P2P Book of the Year 2013
Neoliberal vs. P2P Culture
- The Making Of The Indebted Man. Essay on the Neoliberal Condition. By Maurizio Lazzarato. Semiotexte, 2013.
The debtor-creditor relation, which is at the heart of this book, sharpens mechanisms of exploitation and domination indiscriminately, since, in it, there is no distinction between workers and the unemployed, consumers and producers, working and non-working populations, between retirees and welfare recipients. They are all “debtors,” guilty and responsible in the eyes of capital, which has become the Great, the Universal, Creditor.
- The Open Book. Ed. by Jussi Nissilä, Kaitlyn Braybrooke et al. Reaktio, 2013.
The Open Book has been built by The Finnish Institute in London and the Open Knowledge Foundation in honour of the first Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki. It is the third book in the Reaktio series.
"From makerspaces to data wrangling schools to archives, the digital is being remixed by the open – and it is changing society as we know it. New concepts about public information, transparency and the Commons are combining in unprecedented ways, resulting in a breadth of transformative collaborations across the globe.
The Open Book explores the social and technological manifestations of this emergent movement for the first time. It features 25 in-depth thought pieces written by pioneers of openness around the world from London to São Paulo, including the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Rufus Pollock, the Free Software Foundation’s Karsten Gerloff, Open Data Manchester’s Julian Tate, IBM’s Ville Peltola, the Centre for Sustainable Communications’ Jorge Luis Zapico, The Guardian’s Simon Rogers, the Open Hardware Summit’s Catarina Mota, Open Design Now‘s Peter Troxler and the Harvard Berkman Centre for Internet & Society’s Mayo Fuster Morell.
- The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World. Marina Gorbis. Free Press, 2013.
"Large corporations, big governments, and other centralized organizations have long determined and dominated the way we work, access healthcare, get an education, feed ourselves, and generally go about our lives. The economist Ronald Coase, in his famous 1937 paper “The Nature of the Firm,” provided an economic explanation for this: Organizations lowered transaction costs, making the provision of goods and services cheap, efficient, and reliable. Today, this organizational advantage is rapidly disappearing. The Internet is lowering transaction costs—costs of connection, coordination, and trade—and pointing to a future that increasingly favors distributed sources and social solutions to some of our most immediate needs and our most intractable problems.
How to Change the World
- What Then Must We Do? Gar Alperovitz.
"argues that a new system, one that is not corporate capitalism and not state socialism but something new entirely, could “democratize the ownership of wealth, strengthen communities in diverse ways, and be governed by policies and institutions sophisticated enough to manage a large-scale, powerful economy.”
- Book: Leading from the Emerging Future - From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies. Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer.
Via Kelvy Bird:
"In their new book Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer suggest that addressing today’s global challenges requires a threefold revolution: a revolution of economic thought from ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness, a revolution of relationships among partners and stakeholders from reactive to generative, and an institutional revolution from hierarchy and organizing around special interest to co-creative eco-systems and organizing around commons. Their intention is to contribute to the currently emerging global transformation and new economy movement by connecting the dots across eight acupuncture points. The authors feel these points need to be addressed in order to lead personal, relational, and institutional transformation to a new economy that creates well-being and happiness for all. The book also offers a short introduction to Theory U and presencing, that is, the art and practice of leading from the emerging future."
The New Politics
- Swarmwise. By Rick Falkvinge. 2013
- Book and PhD: Networked Disruption: Rethinking Oppositions in Art, Hacktivism and the Business of Social Networking. Tatiana Bazzichelli. PhD Dissertation Department of Aesthetics and Communication. Faculty of Arts Aarhus University. 2013
First published in 2013 by Digital Aesthetics Research Center, Aarhus University, Helsingforsgade 14, DK-8200 Aarhus N, Denmark. www.digital-aestetik.dk PhD Dissertation: Tatiana Bazzichelli – Aarhus University, 2011. Supervisor: Søren Pold, Aarhus University, Denmark. Co-supervisor: Fred Turner, Stanford University, California. Examining committee: Franco Berardi, Geoff Cox, Olga Goriunova.
