Introduction to the P2P Foundation Wiki Material about the Collaborative Economy

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= Introduction to the Collaborative Economy Category compiled by Michel Bauwens from 2011 to 2017.

Peer to peer dynamics drive self-aggregation around common value creation, which can either be driven from the bottom-up, or harnessed by existing corporations and institutions. In this new section, we look at the various forms this 'collaborative economy' is taking.

  • Video: Four Future P2P Scenarios, this closing keynote presents two for-profit oriented scenarios for the future of the collaborative economy, and two commons oriented ones.

Introductory Material

Flagship Projects

* The Catalan Integral Cooperative‎ as first Open Cooperative and strategic partner of the P2P Foundation

  • Enspiral, a new governance model for the ethical economy
  • Las Indias for their many innovations in networked cooperative thinking, such as their concept of Phyles

Characteristics of Generative Ownership Forms

from (visited 2016-12)

THE DESIGN OF ECONOMIC POWER — The Architecture of Ownership

1. Financial Purpose: maximizing profits in the short term 1. Living Purpose: creating the conditions for life over the long term
2. Absentee Membership: ownership disconnected from the life of the enterprise 2. Rooted Membership: ownership in human hands
3. Governance by Markets: control by capital markets on autopilot 3. Mission-Controlled Governance: control by those dedicated to social mission
4. Casino Finance: capital as master 4. Stakeholder Finance: capital as friend
5. Commodity Networks: trading focused solely on price and profits 5. Ethical Networks: collective support for ecological and social norms



According to the Collaborative Economy Coalition, there are "Different Types of Collaborative Platforms":


P2P business models allow everyday citizens to rent, sell and share their homes, cars, bikes and services. These platforms allow families to create income out of otherwise non-producing assets, while giving consumers an alternative to services that are otherwise prohibitively expensive for them. Some P2P platforms allow consumers to directly buy professional creative and logistical services, while others empower citizens to give loans and startup capital to aspiring small businesspeople across America and the developing world.


Crowdsourcing platforms create a pure competitive marketplace for creative talent and services. These platforms allow consumers to easily announce their creative or logistical needs to the crowd, and then choose the highest quality and most competitively priced submission.

Collaborative online markets

Online marketplaces provide individuals access to globalization. Some online markets like Etsy provide a platform for consumers to buy directly from small businesses and artisans, allowing those small businesses to scale up their production and compete with mega-retailers. Other platforms allow consumers to sell, rent, and buy pre-owned goods, thus creating cashflow for families and a market for affordable items.

Group Purchasing Platforms

Some collaborative models use technology to allow consumers to leverage group bargaining and increase their purchasing power by connecting consumers with similar interests. These models aim to create perfect equilibrium of supply and demand, allowing small businesses to scale their businesses rapidly while also providing consumers the most competitive prices possible." (


From Ouishare:

"This phenomena can be seen as the sum of the following developments:

The Sharing Economy aka Collaborative Consumption

Collaborative consumption is the seamless circulation of products and services among individuals through sharing, swapping, trading, renting, borrowing or giving, fostering access over ownership and reducing waste.

Crowdfunding and Person-to-Person Banking

Crowdfunding and person-to-person banking enable the circulation of capital between individuals to fund creative, social and entrepreneurial projects.

Open Knowledge

Open knowledge enables anyone to freely use, reuse, and redistribute knowledge such as content, data, code or designs. This principle is the foundation of commons-based peer production (such as free software, the creative commons, open science, …) as well as open education, open data and open governance.

Makers, Open Design & Manufacturing

Open design and manufacturing democratize the process of designing, producing and distributing physical goods by combining open knowledge with distributed infrastructures. They rely on tools, spaces, communities and marketplaces and are fueled by the maker movement, the culture of hacking and Do-It-Yourself (DIY).

Open and Horizontal Governance

open and horizontal governance are transforming organizations, public services and civic action. Leading examples include civic engagement platforms, participatory budgeting, open government initiatives, co-operatives, open value networks, horizontal organizations, swarms, do-ocracries and holacracies." (

Short Citations

  • You'd think that crowds would have models for business, rather than business having models for crowds.

