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---
title: "La parodia de los comunes"
author: Vasilis Kostakis y Stelios Stavroulakis
layout: post
---

La parodia de los comunes
=========================

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tripleC 11(2): 412-424, 2013 http://www.triple-c.at

The Parody of the Commons Vasilis Kostakis1 and Stelios Stavroulakis2 1

Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia, P2P Lab,
Greece, kostakis.b@gmail.com, www.p2plab.gr/en 2 P2P Lab, Greece,
sstavra@gmail.com, www.p2plab.gr/en

## Abstract

This essay builds on
the idea that Commons-based peer production is a social advancement
within capitalism but with various post-capitalistic aspects, in need
of protection, enforcement, stimulation and connection with progressive
social movements. We use theory and examples to claim that peer-to-peer
economic relations can be undermined in the long run, distorted by
the extraeconomic means of a political context designed to maintain
profit-driven relations of production into power. This subversion can
arguably become a state policy, and the subsequent outcome is the full
absorption of the Commons as well as of the underpinning peer-to-peer
relations into the dominant mode of production. To tackle this threat,
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Este ensayo se basa en la idea de que la producción de pares basada en
los bienes comunes es un avance social dentro del capitalismo pero con
varios aspectos post-capitalistas que necesitan protección, aplicación,
estimulación y conexión con movimientos sociales progresivos.  Usamos
teoría y ejemplos para decir que las relaciones ecónomicas entre pares
pueden resultar socavadas en el largo plazo, distorsionadas por los
medios extraeconómicos de un contexto político diseñado para mantener en
el poder a relaciones de producción orientadas al lucro.  Esta
subversión bien puede convertirse en una política de estado y el
resultado será la absorción completa de los Comunes así como las
relaciones de pares concomitantes en el modo dominante de producción.
Para detener esta amenaza

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we argue in favour of a certain working agenda for Commons-based
communities. Such an agenda should aim the enforcement of the circulation
of the Commons. Therefore, any useful social transformation will be
meaningful if the people themselves decide and apply policies for their
own benefit, optimally with the support of a sovereign partner state.
If peer production is to become dominant, it has to control capital
accumulation with the aim to marginalise and eventually transcend
capitalism.  Keywords: Peer Production, Free Software, Collaboration,
Commons, Emancipation, State Policy, Economic Theory, Partner State,
Peer Property Acknowledgement: This essay has immensely benefited from
two anonymous reviewers. We want also to thank Christos Giotitsas for
his critique. Moreover, Vasilis Kostakis would like to acknowledge
financial support received by the grants SF 014006 “Challenges to
State Modernization in 21st Century Europe” and ETF 8571 "Web 2.0 and
Governance: Institutional and Normative Changes and Challenges”.

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argumentamos a favor de una cierta agenda para las comunidades basadas
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en el Común.  Tal agenda debe tener como objetivo la aplicación de la
circulación de los Comunes.  Por lo tanto, cualquier transformación
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social útil será significativa si es la gente misma la que decide y
aplica políticas para su propio beneficio, óptimamente con el apoyo de
un Estado soberano acompañante.  Si la producción de pares se vuelve
predominante, debe controlar la acumulación de capital con el objetivo
de marginalizar y eventualmente trascender el capitalismo.

## Reconocimientos

Este ensayo se ha beneficiado grandemente por dos revisores anónimos.
También queremos agradecer a Christos Giotitsas por su crítica.  Además,
Vasilis Kostakis agradece el apoyo financiero recibido por las becas SG
014006 "Desafíos para el modernización del Estado en la Europa del siglo
XXI" y ETF 8571 "La Web 2.0 y la gobernanza: Cambios y desafíos
institucionales y normativos".