- Robert W. McChesney. Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy. New Press, 2013
Review by Greg Macdougall:
"discusses how politics and the "capitalist*" economic system of the United States has very much warped the initial vision and potential of a non-commercial democratic Internet. In it noted scholar and activist Robert W. McChesney does a good job of illustrating the "banana republic" -- that is the corporately-controlled -- status of the U.S. state.
Beyond just communication media, McChesney describes how for the overall society, "what is emerging veers toward a classic definition of fascism: the state and large corporations working hand in hand to promote corporate interests, and a state preoccupied with militarism, secrecy, propaganda and surveillance." And this understanding of U.S. society is very important in understanding the business of the Internet.
- Ron Deibert. Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace.
From the publisher/author:
"Cyberspace is all around us. We depend on it for everything we do. We have reengineered our business, governance, and social relations around a planetary network unlike any before it. But there are dangers looming, and malign forces are threatening to transform this extraordinary domain.
In Black Code, Ronald J. Deibert, a leading expert on digital technology, security, and human rights, lifts the lid on cyberspace and shows what’s at stake for Internet users and citizens.
Protecting and Sustaining the Commons
- Nature for Sale. The Commons versus Commodities. Giovanna Ricoveri. Pluto Press, 2013.
"Nature for Sale uncovers the rich heritage of common ownership which existed before the dominance of capitalist property relations. Giovanna Ricoveri argues that the subsistence commons of the past can be reinvented today to provide an alternative to the current destructive economic order.
Ricoveri outlines the distinct features of common ownership as it has existed in history: cooperation, sustainable use of natural resources and decision-making through direct democracy. In doing so, she shows how it is possible to provide goods and services which are not commodities exchanged on the capitalistic market, something still demonstrated today in village communities across the global South.
- Sustaining the Commons. By John M. Anderies and Marco A. Janssen. Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, 2013.
"For newcomers to the commons wishing to acquaint themselves with Elinor Ostrom’s work, it can be a hard slog. Her scholarly treatises, while often quite insightful, can be quite dense in delivering their hard research results and refined insights. It is a real pleasure, therefore, to greet Sustaining the Commons, a new undergraduate textbook that has just been published. The book provides a general overview of the intellectual framework, concepts and applications of Ostrom’s research on the commons.
- Hungry Capital. The Financialization of Food. Luigi Russi. Zero Books, 2013
"Over the past thirty years, the ability of global finance to affect aspects of everyday life has been increasing at an unprecedented rate. The world of food bears vivid testimony to this tendency, through the scars opened by the 2008 world food price crisis, the iron fist of retailing giants that occupy the supply chain and the unsustainable ecological footprint left behind by global production networks.
Hungry Capital offers a rigorous analysis of the influence that financial imperatives exert on the food economy at different levels: from the direct use of edible commodities as an object of speculation to the complex food chains set up by manufacturers and supermarkets. It argues that the circular compulsion to build profits upon profits that global finance injects into the world of food restructures the basic nurturing relationship between man and nature into a streamlined process from which value has to be mined. The end result is a monstrous Leviathan that holds together while – at every step – risks to crumble." (http://www.zero-books.net/books/hungry-capital)
- Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership. By Andro Linklater. Bloomsbury, 2013.
Review from David Bollier:
"the new book .. describes how the Pilgrims imposed their notions of private property on the land commons in the New World. The consequences – while perhaps inevitable, whether from them or other settlers – were nonetheless pivotal in the future development of America.
- Water Governance for 21st Century. Lessons from Water Trading in the U.S. and Australia. by Shiney Varghese. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 2013.
