Talk:P2P and Human Evolution Ch 7

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It is true that P2P has a more fundamental potential to make social change than it's precursors of cooperation, barter, etc. However, there are some problems.

We need to start with Abraham Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs. Before people can even engage in 'thinking' and 'information-based' activities, their human needs for food, clothing, shelter, safety, etc. NOTE: For the moment, I am assuming that to partake of the P2P Economy, computers and communication (Internet) is mandatory. In the current sense of the concept this is certainly true; and I also acknowledge that will widespread P2P social evolution, this may not always need to be the case. The first four levels of his heirarchy include

  1. Physiological: hunger, thirst, bodily comforts, etc.;
  2. Safety/security: out of danger;
  3. Belonginess and Love: affiliate with others, be accepted; and
  4. Esteem: to achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition.

According to Maslow, there is little chance for a person to get to the fifth level, the Cognitive level, until they can substantially accommodate the first four levels.

Unfortunately, the world's present circumstances do not seem to be headed this way. In general the world is getting more divided between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'.

There has also been a lot of discussion about how the closing of the 'digital divide' will heal this. However the latest news belies this fantasy. Philip Howard, Associate Professor at the University of Washington, just released a 10 year survey that indicates the 'digital divide' is also widening. According to the Seattle Times,

The digital divide is becoming less like a crack and more like a canyon.

More computers are produced than ever before, but they're even more concentrated in rich, developed countries than 10 years ago, according to new research by the University of Washington.

"That's pretty surprising, because we expected open markets to bring technology all around the world in an even way," said Philip Howard, assistant professor of communications at UW.

He directed a team of 30 students who analyzed 10 years of data from the World Bank and other sources to compile the World Information Access 2006 Report.

From 1995 to 2005, they found, the supply of computers, Internet hosts and secure servers became more narrowly distributed among a core group of countries.

Mobile phones and Internet access, by contrast, proliferated to become more evenly distributed around the world.

But even for Internet access, people in developing countries pay more and get less.

While an hour of Internet access at a cybercafe costs people in New York about 6 percent of their average daily income, it costs people in Lagos, Nigeria, about 75 percent. Those in developing nations are less likely to find news and other content generated from within their countries.

"In economic and cultural terms, they are missing out in a big way," Howard said. "Going online means paying to tap into Western culture."

Researchers looked at 24 cities — each with more than 10 million people — and the cost of Internet access at three to six cybercafes, then compared those costs with average income figures.

"In the rich cities, an Internet user who spends $1 actually gets more out of their experience and finds more Web sites in their language," Howard said.

The findings lend another voice to the debate over how to bring technology to the developing world.

Here is a link to the original report World Information Access Project, 2006 Report, Patterns of International Inequality in Technology Access, 1995-2005


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The demand for a universal wage, increasingly debated, subject of academic research and government reports, and implemented for the first time in Brazil by President Lula, may well be the next great reform of the system, the wise course of action, awaiting its P2P “neo-Keynes”, a collective able to translate the needs of the cooperative ethos in a set of political and ethical measures. Paradoxically, through the strengthening of cooperation, it will also re-invigorate cognitive capitalism (much like the welfare system create mass consumers), allowing the two logics to co-exist, in cooperation, and in relative independence from one another, installing a true competition in solving world problems.