[p2p-research] The Rise of the Diagonal Economy and the Transition to Decentralization

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 16 12:44:42 CEST 2009

 The Rise of the Diagonal Economy and the Transition to Decentralization

  Below is an outline of the general chapter structure of my next series of
posts—these on the notion of a “Diagonal Economy” (drawing from the use of
the term by Hardt and Negri <http://www.angelfire.com/cantina/negri/> ).  I
hope to 1) outline my positive vision for a post-peak-everything world, 2)
outline a set of principles and forces for use in decision making and
strategic planning, and 3) spur further discussion on the topic.  I’ve
linked this Table of Contents on my side bar—I won’t necessarily proceed
through these chapters uninterrupted over the next 13 weeks, so this TOC may
be useful in pulling the overall process together into one coherent piece:
 1.  Overview of the Diagonal Economy - (Lay out vision, discuss the
similarities and differences between the Diagonal Economy and existing gray
and black market economies, the meaning of “diagonal” compared to parallel
overlapping systems)
 2.  The Diagonal Economy and Energy Descent – (Why declining energy and net
energy will lead to reduction in the ability of hierarchal and centralized
systems to function, and why as a result we’ll need to revert to more
localized and smaller scales production systems, at least for most physical
goods.  Hierarchal and centralized systems don’t voluntarily downsize well,
and may not be able to adapt effectively to lower energy environments,
resulting in both a growing need/demand for the Diagonal Economy and a
growing low-competition space for it to flourish)
 3.  The Diagonal Economy and Sustainability – (Why the legacy hierarchal
economy is fundamentally unsustainable; the opportunity to build an economic
system compatible with true sustainability)
 4.  The Diagonal Economy and Human Ontogeny – (Why the legacy hierarchal
economy is fundamentally incompatible with human ontogeny; why that won’t be
resolved by merely allowing current institutions to collapse and
reconstitute on smaller scales; why the Diagonal Economy shows promise in
being able to overcome these issues and provide a high quality of life when
measured by a human-ontogeny-relevant metric while simultaneously dealing
well with energy descent and sustainability issues.  Propose new metric
based on fulfillment of humanity’s genetic ontogeny while providing
opportunity or spiritual growth)
 5.  The Diagonal Economy and The Power of Networks – (The Diagonal Economy
is not a regression to a less sophisticated form of organization—on the
contrary it is arguably a more sophisticated form of organization that
combines some elements of historical economics with new understanding of
network and information theory that is only now widely understood.  This
allows the Diagonal Economy to significantly fulfill human ontogeny while
simultaneously maintaining its own in direct competition with the legacy
hierarchal economy merely on “sales pitch” items of material
consumption—discussion on legacy-economy-sponsored states and use of force
 6.  The Diagonal Economy and the New Map – (Gray markets, non-Cartesian and
uneven conceptual terrain, and the re-opening of the map.  While all
politicians maintain that we live in “Nation-States,” this is already a
shallow statement, and energy descent will further the minimal extent to
which the state fulfills its constitutional promise to its theoretical
“nation.”  In reality, we’re slipping in to a market state system (some
places faster than others, or in different ways than others) but on
universal constant is the increasing ability for the Diagonal Economy to
gain ground)
 7.  The Diagonal Economy:  A Society of Entrepreneurs - (and
Entrepreneurial Communities)—and why this will be necessary as we transition
from Nation-State to Market-State.  Sharon Astyk (sp?) has written a book
called “A Nation of Farmers.”  I think we must take this a step further—“A
Society of Entrepreneurs.”  It goes unstated that farmers are entrepreneurs,
but all of us are ultimately entrepreneurs—it’s just that for most of us,
the business we choose to engage in is the sale of our time and services to
(usually) one customer in a specific job market, otherwise known as a “job.”

 8.  The Diagonal Economy and Localized Diversification – (People who work a
standard job don’t tend to think of themselves as entrepreneurs—and that’s a
poor entrepreneurial business plan. Family/Community Systems Design, and the
Resiliency of Multiple “Careers.  We all do several things, but we need to
start designing these systems of activities to most resiliently provide for
the goals of our families and communities, rather than assume that the State
will do so for us.)
 9.  The Diagonal Economy:  Surge Capacity as a Measure of Brittleness –
(Surge Economics and why working under capacity is beneficial)
 10.  The Diagonal Economy:  Resilient Quality of Life Metrics and the
Resurgence of Vernacular Technology - (how, when we begin to focus on
maximizing the resiliency of our quality of life, we will simultaneously
begin to shift toward the use of “vernacular” technologies that require
fewer concessions to unsustainable and hierarchal “other”)
 11.  The Diagonal Economy:  Localized and Peer-to-Peer Design and
Manufacturing – (Localized manufacturing, collaborative and open-source
design, and the potential boundary layer between the Diagonal Economy and
the Legacy Economy)
 12.  The Diagonal Economy:  Interface, Parasitism, and Boundary Layers with
the Legacy System – (Economic, Political, Legal, and Military interface and
relationships between the Diagonal Economy and the legacy hierarchal global
Nation-State/Corporate economic system)
 13.  The Diagonal Economy:  Overlaps and localization in law, sovereignty,
and the use of force in a post-peak-Nation-State World – (Lessons from
Mexico, the breakdown of exclusive legal systems, and the potential for
adaptation and resiliency by the emergent Diagonal Economy)
 One possible complement to this series is my plan to gradually go through
several strategic principles, systems thinking principles, game theory
concepts, and show their application to the ideas discussed on this site.  I
may intersperse these chapters with such strategic commentary where
appropriate, or I may integrate them into these posts.

Work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhurakij_Pundit_University - Research:
http://www.dpu.ac.th/dpuic/info/Research.html - Think thank:

P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net

Connect: http://p2pfoundation.ning.com; Discuss:

Updates: http://del.icio.us/mbauwens; http://friendfeed.com/mbauwens;
http://twitter.com/mbauwens; http://www.facebook.com/mbauwens
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