[p2p-research] Building Alliances

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Fri Nov 6 16:29:23 CET 2009


I agree with your main point.

Some stuff I have written on this theme on philanthropic and state funding 
the creation of the digital commons:

Essential links to other discussions, from the list link:

"Slashdot | Is Open Source the Answer To Giving?"
"Mark Surman, Shuttleworth Foundation fellow, writes that open source is the
answer to philanthropy's $55 trillion question: how to spend the money
expected to flow into foundations over the next 25 years. While others have
lashed out at 'Philanthro-Capitalism' — claiming that the charitable giving
of Gates and others simply extends power in the market to power over society
— Surman believes that open source shows the way to the harmonious yin-yang
of business and not-for-profit. Sun, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Yahoo, and
Facebook are big backers of Creative Commons; Mozilla has spawned two
for-profits. Open source shows that philanthropy and business can cohabit
and mutually thrive. Indeed, philanthropy might learn from open source to
find new ways to organize itself for spending that $55 trillion."

"Philanthropy on the commons"
"From where I sit, much of what Edwards says seems wrong or misdirected,
mixing apples with oranges with assumptions. Which is why I was so suprised
to see him briefly trumpeting one of my favourite ideas: "... new business
models built around ‘the commons' such as open source software and other
forms of ‘non-proprietary production'". Edwards suggests that these new
models have the potential to deliver deep changes to both our society and
our economy. I agree. In fact, I would argue that they already have. ..."

commenting on:

"Philanthrocapitalism: after the goldrush"
"The application of business principles to the world of civil society and
social change has fashion, wealth, power and celebrity behind it. But where
is the evidence that "philanthrocapitalism" works, and are there better ways
to achieve urgently needed global social progress? It's time to end the hype
and start the debate, says Michael Edwards ... My worry is that the hype
surrounding philanthrocapitalism will divert attention from the deeper
changes that are required to transform society, reduce decisions to an
inappropriate bottom line, and lead us to ignore the costs and trade-offs
involved in extending business principles into the world of civil society
and social change. I'm concerned that these questions, and the evidence that
underpins them, are not being given a fair hearing. And I want to provoke a
conversation in which different positions can be aired and listened to. The
only way that philanthrocapitalism will be able to fulfill its considerable
potential is by moving beyond the hype. ..."

So, there are vast amounts of money sloshing around looking for a good home 
(many, many US$ trillions, as above). The question is, how should it be 
spent? Scarcity ideology suggests "subsidy publishing" to create twice as 
many proprietary works. Post-scarcity ideology suggests we would be better 
off with less works if they were all open and part of a creative commons.

