[iDC] Industry 2.0, the new network ecology of neocapitalism

Michael Bauwens michelsub2003 at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 4 10:48:50 UTC 2009

I've written a little summary, inspired by a review of bruce sterlings caryatids, which features competition between global coalitions, on how I see the new industrial infrastructure evolving in the emerging 'p2p era'. It has obvious consequences for 'labour' if this was to  materialize,

here it is:

Co-creation and the new industrial paradigm of peer
Albert Boswijk, of the
Amsterdam-based Center for the Experience Economy, asked me a set of
interesting questions:
.What is the reality behind so called
best practice co creation concepts? Are these lipservice to co-creative
approaches.  Are you really in the drivers seat or are just being made to
believe that you have influence on the outcome. What are the building blocks of
co-creation? Which conditions are required. Are organisations really prepared
to allow influence and control of customers in their organisation and therefore
become a co creative organisation? .
To understand the reality or
illusion behind projects claiming to practice co-creation or co-design, one
must look at the polarities of power and control that determine the context in
which the co-creative processes take place, with on the one hand the communities
of external collaborators, and on the other side, the corporate entities. But
before tackling this issue in particular, it may be useful to see the emerging
new paradigm of production that is arising out of the new participative
The new institutional reality
could be described as follows:
- At the core are the enabling
collaborative socio-technological platforms, that allow knowledge workers,
software developers and open design communities to collaborate on joint
projects, outside of the direct control of corporate entities. 
Interesting questions already
arise here: who is the driving force behind the creation & development of
such platforms? They can be initiated by developing communities, managed and
maintained by a new type of non-profit institution (like the FLOSS
Foundations), or they can be corporate platforms that have been opened up to
external participants
- Around the corporate platform is the open design community and the
knowledge/software/design commons ruled by a set of licenses which determine
the particular nature of the property.
Interesting questions here are:
Is it a true commons license like the GPL, a sharing license like the Creative
Commons where the stress is on the individual sovereignity in determining the
level of sharing that is allowed; or is it a corporate license, giving very
limited rights, or even with outright digital sharecropping, i.e. the
expropriation of the totality of the creative output reserved for usage by the
organizing corporation?
It is important to see the open
design commons not just as a collaborative community or a new type of ‘intellectual
property’ depository, but also as a fundamentally new type of manufacturing
infrastructure. Open design communities have different priorities and
constraints than proprietary IP, and naturally design for modularity, more low threshold
capital requirements, sustainability, etc.. Thus, we are talking about the
seeding of a new physical productive infrastructure as well.
- Around the commons are the entrepreneurial coalitions that benefit
and sustain the design commons, create added value on top of it, and sell this
as products or services to the market. 
Important questions raised here
are: how is the coalition itself organized? Do all parties have equal say, as
in the Linux Foundation, or does one big party dominate, like with the Eclipse
Foundation and IBM. How does the business ecology relate to the community. Is
is nothing but a corporate commons?
- In addition, there is a funding infrastructure.
What is the process governing the
stream of returns from the monetized market sphere, to the commons, its
community, and the infrastructure of cooperation? Do businesses support the
community directly, through the foundations? Is the government or a set of
public authorities involved. Are there crowdfunding mechanisms?
- Finally, there is the role of public authorities and governments in
orchestrating the public-private-common triad in order to benefit from the
local effects of the new networked coopetition between entrepreneurial
coalitions and their linked communities.
In the not so far future, wealth
building or sustaining capacity will be determined to a large degree by the
capacity of cities, regions and states to insert themselves within the global
coopetition between different enterpreneurial coalitions (think drupal vs.
joomla, but on a much larger scale).
When we look at this set interlocking triad
(community – foundation – business) or quaternary structure (if public
authorities are involved), we can now distinguish at least 3 main models
-          In commons
centered peer production, like Linux, the community is at the core, and a real
commons operate, with the community strong enough to sustain its own
infrastructure, and cooperating with market players
-          In a sharing
environment, where individuals share their creative endeavour, it is the
corporate third party platform which monetizes the attention space, and may
control the platform to a significant degree; the community does not control
its own platform, but is not without power of influence, since quick and
massive mobilizations are always possible.
-          In a
crowdsourced environment, participant producers are even more isolated from
each other, and the corporation integrates them in the value chain which they
control. Since individuals are here competing for market value themselves,
solidarity is more difficult to obtain, given corporate platform owners more
A good illustration of the various
possibilities is Lego. Lego still operates as a classical producer of toys,
selling to consumer; in Lego Factory, it has its crowdsourced environment,
where co-designers can take a cut of the kits they succeed in selling; the new
Lego World virtual environment is a sharing environment; finally, Lugnet is
true commons-oriented peer production, happening outside the control of the
company altogether.
Here are ten different co-creation
modalities, depending on the polarity of control between peer producers and the
corporate entities:
1. Consumers:
you make, they consume. The classic model.
2. Self-service:
you make, they go get it themselves. This is where consumers start becoming
prosumers, but the parameters of the cooperation are totally set by the
producing corporation. It’s really not much more than a strategy of
externalization of costs. Think of ATM’s and gas stations. We could call it
simple externalization.
3. Do-it-yourself:
you design, they make it themselves. One step further, pioneered by the likes
of Ikea, where the consumers, re-assembles the product himself. Complex
externalization of business processes.
4. Company-based Crowdsourcing. The
company organizes a value chain which lets the wider public produce the value,
but under the control of the company.
5. Co-design:
you set the parameters, but you design it together. For examples, see here
6. Co-creativity:
you both create cooperatively. In this stage, the corporation does not even set
the parameters, the prosumer is an equal partner in the development of new
products. Perhaps the industrial model of the adventure sports material makers
would fit here. For examples, see here http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Co-Creation
7. Sharing
communities create the value, Web 2.0 proprietary platforms, attempt to
monetize participation.
8. Peer production
proper: communities create the value, using a Commons, with
assistance from corporations who attempt to create derivative streams of value.
Linux is the paradigmatic example.
9. Peer production
with cooperative production: peer producers create their own
vehicles for monetization. The OS Alliance is an example
of this
10. Peer production
communities or sharing communities place themselves explicitely outside of the
monetary economy.


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