## Introducción

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It has been claimed that an increasing number of people are now able
to manage their political, social, and productive lives through
a variety of interdependent networks enabled by the Information
and Communication Technologies (ICT) (Castells 2000, 2003; Benkler
2006; Bauwens 2005; Perez 2002). However, authors, such as Webster
(2002a, 2002b), have argued against the idea of an “information
society”. They emphasise the continuities of the current age with
former capitalist-oriented social and economic arrangements (Schiller
1981, 1984, 1996; Webster 2002a, 2002b). Kumar (1995, 154) maintains
that the information explosion “has not produced a radical shift in
the way industrial societies are organized” to conclude that “the
imperatives of profit, power and control seem as predominant now as
they have ever been in the history of capitalist industrialism”. In
addition, Berry (2008, 369) postulates that scholars such as Benkler
(2006) fail to recognise the extent to which network forms of production
“will be co-opted into mainstream 'industrial' ways of production”.

Se ha dicho que un número creciente de personas son ahora capaces de
administrar sus vidas políticas, sociales y productivas a través de una
variedad de redes interdependientes habilitadas por las Tecnologías de
la Información y la Comunicación (TICs) [@castells-2000; @castells-2003;
@benkler-2006; @bauwens-2005; @perez-2002].  Sin embargo, autores como
Webster [-@webster-2002a; -@webster-2002b] se oponen a la idea de una
"sociedad de la información".  Enfatizan en cambio la continuidad de la
era actual con antiguos arreglos socioeconómicos capitalistas
[@schiller-1981; @schiller-1984; @schiller-1996; @webster-2002a;
@webster-2002b].  Kumar [-@kumar-1995, pp. 154] sostiene que la
explosión de la información "no ha producido un cambio radical en la
forma en que se organizan las sociedades industriales" para concluir que
"los imperativos del lucro, el poder y el control parecen tan
predominantes ahora como lo han sido durante toda la historia del
industrialismo capitalista".  Además, Berry [-@berry-2008, pp. 369]
postula que académicos como Benkler [-@benkler-2006] fallan en reconocer
la extensión en que las formas de producción en red "serán cooptadas en
las formas de producción 'industrial' hegemónicas".

Through several cases of successful networked-based, collaborative
projects such as free software or Wikipedia, we see the emergence of
new ‘‘technological-economic feasibility spaces’’ for social practice
(Benkler 2006, 31). These feasibility spaces include different social
and economic arrangements, in contrast to what Kumar and Webster claim,
where profit, power, and control do not seem as predominant as they
have been in the history of modern capitalism. Benkler (2006) has
argued that from this new communicational environment a new social
productive model, i.e.,  Commons-based peer production, is emerging
different from the industrial one. Peer production, exemplified by
various free software (GNU, the Linux kernel, KDE) and free content
(Wikipedia) projects, makes information sharing more important than the
value of proprietary strategies and allows for large-scale information
production efforts (Benkler 2006). In this context, peer production
could be considered an early seed form stage of a new mode of production
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enabled through Internet-based coordination where decisions arise from
the free engagement and cooperation of the people. They coalesce to
create common value without recourse to monetary compensation as key
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motivating factor (Bauwens 2005; Orsi 2009; Kostakis 2013).

A través de varios casos de éxito de proyectos colaborativos en red como
el Software Libre o Wikipedia, vemos la emergencia de nuevos "espacios
de posibilidad tecnológico-ecónomicos" para la práctica social
[@benkler-2006, pp. 31].  Estos espacios de posibilidad incluyen
diferentes arreglos sociales y económicos, en contraste con lo que Kumar
y Webster dicen, donde el lucro, el poder y el control no parecen tan
predominantes como lo han sido en la historia del capitalismo moderno.
Benkler [-@benkler-2006] ha argumentado que está emergiendo de este
nuevo ambiente comunicacional un nuevo modelo social productivo, es
decir la producción de pares basada en el Común, que se diferencia del
modelo industrial.  La producción de pares, ejemplificada por varios
proyectos de Software Libre (GNU, el kernel Linux, KDE) y de contenido
libre (Wikipedia), vuelve a la compartición de información más
importante aun que el valor de las estrategias propietarias y posibilita
esfuerzos de producción de información a gran escala [@benkler-2006].
En este contexto, la producción de pares puede ser considerada una
forma seminal de un nuevo modo de producción posibilitado por la
coordinación a través de Internet donde las decisiones surgen del
involucramiento y cooperación libres entre las personas.  Se juntan para
crear un valor común sin recurrir a la compensación monetaria como una
forma clave de motivación [@bauwens-2005; @orsi-2009; @kostakis-2013].

