[p2p-research] Building Alliances

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sat Nov 7 19:09:46 CET 2009


But the argument by the elite goes that without them, the wealth would not 
have been produced because they have some kind of integral and superior role 
to everyone else. So, the wealth is not extracted in that mindset, it was 
created. And people lucky enough to help with that should be glad to get 
some small part of what would not exist without a rich elite to make stuff 
happen. So, in this model, elites are not extractive. They are the main 
force of production.

And, at a place like Princeton, that seems obvious. All these busy people 
rushing around, writing papers, training students, all this growth, new 
buildings, and so on. And when I was there, did I ever think much that the 
mascot, the Tiger, went out and ate people and other creatures? No, it's 
more, how cute, a growing Tiger cub. Look all that growth and productivity 
as the tiger cub gets bigger. Wow, something special is happening here. Etc. 
Aren't we all so great to be part of that growth and wonder? We're going to 
make the world a better place by being tigers. It takes a long time to see 
past stuff like that if you are clueless like me. :-) (Nothing against 
tigers; and the cubs *are* cute, too.)

Of course, if people are poor and have no free time because all the wealth 
in society is concentrated, that's a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, 
isn't it?

As you point out, places that have had a more equal distribution of wealth 
have been more dynamic in a lot of ways. Even people who defend capitalism 
will admit, if pushed, that capitalism works better if wealth is broadly 
distributed, because that allows small businesses to form, which tend to be 
were most job growth and innovation come from.

--Paul Fernhout

Michel Bauwens wrote:
> I just replied, but I want to reiterate that what I find twisted, is the
> morality that says that the wealth that has been extracted from us, should
> remain in the hands of those that did the coercive extraction, rather than
> stay in the realm of true public spending, i.e. spending to the public,
> which is the very source of the funding in the first place. Taxation is an
> instrument of policy and redistribution, so that society can redirect some
> surplus where it does most good, based on democratic decision-making. Of
> course, both society and democracy are flawed, but that doesn't mean that
> the extractive elites should have a monopoly on its usage,
> Michel
> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 8:25 PM, Ryan Lanham <rlanham1963 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi Kevin:
>> I agree that if one finds the market dirty, there is no clean money
>> associated with government in a market system.  So why would one take it?
>> Lesser of two evils?  Hard to be moral and try to lead a P2P life (which I
>> assume is more morality driven than chosen for ease) and then take
>> government money.
>> Saying that culture gets built this way seems hypocritical to me.  If you
>> are against the system, being suckled by it seems flawed.  A true P2P
>> anti-market mentality would have to morally reject government funding in my
>> view.  Else, a person clearly commits theft...taking property from others
>> without moral license...that seems a fundamental tenet of a P2P morality.
>> Ryan
>> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 8:20 AM, Kevin Flanagan <kev.flanagan at gmail.com>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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