Distributed Commons-based Production

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Christian Siefkes:

"With peer production, the necessary resources and means of production tend to be commons or distributed widely. The most important resource required for digital peer production is knowledge, which is generally treated as a commons.

Free and open design (free knowledge on how to manufacture goods) is an important building block for physical peer production.

Free and open design is not enough for physical production—access to land and other natural resources is essential as well. In the logic of peer production, these too become commons to be used and shared in a fair manner among all. Commons must also be maintained and preserved for future generations.

With digital peer production, the physical means of production (e.g. computers) tend to be distributed among many people. Their widespread distribution prevents asymmetric dependencies—there is no single person or entity that can control their usage and hence their users.

A similar development starts to occur in the area of physical peer production: the emergence of a decentralized, self-organized productive infrastructure making it possible for everybody to get access to the means of production.

Nowadays, the required tools and machines are usually proprietary and have to be bought from big corporations. But as soon as it becomes possible for peer production to produce its owns tools, the circle will close: Peer producers can jointly produce, use and manage their own productive facilities, thus overcoming the dependency on proprietary, market-driven production.

That’s the third building block of physical peer production, while the fourth and most important building block are the voluntary contributions of peers without which peer production wouldn’t exist." (http://www.keimform.de/2010/self-organized-plenty/)

More Information

  1. Distribution, Commons, Peer Production