The Transition to a Sustainable Commons Society in Ecuador and beyond
Michelle Bauens, the P2P Foundation The Nutrient dense project is a global community of farmers and civic scientists who believe that putting nutrients into the soil it will improve food growth rates. These projects will often receive no funding, so they have mutualised their research and practices. This knowledge and information is shareable and escapes the commodity model. This is the production of commons, not capital.
How do these people make a living? Some are funded by academia, some by the marketing economy. In the capitalist economy a vast percentage of the cost of an item is 'dead money', that factors in the cost of transport, IP and redundancy. If you can cut out these factors, costs can reduce. He suggests dividing between light and heavy products with items sourced globally and locally respectively.
Often in the open source community its participants are working for traditional capitalist companies to fund their work, sometimes the workplace is funding the work.
He is proposing the Commons Reprocity license or the P2P license claiming that 'traditional' open licenses (i.e. GPL) often encourage capitalist policies.
Another example of the mismatch is Bitcoin, it is P2P but follows capitalist, scarify models to make it work. There are elements of Degrowth thought, but not completely matching.
His closing example shows that the open knowledge community is nothing new. Early monks shared knowledge amongst their networks to sustain what was being lost at the end of the Roman Empire. Many comparisons could be drawn with current groups and situations.
Economy of Liberation, Solidarity Economy and Good Living (bon-viver)
Euclides André Mance, Solidarity Economy Brasil People bring networks and exchange systems between each other as this is how they operate. Sometimes forced, sometimes out of choice but symbolic values are created between people and society.
Three factors of capitalist economy Creating a value and profit through exploitation, or a 'product' This product creates money * The market creates opportunity through symbolic values
This creates a circle, which the final point above feeding the first etc. And we all have agreed on these inherent values from a state level. The Capitalist system has its own system of rules that it expects the state to follow and if it doesn't, or something goes wrong, the system breaks. It relies on exploitation, supply, demand and inherent redundancy. To maintain the system, credit is needed and all the systems around it, such as inflation, lending, the market etc.
Why do workers subject themselves to this? They have needs which are supplied by the market and they need to remain in the system to keep satisfying their needs.
What are the alternatives? Despite opposition, protests and movements, they are still reliant on and feeding the capitalist economy and the problem they are fighting against. Cooperative and collaborative networks can help, but they need to be horizontal and also help each other, bypassing the capitalist system as much as possible.
Alongside these alternatives there needs to be solidarity, autonomy, time for creative pursuits and 'bon-viver'. We don't need to take steps backwards, but work with technology that we now have to achieve these aims. There are technologies that do not suit the 'Solidarity' or Degrowth ideals and these should be no longer used. These are often items we don't really need and are constrained to using items only available from capitalist businesses.
The exchange of knowledge needs to be reorganised, knowledge and the power behind it is extremely important. Liberation cannot happen by yourself or for yourself, it needs to be with common ideals and with aid of the communities around you. This reflowing of power will slowly debase the capitalist system.
Apologies, this seemed to be a hard presentation for the translators and I missed a few concepts, so the above may be a little vague.