From a Review by Ana Micka:
"Water Governance for 21st Century, by Shiney Varghese at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, makes a compelling case urging advcates and policy makers to advance an approach combining the commons framework and the Public Trust Doctrine principles. Shiney notes that the tendency of recent trends to rely on market and rights–based policies has exaccerbated the failures in water governance. These approaches do not “solve problems such as poor management, existing over-allocation or failing water governance.”
- Factories Of Knowledge, Industries Of Creativity. By Gerald Raunig. MIT Press, 2013.
"What was once the factory is now the university. As deindustrialization spreads and the working class is decentralized, new means of social resistance and political activism need to be sought in what may be the last places where they are possible: the university and the art world. Gerald Raunig’s new book analyzes the potential that cognitive and creative labor has in these two arenas to resist the new regimes of domination imposed by cognitive capitalism. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s concept of “modulation” as the market-driven imperative for the constant transformation and reinvention of subjectivity, in Factories of Knowledge, Industries of Creativity, Raunig charts alternative horizons for resistance.
Looking at recent social struggles including the university strikes in Europe, the Spanish ¡Democracia real YA! organization, the Arab revolts, and the Occupy movement, Raunig argues for a reassessment of the importance of cultural and knowledge production. The central role of the university, he asserts, is not as a factory of knowledge but as a place of creative disobedience."
- Hacking Your Education. Dale Stephens. Penguin, 2013
'Hacking Your Education is a practical guide to adapting Homeschooling and Unschooling principles for college age learners. In the book, Dale helps people learn how to challenge themselves when college is not meeting their needs. From practical tips for newcomers, such as how to form peer accountability and study groups, to advice on how to find experienced mentors and turn your knowledge and networking directly into a paying job, Dale provides a framework for success outside the traditional college system. I highly recommend you read this book if you are thinking about going to college or are teaching someone who is considering heading in that direction." (http://www.uncollege.org/blog/2012/12/12/free-pre-release-copy-of-hacking-you-education/)
- Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity into Prosperity. By Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne.
"The crux of the argument of the book is that local currencies have far greater velocity or turnover than national currencies."
Review from John Lett:
"Easily the best book I have read this year. Financial systems and currencies are not new topical areas for me but I was pleasantly surprised and then outraged with what I learned from some case studies in this new release by Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne. Many of you reading are already familiar with the Chiemgauer, Brixton pound, and other alternative, local currencies in operation right now in the US, Germany, UK, and elsewhere. We are also regularly informed that a solution to long-term economic stagnation is to go back to gold-backed currency and that devaluation is primarily attributed to the floating currency policies initiated in the 1960s and 70s. However, these authors convincingly argue otherwise with both startling historical precedents and emergent strategies taking place in the present day.
The crux of the argument of the book is that local currencies have far greater velocity or turnover than national currencies. The key factor that seems to underpin a successful operation, in addition to mutual trust, is a slight demurrage fee, meaning in this case that the currency must lose a small portion of its value in 30 to 90 days in order to encourage movement, which is the essential factor in wealth creation (or sensation)."
- Alternative Currency Adaptor, the DYNDY Reader for Digital Currency Design. Jaromil and DYNDY, 2013
"After a selection of the best pieces that we have humbly put together to date and together with a most welcome contribution from Prof. Adam Arvidsson, the result is AC-Adaptor or Alternative Currency Adaptor, the DYNDY Reader for Digital Currency Design. True, the theoretical and political reflections emerged in more than three years of conferencing, networking and study had brought us to crossing the threshold with the real socio-economy. Designed around a ‘lean user experience’ methodology, D-CENT is a project that will create a virtual pan-European Collective Awareness Platform hosting tools for aggregate democratic decision-making to the benefit of social movements in Spain, Iceland and Finland. On top of the CAP, a second pilot on Social Digital Currencies will see Freecoin – a Bitcoin based client for customizing the genesis block in order to issue alternative and complementary digital currencies while adding tailor made modules conditioning the currency and communicating with the blockchain, and Threadgate – a geo-localised market place for the horizontal exchange of value among D-CENT users.
