Jean Lievens: Peer Production Based on Commons & Possession Vice Property

Commercial Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence
Jean Lievens
Jean Lievens

Christian Siefkes: Peer Production is based on Possession, not Property

“Peer production is based on commons and possession (not on property). Benkler talks about “commons-based peer production” to emphasize the important role of the commons (goods and resources without owners who can control how they can be used). Generally, commons such as free software and open knowledge play an important role as input or output (or both) of peer projects.

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The key is that “possession” is rooted in the concept of “use rights” or “usufruct” while “private property” is rooted in a divorce between the users and ownership. For example, a house that one lives in is a possession, whereas if one rents it to someone else at a profit it becomes property. Similarly, if one uses a saw to make a living as a self-employed carpenter, the saw is a possession; whereas if one employs others at wages to use the saw for one’s own profit, it is property. Needless to say, a capitalist workplace, where the workers are ordered about by a boss, is an example of “property” while a co-operative, where the workers manage their own work, is an example of “possession.”

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