Our take is that peer production is a social advancement within
capitalism but with various post-capitalistic aspects, in need of
protection, enforcement, stimulation and connection with progressive
social movements around Commons-oriented policy platforms. As “Commons”
we understand the cultural and natural resources, which are held in
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common (not owned privately) and remain accessible to all members of
a society (see Ostrom 1990; Hardt and Negri 2011; Bollier 2009). In
this essay, our point of departure is the digital Commons (knowledge,
software, design) since peer production was first noticed in the
information sphere of production. We consider the “Commons” a third
sector alongside the market and the state, which conceptualises the
deep affinities amongst several forms of collaboration and helps
validate their distinctive social dynamics as significant forces in
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economic and cultural production (Bollier in Laisne et al. 2010).

Nuestra posición es que la producción de pares es un avance social
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dentro del capitalismo pero con varios aspectos post-capitalistas,
que necesitan protección, aplicación, estimulación y conexión con los
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movimientos sociales progresivos alrededor de plataformas de políticas
del Común.  Como "Comunes" entendemos los recursos culturales y
naturales, que son apropiados en común (no como propiedad privada) y se
mantienen accesibles a todos los miembros de la sociedad [@ostrom-1990;
@hardt-negri-2011; @bollier-2009].  En este ensayo, nuestro punto de
partida son los Comunes digitales (conocimiento, software, diseño) ya
que la producción de pares fue advertida primeramente en la esfera de la
producción de información.  Consideramos los "Comunes" un tercer sector
en paralelo al Mercado y al Estado, conceptualizando las profundas
afinidades entre varias formas de colaboración y ayuda a validar sus
dinámicas sociales distintivas en tanto fuerzas significativas en la
producción económica y cultural [@bollier-2010].

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The term “peer production” or “peer-to-peer production” originates from
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the innovative nature of peer-to-peer (P2P) networking architecture
that enabled the advent of the Internet.  The introduction of P2P
architecture in the social relations of production and exchange of
goods and services is based on the idea that every networked community,
just like every networked node, becomes a “server” to satisfy the needs
of other communities, as well as a “client” to satisfy its own. Peer
production operates on a non-competitive, synergetic basis leading
to an optimal distribution of resources (Benkler 2006; Bauwens 2005,
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2009). The traditional market approach with its pricing mechanism has
mostly been unable to achieve such optimal allocations due to productive
information asymmetry whereas peer production maximises the access to
information. Contrary to the traditional economic thought, in peer
production we become witnesses of consumer/producer dichotomy's collapse
towards a new understanding in the form of the “multitude” (Hardt
and Negri 2001), “prosumers” (Toffler and Toffler 2006), “produsers”
(Bruns 2008), or “user-innovation communities” (von Hippel 2005).
Further, it has been shown (Benkler 2002, 2006; Bauwens 2005) how peer
production, given certain resources, optimally exploits the skills and
abilities of the producers involving participatory ownership structures,
participatory learning and decision-making (Fuchs 2013).  Whereas the
firm binds by contract only a fraction of capabilities, which considers
appropriate for realising a certain goal. In a peer production project
the motive emerges when a full set of capabilities is accessing a given
amount of resources. Peer production achieves the optimal allocation
of resources being a more productive system for information than the
market-based or the bureaucratic-state ones (Bauwens 2005; Kostakis
2012).

