Michel Bauwens: P2P Future Scenarios

Collective Intelligence, Commercial Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence
Michel Bauwens
Michel Bauwens

Four scenarios for the inevitable P2P Future

P2P and networked technologies are here to stay, are expanding, and will become the dominant technological format. Yet, that doesn’t mean at all that the future is a foregone conclusion. Around these technologies we will see political and social struggles that will involve ownership and governance (control), and also their mobilization by social forces having their own worldviews, interests and agenda.

To distinguish various futures, I have produced a impromptu four quadrant structure according to two axes:

1) one distinguishes the centralized vs. distributed control of p2p infrastructures (and on the right side, this tension is best expressed by global vs. local orientation)

2) the other distinguishes for-profit (let’s say ‘capitalist’) vs. for-benefit orientations (let’s say ‘commons’)

This gives us four quadrants:

Upper-Left: Netarchical Capitalism, is characterized by the centralized control of p2p infrastructures, with a for-profit orientation (think Facebook)

Bottom-Left: Distributed Capitalism, distributed control, but with a for-profit orientation, think the design of Bitcoin

Bottom-Right: a local for-benefit orientation, this characterizes the Resilient Communities approaches

Upper-Right: the Global Commons orientation, which does not forego the construction of a more just society at the global level

I haven’t had the time to write this out formally, but this unedited transcript, compiled by Jean Lievens, has my remarks on the subject, as recently given in Helsinki (video).

Read full transcript.