- Biohackers. The Politics of Open Science. Alessandro Delfanti. Pluto Press, 2013.
a book about Open Source in Genomics, not only the diybio movement but more in general how open science culture and practices interact with today's innovation and market system.
- Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs. by Dr. Joshua M. Pearce. Elsevier, 2013
"This guide details the development of the free and open-source hardware revolution and provides you with step-by-step instructions on building your own laboratory hardware."
The New Media
- Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives. Unlike Us Reader #3. Institute for Network Cultures, 2013
"The Unlike Us Reader offers a critical examination of social media, bringing together theoretical essays, personal discussions, and artistic manifestos. How can we understand the social media we use everyday, or consciously choose not to use? We know very well that monopolies control social media, but what are the alternatives? While Facebook continues to increase its user population and combines loose privacy restrictions with control over data, many researchers, programmers, and activists turn towards designing a decentralized future. Through understanding the big networks from within, be it by philosophy or art, new perspectives emerge.
- Spreadable Media. Henry Jenkins (with Sam Ford and Joshua Green), 2013.
Review by Tiziano Bonini:
"The book’s basic idea is that we are facing a changing in the paradigm of the form in which the cultural contents circulate within a society. It is emerging a hybrid model of circulation, the result of the mix between top-down institutional strategies (media corporations that decide what produce and when launch a film/record/TV series/bestseller book/event) and bottom-up strategies. The control over the contents produced by media is not anymore strictly in their hands, it is instead negotiated with the media public, today linked with webs and able to establish, through the Web sharing, the popularity or the failure of a certain content.
As clearly emerge from the book, the spreadability is the characteristic of some media texts of being suitable for diffusion. A film that comes out in cinemas throughout the world but is not available for online streaming and can not be remixed is not spreadable and lends itself to piracy. A prominent example of what this spreadability means is the case of Susan Boyle, candidate to the English TV program Britain Got Talent. The audience judged the audition so amazingly that the YouTube video of that performance has been shared by millions of people, and went form hand to hand, reaching 77 millions of visualisations without the help of any top-down promotional strategy.
The New Public Sphere
- Digital Public Spaces. Ed. by Drew Hemment, Rachel Cooper et al. FutureEverything, 2013
"This publication gathers a range of short explorations of the idea of the Digital Public Space. The central vision of the Digital Public Space is to give everyone everywhere unrestricted access to an open resource of culture and knowledge. This vision has emerged from ideas around building platforms for engagement around cultural archives to become something wider, which this publication is seeking to hone and explore.
This is the first publication to look at the emergence of the Digital Public Space. Contributors include some of the people who are working to make the Digital Public Space happen."
- PUBLIC AND COLLABORATIVE. EXPLORING THE INTERSECTION OF DESIGN, SOCIAL INNOVATION AND PUBLIC POLICY. edited by Ezio Manzini and Eduardo Staszowski. DESIS, 2013
URL = http://desis-dop.org/ download
"This book edited by Ezio Manzini and Eduardo Staszowski documents and presents some reflections on efforts of DESIS Labs in Europe, Canada, and the United States that are participating in the Public and Collaborative Thematic Cluster. It includes 11 articles that present from a critical perspective the labs' projects and activities during the 2012-2013 period. The book opens with Christian Bason's paper, Discovering Co-production by Design. In this paper Bason, Director of Denmark's MindLab, proposes a broad view of how design is entering the public realm and the policymaking processes. His essay offers updated and stimulating context for the entire book." (http://desis-dop.org/)
= a digital cultural theory online journal and a book
URL = http://www.cyborgsubjects.org amazon
Excerpted from the preface, by Bonni Rambatan and Jacob Johanssen:
"In 2010, we set out to create a platform for two things we love and value: freedom of critical thought and digital culture. We wanted to create something that would testify of something major of our contemporary age. Having grown up with the Internet, we, the unknown digital kids, hoped to create a website that would be different from traditional academia: Cyborg Subjects was born. The major idea behind it was not only to freely publish articles that dealt with a broad range of themes and debates of the zeitgeist but to create a transparent and lively debate. We wanted to have an open review system where everything would be published and everyone could add their 2 virtual cents to an essay or artwork. This was an attack on the monopoly publishers in academia.
