Task Auctioning

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A proposal for the organization of work in a physical economy based on Peer Production, in his book From Exchange to Contributions


From Stefan Meretz:

"Now, how can needs of the producers be coordinated with the needs of the consumers? Today peer projects can function, because peers dispose of production means and because non-physical goods being once created can almost arbitrarily be reproduced. This does not apply to the physical world. Peer projects of physical goods have to demand an adequate compensation for the taking of goods requiring each time anew an effort to produce them.

But which contribution is adequate? This question is decided by the project. It weights the contributions using the time duration inversely proportional to its popularity: unpopular tasks only require a small contribution, while popular tasks require a big contribution. This sounds similar to role the economic value is playing in market economy.

The economic value maps complex actions on simple once. However, while always complex actions are manifolds of simple once---resulting in less volume of spending---a generalized peer production tend to function the other way around: Simple tasks no one likes to do will be highly weighted to guarantee its execution, while popular and often highly qualified tasks get a lower weight. The weighting---according to the proposal---is nothing static, but is permanently adjusted. This adjustment is done automatically using an »auctioning system« mediating demand and supply. Thus one hour garbage removal can thoroughly correspond to one week writing computer programs.

Concerning the allocation of the goods peer projects join together and form distribution pools, in order to be able to provide a larger bandwith of useful goods. At the same time the project extent should (but not need to) be straightforward, problems should be handled directly »peer to peer«. Everybody contributing something to a local project can gather goods from the respective distribution pool. Depending on the type of goods the ways of disribution differ, from flat rate allocation to preference weighting."

Key Book to Read

Christian Siefkes. From Exchange to Contributions.