El término "producción de pares" o "producción P2P" se origina en la
naturaleza innovativa de la arquitectura de redes de pares (P2P) que
posibilitaron el advenimiento de Internet.  La introducción de la
arquitectura P2P en las relaciones sociales de producción e intercambio
de bienes y servicios se basa en la idea que cada comunidad de red, tal
como cada nodo en la red, se vuelve "servidora" para satisfacer las
necesidades de otras comunidades, así como en "cliente" para satisfacer
las propias.  La producción de pares opera sobre una base no
competitiva, sinergética, llevando a una distribución óptima de los
recursos [@benkler-2006; @bauwens-2005; @bauwens-2009].  El abordaje
tradicional de mercado con su mecanismo de precios ha sido incapaz de
lograr tales asignaciones de recursos debido a la asimetría en la
información productiva mientras que la producción de pares maximiza el
acceso a la información.  En contra del pensamiento económico
tradicional, en la producción de pares nos volvemos testigos del colapso
de la dicotomía consumidor/productor hacia una nueva comprensión bajo la
forma de la "multitud" [@hardt-negri-2001], "prosumidores"
[@toffler-2006], "produsuarios" [@bruns-2008] o "comunidades de
innovación de los usuarios" [@hippel-2005].  Además, se ha demostrado
[@benkler-2002; @benkler-2006; @bauwens-2005] cómo la producción de
pares, dados ciertos recursos, explota óptimamente las capacidades y
habilidades de los productores al involucrar estructuras de propiedad,
aprendizaje y toma de decisiones participativas [@fuchs-2013].  Mientras
que la empresa enlaza por contrato sólo una fracción de las capacidades,
a las que considera apropiadas para realizar cierto objetivo, en un
proyecto de pares el motivo emerge cuando el conjunto completo de las
capacidades accede una cantidad determinada de recursos.  La producción
de pares alcanza la asignación óptima de recursos al ser un sistema más
productivo de información que los mercados o las burocracias estatales
[@bauwens-2005; @kostakis-2012].

This article begins with a brief outline
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of how the initial architecture of the Internet is being distorted
into a client-server format as observed in proprietary social networks
managed by the cognitive capitalists of the web. We, then, address
and question the main arguments in relation to “the tragedy of the
Commons” and the phenomenon of Commons-based peer production. What is
the role of the peer produced Commons in the capitalist accumulation
while the emancipatory potential of peer communities is neutralised
without affecting their productive function? To answer this question,
we discuss how the emancipatory promise of the (digital) Commons and of
peer production can evolve into a parody bringing to the fore the case
of free software. To tackle the threat of the Commons' full absorption
as well as of the underpinning peer-to-peer relations into the dominant
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mode of production, we conclude by arguing in favour of a certain
working agenda for Commons-based communities.
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Este artículo comienza con una breve introducción a cómo la arquitectura
inicial de Internet está siendo distorsionada en un formato
cliente-servidor tal como es observado en las redes sociales
administradas por los capitalistas cognitivos de la Web.  Nosotros,
entonces, abordamos y cuestionamos los argumentos principales en
relación a "la tragedia de los comunes" y el fenómeno de la producción
de pares con base en el Común.  ¿Cuál es el rol de los comunes
producidos entre pares en la acumulación capitalista mientras el
potencial emancipatorio de las comunidades de pares es neutralizado sin
afectar su función productiva?  Para responder esta pregunta, discutimos
cómo la promesa emancipatoria de los Comunes (digitales) y de la
producción de pares pueden evolucionar hacia una parodia usando el caso
del software libre.  Para atajar la amenaza de la absorción completa de
los Comunes así como el avasallamiento de las relaciones de pares por el
modo de producción dominante, concluimos argumentando a favor de una
agenda para las comunidades basadas en los Comunes.

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1. From the Tragedy to the Parody of the Commons

De la tragedia a la parodia de los comunes
------------------------------------------

Benkler (2006) postulates his assumptions about the conditions for the
development of peer production, taking for granted a general stable
economy. He does not deal with the threats Commons-based peer production
will face once exposed to a hostile economic environment.  An emerging
question is why the dominant socio-economic framework would resist to
the building of a Commons sphere. After all, one may argue, it is within
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this sphere that the Internet and many other digital technologies have
been developing. Our position is that the aforementioned statement is
partially true: The emergence of web technologies, and of the Internet
itself, has taken place in a contradictory framework. The previously
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failed attempts for the adoption of ACTA/SOPA/PIPA proposals that
seek to restrict the freedom of the individuals through a global
enforcement of strict “intellectual property” standards; the efforts for
a regulatory regime with an architecture of transactions in the first
place (rather than policing the transactions afterwards) (Boyle 1997);
the attempts for surveillance and censorship by both authoritarian and
liberal countries; and “the growing tendency to link the Internet’s
security problems to the very properties that made it innovative and
revolutionary in the first place” (Mueller 2010, 160), are only some
reasons that have made scholars, like Zittrain (2008), worry that
digital systems may be pushed back to the model of locked-down devices
centrally controlled information appliances.

