Time Scales for P2P Oriented Change

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Michel Bauwens

Sam Rose

"I think the projections I've seen on P2P foundation list of "30 years","50 years" etc are too long for:

1. Radical change in biosphere (enough changes to cause significant pressure on people employing industrial era approaches)

2. Shift to commons and p2p based approaches

An argument can be made that in as little as 10-15 years, multiple pressures will coincide all at the same time. Peak oil figures are set near 2030 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil speed up of Arctic and Antarctic thaw right now http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100404/sc_nm/us_climate_nitrous by 2030 it is plausible that we will have already passed the tipping point for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affecting climates world wide.

Food and energy demand are projected to increase by 50% by 2030, fresh water by 30% http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/5967/812 India and China (2 most populous nations) both warn their populations that their demand will outstrip their supplies severely by 2030 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_crisis (links there to reports on this subject)

Many food producing corporations that run industrial farming operations are switching large scale agricultural production to biofuel http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/2009/10/12/118291/Massive-increase-in-global-biofuel-production.htm which can further increase food costs by raising commodity prices worldwide, and causing food shortages. This price and biofuel production increase is already happening now.

Meanwhile, multiple corporations are relentlessly pursuing total control of communications infrastructure, (and already have total control of) financial systems, energy and food distribution, etc

So, by 2030 (not later) it is plausible that we will already be in a state where millions, if not billions will be marginalized by all existing basic sustenance systems (food, water, energy, access).

Stuart Kauffman, and other complex systems theorists have shown that in all systems, change tends to happen in an "s curve" fashion. Kauffman uses a sandpile as an example in his book "At Home In The Universe". He describes the data signature of a massive pile of sand collapsing. First small bits fall of, then large chunks, then larger and larger, faster and faster. The total rate of collapse towards the end is exponentially faster than the beginning. I think we are seeing the same with global human systems now, and that we are *now* in the beginning time of collapse, with signals already present around the world. This means we have maybe 15 years, starting *now*, to start changing things in significant ways for at least 45% or more of people on the earth. 45% minimum probably will get us enough inertia in the opposite direction to slow down the momentum that is starting *now*." (email, May 2010)

Joss Winn

"The growing consensus is that the peak of conventional oil was in 2005 and that the peak of all liquid fuels will be between 2010 - 2014.

I've summarised this and a few other things relating to climate, technology and efficiency, here:


Since writing that, a paper from an Oxford University research group (including ex-Chief Scientific Advisor to UK gov, Sr. David King) has added to the growing Peak Oil consensus.


(email, May 2010)