- Bruce Sterling (tweet)

Long Citations

Chris Carlson:

"Corporations ARE the problem as the common institutional form of late capitalism, the social system that is the real root of poverty and inequality. Corporations are (temporarily) immortal, often unaccountable to national laws, brazenly criminal, murderous, and have only one purpose: to accumulate capital. They are not, and cannot be, moral actors in society. Even if the most pious, ascetic monks were put in charge of large corporations, the fiduciary responsibility of corporate leaders is to ensure the growth of profits and wealth for the stockholders or private owners. Corporations are not formed to do anything useful or beneficial to humans (except as an accidental byproduct), nor other species, nor the planet as a whole, unless (and only if) the activity produces profits. Corporate leaders can be personally very greedy or completely indifferent to personal wealth. It does not matter. If they don’t show steadily increasing “growth” (accumulating capital) they will be replaced by the next interchangeable “captain of industry.” (

General overview table

Co-Creative‎ Collaborative Distributed Participatory Socially-driven Amateur Citizen Community Crowd Peer User



Co-Creating Health Services

Non-Market Co-Creation




Mass Collaboration

Large-scale Internet Collaboration

Coordination Theory and Collaboration Technology

Collaboration Theory

Collaboration Pyramid

Collaborative Intelligence

Synergystic Cooperation

Contingent Cooperation



Collaborative Innovation Networks

Collaborative Innovation at Michelin

Cooperative Innovation at Aventis

Collaborative Investment Research

Cooperative Economics

Cooperative Capitalism

Cooperative Capital

Collaboration Marketing

Collaborative Authorship

Collaborative Content Distribution

Asynchronous Collaborative Music Recording

Collaborative Citizen Journalism

Collaborative Photojournalism

Collaborative Defense


Distributive Production

Distributed Intellectual Product Right

Distributed Constructionism

Distributed Network

Distributed Social Networking

Distributed Systems Online

Distributed Computation

Participative Business Models

Participatory Management

Participatory Management - Semco

Ricardo Semler on Participatory Management

Participatory Culture

Participative Epistemology

Participatory Journalism

Participative Public Services

Participatory Spirituality

Participatory Urban Planning

Participatory Video

Social Capital

Socially Responsible Trading Networks

Social Commerce

Social Economy

Social Economy - Europe

Amateur Class

Amateur Collectives

Mass Amateurization

Professional Amateurs

Civic Agriculture

Citizen Journalism

Collaborative Citizen Journalism

Citizen Science

Citizen Engineers

Citizen Marketers

Civic Capitalism

Civil Corporation

Civil Economy

Civic Intelligence

Citizen Ownership

Citizen Stake

Community Supported Manufacturing

Community Supported Agriculture

Agriculture Supported Communities

Community Supported Bakeries

Community Currencies

Community Wireless

Community Water-Management Systems

Knowledge Building Community

Community-Driven Investigations

Self-Generating Practitioner Community

Community-Based Tools in Science



Crowd Accelerated Innovation


Crowd Curation

Crowd Clout

Crowd Science

Energy Crowd

Curated Crowds‎

Crowdsourcing Business Models



Crowd Contests



Peer Production

Commons-Based Peer Production

Peer to Peer Lending

Peer to Peer Credit Architecture

Peer to Peer Energy Trading

Peer-to-Peer Product-Service Systems

Peer to Peer Risk Allocation

Peer to Peer Camping

P2P Energy Grid

Peer to Peer Exchanges

P2P Filesharing

Peer to Peer Petsitting

User-Centered Innovation

User Innovation Theory

Understanding User-Driven Innovation

User-Generated Ecosystem

User-Generated Content

User-Filtered Content

User-Driven Advertizing

User-Created Advertizing

User-Capitalized Networks

Overview Pages

  1. Amateur-Driven Value Creation
  2. Citizen-Driven Value Creation
  3. Community-Driven Value Creation
  4. Crowd-Driven Value Creation
  5. Peer-Driven Value Creation
  6. User-Driven Value Creation

And also:

  1. Co-Creative Value Creation‎‎
  2. Collaborative Value Creation
  3. Distributed Value Creation
  4. Participatory Value Creation
  5. Socially-Driven Value Creation

Important Definitions

Via [3]:

  • Innovation Networks = “Firms seamlessly weave internally and externally available invention and innovation services to optimize the profitability of their products, services, and business models.” [4]
  • Crowdsourcing = sourcing small and large jobs from anyone and everyone.
  • Expert Sourcing = sourcing from specialized, professional-grade, vetted experts.
  • Wisdom of Crowds = the wisdom of the crowd’s collective intelligence outweighs any individuals.)

Related Wiki sections


"The 20th century was preoccupied with organizing the mass production system ... in the century to come ... how more people can collaborate more effectively on creating new ideas."