Benkler [-@benkler-2006] postula sus asunciones sobre las condiciones
para el desarrollo de la producción de pares, dando por sentada una
economía general estable.  No toma en cuenta las amenazas que la
producción de pares enfrentará una vez que se exponga a un ambiente
económico hostil.  Una pregunta que emerge es por qué el marco
socioeconómico dominante resistirá la construcción de una esfera de
los Comunes.  Después de todo, se podría argumentar, es dentro de esta
esfera que la Internet y muchas otras tecnologías digitales se han
estado desarrollando.  Nuestra posición es que la declaración anterior
es parcialmente verdadera:  La emergencia de las tecnologías web y
de la Internet misma, ha tomado lugar en un marco contradictorio.
Los intentos fallidos de adopción de las propuestas ACTA/SOPA/PIPA
que buscan restringir la libertad de los individuos a través de
la aplicación de estándares de "propiedad intelectual" estrictos;
los esfuerzos por un régimen regulatorio con una arquitectura de
transacciones de primera mano (en lugar de aplicarla una vez que
las transacciones fueron realizadas) [@boyle-1997]; los intentos de
vigilancia y censura tanto por países autoritarios como liberales; y "la
tendencia creciente a vincular los problemas de seguridad de Internet
con las mismas propiedades que la hicieron innovativa y revolucionaria
en primer lugar" [@mueller-2010, pp. 160], son sólo algunas de las
razones por las que académicos como Zittrain [-@zittrain-2008] han
expresado preocupación por que los sistemas digitales podrían retroceder
al modelo de dispositivos bloqueados y controlados centralmente como
si de lectrodomésticos informacionales se tratara.


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The initial P2P architecture of the Internet, based on the end-to-end
principle, has been distorted into a client-server format where
the server has the absolute authority over the client, who stands
unprotected with limited intervention possibility (Kempf and Austein
2004).  The “addiction” of the client to assign tasks, which concern
him/her on the first place, to the supposed convenience that the server
offers is a phenomenon observed in proprietary, centralised social
networks and SaaS models (i.e., “Software as a Service” acronym; for
example, think of Facebook). This exemplifies the tendency of the user
population to neutralise and detach from issues important for their
online and offline future.

La arquitectura P2P inicial de la Internet, basada en el principio de
extremo-a-extremo, ha sido distorsionada hacia un formato
cliente-servidor donde el servidor tiene autoridad absoluta sobre el
cliente, que se encuentra desprotegido y con posibilidad de intervención
limitada [@kempf-austein-2004].  La "adicción" del cliente a asignar
tareas, que le conciernen a él/ella en primer lugar, por la supuesta
conveniencia que el servidor ofrecer es un fenómeno observado en las
redes sociales y los modelos SaaS[^SaaS].  Esto ejemplifica la tendencia
de la población usuaria a neutralizar y disociarse de problemas
importantes para su futuro en y fuera de línea.

[^SaaS]: Acrónimo de "Software as a Service" \[Software como Servicio\],
         por ejemplo Facebook.

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Further, in this contradictory framework we observe nuanced changes
not only in the institutional design concerning the Internet but also
in the used terminology. For instance, see the shift from “free” to
just “open source” software. The term “open source” has become related
to ideas and arguments based only on practical values, such as having
powerful software (Stallman 2012). As Stallman (2012) writes: “the two
terms describe almost the same category of software, but they stand
for views based on fundamentally different values. Open source is a
development methodology; free software is a social movement.” The open
source implies that non-free software is an inferior solution to the
practical problem at hand, whereas for the free software advocates
non-free software “is a social problem” (Stallman 2012). “If it's
the same software (or nearly so), does it matter which name you
use?”, Stallman asks to answer, “yes, because different words convey
different ideas. While a free program by any other name would give you
the same freedom today, establishing freedom in a lasting way depends
above all on teaching people to value freedom.”

