From the Crisis of Capitalism to the Emergence of Peer to Peer Political Ecologies

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Draft of a presentation by Jose Ramos (and Michel Bauwens), for the 21st WFSF World Conference on Global Higher Education: Reflecting on the Past, Designing Sustainable Futures Penang, Malaysia, 13-15th December 2011

* Article: From the crisis of capitalism to the emergence of peer to peer political ecologies.


"As the crisis of capitalism deepens great debates have emerged in respect to nature of the transition(s) we are in, and what will replace the current geo-structures we have inherited. This paper looks at the structural (political, cultural, economic and ecological) crisis of capitalism and puts forward the proposition that key aspects of the current failing system, based on industrial capitalism, are already being replaced by peer to peer enterprises and models. It explores what this peer-to-peer transition means through historical and macro-historical frameworks, as well as through key discourses that re-envision globalization (alter-globalization): via gender, international development, neo-Keynesian, cosmopolitan, neo-marxist, post-industrial localisation, evolutionary and perennial-ecumenist perspectives. I argue that the peer to peer eco-system is a key, if not primary, transitional methodological nexus in the shift from predatory capitalism to eco-sufficient and democratic polities."

Working Method

  • we start from the perspectives developed by Jose Ramos in his thesis
  • we make a column outlining the positives/negatives of the nine perspectives, and how a p2p/integral approach can help preserve the positive aspects while 'neutralising' the negative
  • nine transition scenarios?

Points of reference for the study

These points of reference are meant to guide the discussion that takes place in each section, the weekly basis. Each week we will engage in discussing one particular discourse or perspective for alternative globalization, and see how it applies to emergence of peer-to-peer practices and thinking. the key points of reference for each discourse include:

  • How does peer-to-peer engage with the space/spatiality of that particular discourse/perspective? E.g. what is real in the discourse (such as structures, variables, factors, agents, actors)?
  • How does peer-to-peer engage with temporality? E.g. the historical narrative and futures trajectory offered by that discourse/perspective?
  • How does each perspective engaged with the contemporary crisis of capitalist?
  • How does each perspective consider the transition from the old regime to the new?
  • What are regressive elements of this perspective?
  • What are progressive elements of this perspective?
  • How can peer to peer engages with the perspective, assists it or offer opportunities and possibilities for it?
  • How can peer to peer help to transcend and include the perspective - by keeping the good and neurtralizing the bad?

The Discourses and Perspectives


  1. Planetary Geostructures