- Charles Leadbeater, in: We Think

-"In the economy of things yo uare identified by what you own. In the economy of ideas you are what you share."

- Charles Leadbeater, in: We Think

Long Citations

Scaling Up From One

Scale up from one: Regular people and small manufacturing companies that lack investment capital will be able to set up low investment, “start small and scale up as it goes” businesses. Thanks to the low-cost Internet virtual storefronts, and the low cost of small-scale manufacturing for prototypes and custom goods, new companies can get started on a shoestring budget, yet sell their wares or services to niche, global marketplaces.

- Hod Lipson & Melba Kurman [5]

How Social Enables Shared Alignment in the Purpose-Driven Business

"When you have shared purpose, it doesn’t matter how many people work “in the company” and how many work “with” the company or how many are serving as an army of volunteers who want to advance the mission. What will it look like to lead an organization when only 5% of talent affecting output is directly on payroll, and others come and go? Organizations will not need to be big to have a big impact. But they will need an extremely clear purpose, and shared, decentralized power throughout. When a clear purpose is coupled with shared power, people can self-organize to reach the goal.

In essence, organizations will finally act flat because they will actually be flat. (And, of course, this affects management’s role and how we all manage our careers. More on that in future posts.)

Work is freed. This changes not only how we work at the broadest levels — and how we organize every single part of our organizations — but what we make, how we produce and distribute it, and how we market and sell it. Is that scary? For many, yes. But, for better or worse, social is giving us this freedom."

- Nilover Merchant [6]

Citizens United in Cooperative and Participative Entrepreneurship

"Citizens unite to compete with multinationals: this is the entrepreneurship of the future; the entrepreneurship based on cooperation and participation as the key to develop large human organizations able to recover local production and to reactivate the economy. The cooperative and participative organizations apply an innovative approach to grow in a massive way: the members of the organization participate very actively in the co-creation, management and development of the cooperative. In cooperative and participative organizations the clients are the owners of the organization. They do not ask for money to banks or investors, they self-finance. They are non-lucrative structures with an aim of changing the current model by adding as many members as possible. Some success cases are Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn or Som Energia in Spain."

- Enladiana [7]


Interesting innovations:

Rachel Botsman, author of the book, What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, expects the consumer peer-to-peer rental market to become a $26 billion industry." (


"Uniiverse has collated some startling figures detailing the opportunity space of ‘idlesourcing’:

  • There are one billion cars on the road, 740 million of them carrying only one person, and 470m would be willing to carpool.
  • There are 460 million homes in the developed world, with on average $3,000 worth of unused items available; and 69% of households would share these items if they could earn some money from it
  • 300 million people in the developed world spend more than 20% of their waking hours alone and are looking for connection
  • of the 2 billion internet-connected people in the world, 78% declare that their online experience has made them more amenable to sharing in the ‘real world’ (this conversion from online to offline sharing behaviour is confirmed by the Latitude Research survey). 80% of the 7 billion people on the planet today would declare that sharing makes them more happy. This means 5.7b people would be ready for a sharing economy."


See also the video: The Social Basis for a Sharing Economy

Sharing Directory

(Note: the links in this section no longer work, 2019)

  1. accessories & gifts
  2. books & writing ,
  3. business & innovation , (Book Commons
  4. careers, jobs & vocation ,
  5. creativity, media & the arts ,
  6. diy ,
  7. education ,
  8. energy , Sharing Energy
  9. entertainment ,
  10. farming & gardening ,
  11. fashion & clothing ,
  12. finance & economics ,
  13. food & drink ,
  14. government ,
  15. health & fitness ,
  16. home improvement ,
  17. kids' stuff ,
  18. marketing services ,
  19. mobility ,
  20. natural resources & environment ,
  21. real estate ,
  22. seasonal & holidays ,
  23. technology & data ,
  24. travel ,
  25. upcycling & recycling ,

Key Resources

  1. News about the Sharing Economy via Twitter
  2. Innovation in Collaborative Consumption, monitor innovative initiatives here
  3. The Collaborative Economy Coalition promotes the continued success of collaborative business models by advocating for policy that defends and advances sustainable local enterprise and micro-entrepreneurism.