--Paul Fernhout

Kevin Flanagan wrote:
> Hi Ryan,
> On morality. Im not sure there is any such thing as clean money in
> capitalist society. Come on theres lots of P2P practices and commons
> based production financed by both private and public money.
> Many governments already allocate a percentage of their annual budgets
> to support cultural work. There are huge numbers of artists, musicians
> and actors, writers, galleries, theatres, films,  that would never get
> their feet off the ground without massive state subsidy. Many sports
> too are highly subsidised.
> An awful lot of 'culture' gets produced in this way. Why not the commons?
> The BBC is a state funded broadcaster. Wouldnt it be great if BBC
> programming was released with something like a Creative Commons
> licence. So that the public who paid for it could share it and build
> upon it freely. There has already been some experimentation with this
> - http://www.bbc.co.uk/creativearchive/
> My point is that there are already existing state infrastructure and
> getting the likes of the arts councils to recognize the value of the
> commons and to actively promote it among cultural producers would be a
> big deal.
> Im not saying this would bring about a P2P society, but even a small
> change in government policy in support of commons based production
> would set a precedent and open up the possibilities for broader
> support in future.
> Sure there is always the problem of state dependency. But the great
> thing about building a commons is that what you build stays in common.
> So Any funding that helps build the commons is a good investment and
> in my opinion could be shown to be money better spent than what gets
> spent on some arts projects these days.
> Best
> Kevin F
> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 11:48 AM, Ryan Lanham <rlanham1963 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Wouldn't it be immoral for people who believe in P2P to take money from tax
>> payers who are mostly the selfish rich and corporations?
>> Ryan
>> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 6:28 AM, Kevin Flanagan <kev.flanagan at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Hey Paul,
>>> State support for the arts is common in europe.
>>> Im most familiar with the Irish and UK Arts Councils.
>>> Im not advocating further state support for 'artists'.
>>> Im interested in putting together an strong argument for state support
>>> for free culture and hacker spaces.
>>> Using already in place institutions and infrastructure such as arts
>>> councils.
>>> I support the idea of a basic income for all.
>>> But Im suggesting what I see as a practical and achievable short term
>>> goal.
>>> If we could specifically get these institutions to recognise the
>>> social value and put in policy the importance of commons oriented
>>> production for free culture and hacker spaces then maybe in time we
>>> can get the state to recognize the value and importance of commons
>>> based production on a broader scale.
>>> Lets get these arts councils to expand their remit to support
>>> specifically free culture and hacker spaces.
>>> Surely we can show how the skills developed in hack labs are useful
>>> and transferable and worth state economic investment. Hacker spaces in
>>> in disadvantaged communities could be a great outlet for young people.
>>> I dont have time to look up a good links at the moment because I have to
>>> go now.
>>> For example it would be nice to see some research on how Brazil has
>>> got on with its effort in supporting acces to digital technology.
>>> Brazilian minister for digital culture Gilberto Gill supporting the
>>> creation of 650 cultural spaces giving citizens access to computers
>>> cameras to share music and culture.
>>> http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9786370-7.html
>>> Ok Im off for now.
>>> Kevin F
>>> On Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 6:07 PM, Paul D. Fernhout
>>> <pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:
>>>> Kevin-
>>>> As I see it, more support for the arts is a good idea, but a
>>>> half-measure.
>>>> As you say at the end, we could look at expanding it to all sorts of
>>>> commons
>>>> production, but it is hard to judge what is "worthy". A "basic income"
>>>> for
>>>> all is probably a better general solution than trying to decide what
>>>> projects a person wants to do are worthy of support. References:
>>>>  http://www.basicincome.org/bien/aboutbasicincome.html
>>>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income
>>>>  http://www.usbig.net/whatisbig.html
>>>> A basic income just for "artists" is possible:
>>>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income_in_the_Netherlands
>>>> but in the end, is a mother or father any less an artist for helping
>>>> sculpt
>>>> a young life than someone who works in clay and sculpts statues? And, it
>>>> is
>>>> hard to judge a person's worth or a project's worth at the time. It may
>>>> only
>>>> become clear 1000 years later if something is "worthwhile". And besides,
>>>> worthwhile to whom? Maybe it is enough that an individual's life is
>>>> worthwhile to themselves?
>>>> For me, a big changeover point is if everyone could get laws about a
>>>> basic
>>>> income passed everywhere. So, rather than have artists fighting against
>>>> mothers and fathers and mimes and songwriters and so on over who should
>>>> get
>>>> the most subsidies, we have both working together, as an alliance, to
>>>> have a
>>>> basic income for artists, mothers, fathers, writers, journalists, mimes,
>>>> and
>>>> everyone else, even rich CEOs.
>>>> It's been said:
>>>>  http://quotationsbook.com/quote/31495/
>>>> "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
>>>> poor, to
>>>> sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread. "
>>>> Well, a basic income, in its majestic equality, allows both the rich as
>>>> well
>>>> as the poor to paint local bridges, to mime in the streets, and to give
>>>> away
>>>> home-baked bread. :-) Maybe financially obese people won't want to do
>>>> those
>>>> things compared to poor people who know how important those things are,
>>>> but
>>>> with a basic income, rich people could. :-)
>>>> See also:
>>>> "[p2p-research] Basic income from a millionaire's perspective?"
>>>> http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-August/003949.html
>>>> Is it possible you could make some freely licensed art about that issue?
>>>> :-)
>>>> --Paul Fernhout
>>>> http://www.pdfernhout.net/
>>>> Kevin Flanagan wrote:
>>>>> Hello,
>>>>> It was great to finally get to meet some of you in person at media
>>>>> ecologies.
>>>>> I have some suggestions and questions regarding building alliances
>>>>> that Id be interested in thrashing out here on the list.
>>>>> My question here is how can we incentivize government to support the
>>>>> building and protection of the commons?
>>>>> My suggestion is this -
>>>>> As an artist Ive been involved in and worked with several artist led
>>>>> organisations. Most of these organisations could not survive without
>>>>> government subsidy through bodies such as arts councils. Naturally
>>>>> there is pressure from government on arts councils and hence on
>>>>> artists and arts organisations to be accountable for this investment.
>>>>> In order to receive financial support artists and arts organisations
>>>>> are required to fulfill certain criteria to prove the social value of
>>>>> their work. So the better an organisation is at proving the social
>>>>> value of their work the more likely it is that they will receive
>>>>> support. This means that lots of artists end up working to governments
>>>>> agenda through Public Art and Community Arts projects. Maybe this
>>>>> sounds a bit harsh but sometimes I think of community arts as a kind
>>>>> of goverment funded social band aid for disadvantaged communities. The
>>>>> criteria for funding are usually that such projects support , social
>>>>> inclusion, multiculturalism, intercultural relations. Often what is
>>>>> produced in the creative process if immaterial affect so its not
>>>>> always easy to show how these arts projects fulfill these criteria.
>>>>> What Im wondering is can free culture centers, hack\fab labs, maker
>>>>> clubs, do this better. I think so. The added advantage of such centres
>>>>> is eductaion in transferable skills. Goverment likes transferable
>>>>> skills that help peoples job prospects. Whether in electronics,
>>>>> programming, media. Some research into how the EU and UNESCO promote
>>>>> social inclusion through culture would be useful. Are these policies
>>>>> IP biased? Can we as advocates of free culture and the commons propose
>>>>> ammendments or new policies that incentivize governments to provide
>>>>> financial support for free culture spaces, hack labs and to recognize
>>>>> the intercultural importance of the shared commons oriented production
>>>>> of these spaces? Any ideas who might already be working on this?
>>>>> Existing models perhaps that can be used as examples?
>>>>> How might dialogue about the commons interface with current thinking
>>>>> on multiculturalism? Does breaking down financial barriers to entry
>>>>> promote social inclusion locally, nationally, internationally? Of
>>>>> course but how do we measure this?
>>>>> I dont know how this sounds or even if its interesting but I thought
>>>>> Id just put it out there.
>>>>> Maybe the the current system of support for the arts is one to look at
>>>>> expanding for supporting the commons based production? Maybe alliances
>>>>> can be built with existing cultural organisations?

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