Aun más, en este marco contradictorio observamos matices no sólo en el
diseño institucional concerniente a la Internet sino también en la
terminología utilizada.  Por ejemplo, el giro de software "libre" a "de
código abierto".  El término "código abierto" se ha relacionado con
ideas y argumentos basados en los valores prácticos, tales como en la
capacidad técnica del software [@stallman-2012].  Como escribe Stallman
[-@stallman-2012]: "los dos términos describen casi la misma categoría
de software, pero se basan en valores fundamentalmente diferentes.  El
código abierto es una metodología de desarrollo; el software libre es un
movimiento social."  El código abierto presupone que el software no
libre es una solución inferior de un problema práctico dado, mientras
que el software libre advoca que el software libre "es un problema
social" [@stallman-2012].  "Si es el mismo software (o casi), ¿importa
qué nombre se le de?", pregunta Stallman para responder, "sí, porque
palabras diferentes conllevan diferentes ideas.  Mientras un programa
libre con cualquier otro nombre te puede dar las mismas libertades hoy,
establecer la libertad de forma duradera depende sobre todo de enseñar a
la gente a valorar la libertad."

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We attempt to move from a strict techno-economic analysis towards
a discussion of the Commons within a turbulent, contradictory
socio-economic framework. In other words, what is the role of the
Commons in the capitalist accumulation while the emancipatory potential
of peer communities is neutralised without affecting their productive
function? The capitalist system arguably seeks to incorporate
Commons-based, peer communities because of their cost-effective
advantage (low-cost labour with high quality products). We argue that
the development of P2P relations in itself, if placed in the current
socio-economic conditions, can take place only temporarily because
in the long run it will be undermined by means designed to maintain
profit-driven relations of production into power. We call this
transformation process “parody of the Commons” in relation to what
Benkler (2006) defines as “tragedy of the Commons”.

Intentamos salir de un análisis estrictamente tecno-económico hacia una
discusión de los Comunes dentro de un marco socioeconómico turbulento y
contradictorio.  En otras palabras, ¿cuál es el rol de los Comunes en la
acumulación capitalista mientras el potencial emancipatorio de las
comunidades de pares es neutralizada sin afectar su función productiva?
El sistema capitalista intenta incorporar a las comunidades de pares por
su rentabilidad ventajosa (trabajo de bajo costo con productos de alta
calidad).  Decimos entonces que el desarrollo de las relaciones de pares
por sí solo, al situarse en las condiciones socioeconómicas actuales,
puede tomar lugar temporalmente porque en el largo plazo será socavado
por medios diseñados para mantener en el poder a las relaciones de
producción orientadas al lucro.  Llamamos a este proceso de
transformación "parodia de los Comunes" en relación a lo que Benkler
[-@benkler-2006] define como "tragedia de los Comunes".

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In 1968, Garret Hardin first introduced the concept of the tragedy of
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the Commons referring to the degradation of a finite resource used by
a group of individuals who act independently and rationally on the
basis of their self-interest. If individuals agreed to assign private
management responsibility, which would implement a protection fence
around the resource against the “rational” behaviour of all, the
resource would be safe (Hardin 1968). Elinor Ostrom (1990) understates
Hardin's approach claiming that if those, who share a certain resource,
belonged to a local community, then they would adopt the optimal
solutions to serve their interests. In certain cases the aforementioned
statement cannot apply, because of a lack of confidence amongst
community members due to the high communication costs and/or because
of the small benefit from the problem solving. However, the criteria
that Ostrom (1990) articulates are also immanent in Hardin's definition
as a matter of the rational behaviour of individuals. Ostrom (1990)
correctly denotes that the resource sustainability can be achieved by
adopting best practices without the need of privatisation. What eludes
both Hardin and Ostrom is that the best practices or the technical means
are defined by those in power. There is arguably almost no possibility
of implementing measures that would not enforce the established
structure. The shared resource may not become private, but the
extraeconomic support of other privatised means in the infrastructure of
the common resource (e.g. friendly policies toward activities regardless
of business plan) could gradually eradicate the resource. Once again,
the ruling agenda defines whether the technical means can be considered
best practice.