  1. Shareable magazine

Key Articles

  • How Personal Fabrication Will Change Manufacturing and the Economy. Hod Lipson & Melba Kurman, in [email protected], pp. 51+. It contributes to: Ecosystems of small manufacturers; Long tail niche markets; Economic emergence of underserved communities; Consumer-led product design; Scale up from one; Mass customization and crowdsourcing; Eco-conscious and subsistence-level manufacturing; Less market research, more toolkits


  • [[Defining the Sharing vs the Collaborative vs the Participatory Economy]]. By Tiberius Brastaviceanu. [13]




  • Report: The Rise of the Micro-Multinational: How Freelancers and Technology-Savvy Start-Ups Are Driving Growth, Jobs and Innovation. By Ann Mettler and Anthony D. Williams. Lisbon Council Policy Brief, 2013. [14]: contains 8 policy proposals.

The interplay between open source and capitalism

Key Books

Key Case Studies

  • See the case study on the Glif iphone tripod for an example of integrated distributed funding, design, manufacturing, marketing, and fullfilment.

Key Movements


  1. Consumo Colaborativo‎, Spain
  2. KoKonsum, Germany
  3. People Who Share‎, UK
  4. Unstash, Toronto, Canada


  1. Collaborative Chats‎, San Francisco, USA
  2. Let’s Collaborate‎, NYC
  3. Share Exchange‎, Santa Rosa, USA
  4. Share Tompkins‎, Ithaca, NY
  5. Shared Squared, NYC
  6. Sharers of San Francisco‎

Key Statistics

"According to MIT Sloan Expert Jaime Contreras, the collaborative economy is far more than just a rapidly growing, nouveau approach to business; it could actually turn out to be a billion-dollar cash cow. A 110-billion-dollar cash cow, to be exact.

From MITS:\ “Today the sharing economy — the peer-to-peer exchange of goods and services — is being called next big trend in social commerce, and represents what some analysts say is a potential $110 billion market. Internet technology and access to information allow us to share our belongings with others more easily than ever before and wring value out of stuff we already own. That, coupled with many people’s desire to lead greener, less consumptive lives, is driving this trend.” (

The 2014 Shift in Business Mentality

The shift is happening at the core of business and capitalism as much as at the bottom: "Companies are increasingly eager to work together on research, development, and production. Last year, nervous about protecting their intellectual property, only 38% of executives were looking to collaborate more; today 77% report the risks associated with collaboration are worth taking. Two-thirds (64%) of executives are already engaged in collaborative activities. We are witnessing the rise of the global brain, where experts from outside are brought in—as knowledge is shared across industries and geographies. The democratization of technology is enabling a growing new generation of entrepreneurs who need partners to help them scale. Already 59% of businesses use open source innovation, involving partners such as entrepreneurs, to develop new ideas." (

See also, documenting a previous civic shift to trust in peers: the Edelman Peer Trust Barometer

Key Videos


  • Solidarity Economy concept map:
  • A Taxonomy of the Collaborative Economy by Sharon Ede
Aspect Less Desirable Characteristics Preferable Characteristics Notes
Value Commodifies - Transactional economy, value created is partially or fully captured by a few Commonifies - Solidarity/gift economy, commons based peer production, value created is shared Does it turn nature into products and relationships into services? Does it protect and expand commons? - Market does not always = bad, however markets that require jobs and money to participate will exclude people - Monetisation may or may not be a feature, the key distinction is what happens to surplus and whether it is privatised/captured, or reinvested/circulated
Extractive - Extracts value from nature or people and captures it for the benefit of a few - For Profit = legal fiduciary responsibility to generate and distribute profit privately, often at social and environmental cost Regenerative - Reinvests value back into a system - Not For Profit - legally prevented from privatising surplus (this is a significant difference from B Corp, Corporate Social Responsibility) – predistribution, rather than tax and redistribute Does it build social capital, or tend to degrade it? Does it foster security or precarity? - Does it conserve natural capital or consume it (eg. does exchange of surplus stuff actually displace new purchases? Does it encourage consumption that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred?) - Does it create rebound effects (eg. people buying a car to drive for a ridesharing platform?)
POWER - Who owns it? Centralised - Power is in the hands of a few, who may seek to capture value Distributed - Power is in the hands of many, which may provide some immunity from value capture ‘Distributed’ does = ‘good’ or inclusive eg. Bitcoin - ‘Centralised’ does not always = bad
Exclusive - Exclusion (which is not always monetary) locks people out of participation and the ability to benefit from value creation and exchange Inclusive/Participatory - Inclusion is more likely to result in value being shared Does it allow everyone who wants to participate to do so? - Are there opportunities for people to participate in creation and design?
(To be added) Mediated - Third party in between to orchestrate exchange, verify Disintermediated - No middle man or third party extracting value Mediated may = good (trust/verification)