This anthology is a compilation of essays published in the online journal “Cyborg Subjects: Discourses on Digital Culture” circa 2010-2012. The journal started out as an experiment: curated works—artistic or essay—submitted to us via e-mail were posted online, free for anyone to review (with comments) and/or adapt (by creating new posts linking back to the original article).
- Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection. By Ethan Zuckerman. Norton, 2013
"In Rewire, media scholar and activist Ethan Zuckerman explains why the technological ability to communicate with someone does not inevitably lead to increased human connection. At the most basic level, our human tendency to “flock together” means that most of our interactions, online or off, are with a small set of people with whom we have much in common. In examining this fundamental tendency, Zuckerman draws on his own work as well as the latest research in psychology and sociology to consider technology’s role in disconnecting ourselves from the rest of the world.
For those who seek a wider picture—a picture now critical for survival in an age of global economic crises and pandemics—Zuckerman highlights the challenges, and the headway already made, in truly connecting people across cultures.
New cultures of work and leadership
- Ron Schultz, ed. Creating Good Work. Palgrave, 2013. amazon
Excerpt from Chapter 11, from competition to cooperation:
"The "culture of contest" that results from this is becoming increasingly maladaptive in an age of ever-increasing social and ecological interdependence. These maladaptive consequences can be seen in the growing disparities of wealth and poverty within and between most nation-states, and in the social conflict and instability that results. These consequences can also be seen in the mounting ecological crises that stem from a global race to liquidate the earth's ecological capital in the name of self-interested, short-term, material acquisition. And collaboration and alienationfinally, these consequences can be seen in the growing epidemic of alienation, depression, and anomy that characterize the most competitive societies today.
In order to move beyond the prevailing culture of contest and create a more just and sustainable social order, we need to critically reexamine the concept of competition itself. Competition, as the term is widely used today, tends to conflate two distinct sets of ideas that need to be disentangled. When people use the word "competition," they are often referring, simultaneously, to (a) the pursuit of excellence, innovation, and the establishment and productivity within a market system; and (b) the self-interested pursuit of mutually exclusive gains, with resultant winners and losers…
Once we disaggregate conventional notions of competition in this way, we can see that the most valuable aspects of "competition"- the pursuit of excellence, innovation, and productivity-are not contingent on self-interested behaviors, and they need not result in winners or losers. On the contrary, they assume their most mature form within a framework of cooperation and mutual gains-or a framework of collaboration."
- Peer-to-Peer Leadership: Why the Network Is the Leader. By Mila Baker. Berrett-Koehler, 2013
Sound and other Urban Commons
- Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century. By Alex Sayf Cummings.Oxford University Press, 2013
'It was a time when music fans copied and traded recordings without permission. An outraged music industry pushed Congress to pass anti-piracy legislation. Yes, that time is now; it was also the era of Napster in the 1990s, of cassette tapes in the 1970s, of reel-to-reel tapes in the 1950s, even the phonograph epoch of the 1930s. Piracy, it turns out, is as old as recorded music itself. In Democracy of Sound, Alex Sayf Cummings uncovers the little-known history of music piracy and its sweeping effects on the definition of copyright in the United States. When copyright emerged, only visual material such as books and maps were thought to deserve protection; even musical compositions were not included until 1831. Once a performance could be captured on a wax cylinder or vinyl disc, profound questions arose over the meaning of intellectual property. Is only a written composition defined as a piece of art? If a singer performs a different interpretation of a song, is it a new and distinct work? Such questions have only grown more pressing with the rise of sampling and other forms of musical pastiche. Indeed, music has become the prime battleground between piracy and copyright. It is compact, making it easy to copy. And it is highly social, shared or traded through social networks--often networks that arise around music itself. But such networks also pose a counter-argument: as channels for copying and sharing sounds, they were instrumental in nourishing hip-hop and other new forms of music central to American culture today. Piracy is not always a bad thing. An insightful and often entertaining look at the history of music piracy, Democracy of Sound offers invaluable background to one of the hot-button issues involving creativity and the law." (http://gen.lib.rus.ec/book/index.php?md5=a336096bf2d43e301b974b9d2d10999e)
- Malcolm McCullough. Ambient Commons: Attention in the Age of Embodied Information. MIT Press, 2013.
