviceanu on Open Value Accounting System‎s

"We need to make the distinction between co-creation of value and value exchange. These are two important processes but very distinct ones. Sensoricans are working hard to solve the value accounting problem, which is meant to support large scale co-creation of value. The value accounting is a way to capture individual contributions that blend into a unique product, to evaluate these contributions, and to compute equity in the end product, a % for every member.

NOTE the value accounting system is NOT a system that objectifies value and it is not a bean counting system! It is a contract, a method to which all contributors adhere to reassure every contributor about how the future revenue will be redistributed. That's it! It preserves the subjective nature of value, it can take, in theory, into consideration all types of value, tangible and intangible.

Once the product is made it is exchanged, and this is where you need currencies, or systems of value exchange.

Again, value accounting for co-creation of value and value exchange are two different things in my mind. These two systems must interact with each other, but we need to see them as separate. One is designed to manage the amalgamation of value from different agents into one product, the other one is designed to facilitate value exchange between different agents, with no value added in the process."

Tom Walker on the need for a new Social Accounting system for the Labor Commons

"What I proposed in "Time on the Ledger" is a social accounting framework for evaluating the net social productivity of different hours of work arrangements. The basic idea is that first, there are fixed social cost to labor that are not reflected in capitalist accounting and the way that employers can shed their labor costs by laying off workers and second, there is a technologically-determined optimal length of working time per worker exceeding which subtracts from net social product over the longer period. The information from this process can guide collective bargaining and public policy advocacy while at the same time inculcating a commons mentality in practitioners. It is not enough to translate back and forth between capitalist accounting perspective and a commons ideal. One must become fluent in a new social accounting language." (

What the token economy can do for accounting value

"Innovation of measurement in the crypto economy may actually hold the key to the measurement problems in the more established capital markets. The problem in the conventional markets is that they are being asked to measure things that don’t readily fit into the conventional accounting categories. But the crypto economy is not shackled by those conventional categories, and so can develop the devices to ‘measure the unmeasurable’. ... Could we think of a thresholding, a binding, an accounting system — a token valuation system — in which organizations operating within ECSA (the so called “economic spaces”, our version of 21st century modes of economic association) nominate the performance criteria by which they want their assets and output to be valued: ways that will specifically address the contributions of intangible capital and immaterial labour, so that social contribution can be recorded in ways that best befit those contributions?" "

- Dick Bryan [14]

Natural Capital

"‘For the management of renewable resources there are two obvious principles of sustainable development. First that harvest rates should equal regeneration rates (sustained yields). Second that waste emission rates should equal the natural assimilative capacities of the ecosystems into which the wastes are emitted. Regenerative and assimilative capacities must be treated as natural capital, and failure to maintain these capacities must be treated as capital consumption, and therefore not sustainable.’"

- Mathis Wackernagel [15]

Key Resources

Key Articles

Values and Currencies in Peer Production

Social Ledgers for Labor as a Common-Pool Resource

Tom Walker:

Shared Value, Blended Value Conceptions

  • Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer. Creating Shared Value. Harvard Business Review, 2011 [18]: “creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges

The potential of universal open ledgers (Blockchain / Holochain)

The Resources, Events, Agents (REA) model and Open Value Networks

Key Books

  • The Ethical Economy. Rebuilding Value After the Crisis. By Adam Arvidsson and Nicolai Peitersen. Columbia University Press, 2013
  • Capitalism without Capital. The Rise of the Intangible Economy. Jonathan Haskel & Stian Westlake. Princeton University Press, 2017: "why governments need to count innovation as an engine of profit." [20]

Historical Context

  • James Aho's The Religious, Moral and Rhetorical Roots of Modern Accounting [22]
  • Rob Bryer's Accounting and Control of the Labour Process [23]

Key Policies

  • The Inclusive Value Ledger, proposed by NY Assemblyman Ron Kim - (The American Prospect - is the first contribution-based public accounting scheme I have heard of; therefore a paramount and pivotal commons-based policy proposal

Key Reports

  • Value in the Commons Economy: Developments in Open and Contributory Value Accounting. By Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Niaros. Heinrich Boll Foundation, 2016. [24]
  • Re-imagining Value: Insights from the Care Economy, Commons, Cyberspace and Nature. By David Bollier. Commons Strategies Group in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation and David Graeber. March 2017.


Key Statistics

Statistical Evidence for the Contributory Value Crisis

One of the key hypotheses of the P2P Foundation and P2P Theory is that the exponential rise of unpaid intangible value creation creates a value crises in a capitalist society. Here is a corroborating statistic that this value crisis is indeed occuring:

"Research productivity is declining at a rate of about 6.8 per cent per year in the semiconductor industry. In other words, we’re running out of ideas. That’s the conclusion of economic researchers from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation. They reckon that in order to maintain Moore’s Law – by which transistor density doubles every two years or so – it now takes 18 times as many scientists as it did in the 1970s. That means each researcher’s output today is 18 times less effective in terms of generating economic value than it was several decades ago.

Thus we have the position where the new leading sectors are increasingly investing in intangibles while investment overall falls along with productivity and profitability. Marx’s law of profitability is not modified but intensified.

The rise of intangibles means the increased concentration and centralisation of capital."

- Michael Roberts [28]

Key Tools

  • Co-Budget, a open source tool from Enspiral, to allow network members to re-invest in each other's projects
  • Balance, an open-source tool to keep track of shared finances for groups

Pages in category "P2P Accounting"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 820 total.

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