"The ambient commons consists of all of those things in our built environment, especially in cities, that we take for granted as part of the landscape: architectural design, urban spaces, designs that guide and inform our travels, amenities for social conviviality."
Review from David Bollier:
"“We move around with and among displays,” writes McCullough notes. “Global rectangles have become part of the [urban] scene; screens, large and small, appear everywhere. Physical locations are increasingly tagged and digitally augmented. Sensors, processes and memory are found not only in chic smartphones but also into everyday objects.”
In this transdisciplinary book of great erudition and yet clarity, McCullough tries to give us a conceptual framework for thinking about how our attention – via the ambient commons – is being rewired. Although this grand project of appropriating our mental environment is mostly the province of commercial interests, the democratization of smartphones and other digital technologies have given commoners their own tools for reclaiming the ambient commons to suit their needs. In other words, there is an unnamed contest underway that commoners should attend to.
- Unified Architectural Theory. Nikos Salingaros.
"what his book is all about: answering “the old and very disturbing question as to why architects and common people have diametrically opposed preferences for buildings.”
From the Introduction by Nikos Salingaros:
'The book itself arose from a lecture course on architecture theory I taught last year. Students were presented with the latest scientific results showing how human beings respond to different types of architectural forms and spaces. At the end of the course, everyone was sufficiently knowledgeable in the new methods to be able to evaluate for themselves which buildings, urban spaces, and interior settings were better suited for human beings.
The continuing copyright culture wars
- A Copyright Masquerade. Monica Horten.
Review from Parker Higgins (EFF):
"veteran journalist Dr. Monica Horten goes deep into those details to detail how the entertainment industries gain political sway, and how policymakers respond to the industry's advances.
Horten focuses on three recent policy initiatives, and painstakingly pulls together facts from publicly available sources about how those proposals came together. By comparing the development of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the Spanish "Ley Sinde," and the UK's Digital Economy Act, she draws a clear picture of the mechanisms that play into each of the debates, and who is behind them.
A major part of that story is the export of United States intellectual property policy abroad. To that end, Horten looks at the history and the development of the U.S. Trade Representative's annual "Special 301" report, a document mandated by law which must list countries that do not provide “adequate and protective” protection of intellectual property rights. Horten makes a solid case that U.S. entertainment industry lobbying played a direct and deliberate role in establishing the Special 301. With that background on Special 301, its role in shaping ACTA and Ley Sinde becomes that much more apparent.
- The Wealth of Ideas. Why we need free trade in ideas, rather than the mercantilist tax on innovation we call "intellectual property rights. Joren De Wachter. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013
URL = http://jorendewachter.com/wealth-ideas-download/ amazon
"Innovation and creativity are essential aspects of human society, at individual level, but also at the level of society. Public policy will aim to promote innovation and creativity, and allow their proceeds to benefit as many as possible. The most efficient way would be to increase the freedom to innovate and be creative. This book looks with a very critical eye at one of the cornerstones of public policy on innovation and creativity: intellectual property rights (“IPRs”), which proclaim to promote innovation and creativity. It provides answers to the three fundamental questions: 1. Is the theory sound and consistent? 2. Does it work in practice? 3. Is it fair?