En 1968, Garret Hardin introdujo por primera vez el concepto de la
tragedia de los Comunes en referencia a la degradación de un recurso
finito al ser utilizado por individuos que actúan independiente y
racionalmente sobre la base del interés propio.  Si los individuos
acuerdan asignar una responsabilidad administrativa privada, lo que
implementaría un vallado protectivo alrededor del recurso contra el
comportamiento "racional" de todos, el recurso estaría a salvo
[@hardin-1968].  Elinor Ostrom [-@ostrom-1990] minimiza el abordaje de
Hardin al decir que si aquellos que comparte un recurso determinado
pertenecen a una misma comunidad, entonces adoptarán las soluciones
óptimas para servir a sus intereses.  En ciertos casos la declaración
anterior no puede aplicarse, por la falta de confianza entre los
miembros de la comunidad debido a los altos costos comunicacionales y/o
por el pequeño beneficio que otorga solucionar el problema.  Sin
embargo, el criterio que Ostrom [-@ostrom-1990] articula son también
inmanentes a la definición de Hardin porque en ambos casos se trata de
la conducta racional de individuos.  Ostrom [-@ostrom-1990] denota
correctamente que la sostenibilidad del recurso puede alcanzarse
mediante la adopción de buenas prácticas sin necesidad de privatización.
Lo que eluden tanto Hardin como Ostrom es que las buenas prácticas o los
medios técnicos son definidos por aquellos que tienen el poder.  No hay
casi ninguna posibilidad de implementar medidas que no requieran la
aplicación de la estructura establecida.  El recurso compartido no se
privatiza pero el soporte extraeconómico de otros medios privatizados en
la infraestructura del recurso común (por ejemplo las políticas
amistosas hacia actividades a pesar del plan de negocios) pueden llegar
a erradicarlo gradualmente.  Una vez más, la agenda dominante define
cuáles medios técnicos pueden ser considerados buenas prácticas.

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Hardin's (1968) position about salvation through privatisation has been
claimed for forests. If forests get privatised, the manager's best
interest would be to protect the wood from fire and the uncontrolled
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work of woodcutters. What we have here is a category error. What the
managers protect is their fenced area rather than the forest itself. In
front of the “sacred” ownership rights there is no legal document to
guarantee that the area will remain a forest.  Nowadays, the destruction
of natural environment does not occur because the environment is a
common resource. It is arguably happening because the applied policies
are designed to support means of production of private appropriation,
which exploit the common resource unconditionally. To that point,
Hardin's and Ostrom's approaches are equally unhelpful, since their
difference is related solely to the composition of the mixture. For
Hardin, more privatisation is required, whereas according to Ostrom it
should be constrained.

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La posición de Hardin [-@hardin-1968] sobre la salvación a través de la
privatización ha sido proclamada para los bosques.  Si los bosques son
privatizados, el interés del administrador será proteger la madera del
fuego y el trabajo indiscriminado de los leñadores.  Lo que tenemos aquí
es un error de categoría.  Lo que el administrador protege es el área
vallada antes que el bosque.  Frente a los derechos de propiedad
"sagrados" no existe documento legal que garantice que el área se
mantendrá como un bosque.  Hoy en día, la destrucción del medioambiente
no ocurre porque es un recurso común.  Está sucediendo porque las
políticas aplicadas son diseñadas para soportar medios de producción
para la apropiación privada, que explotarán el recurso común
incondicionalmente.  En este punto los abordajes tanto de Hardin como de
Ostrom son igualmente inútiles, porque su diferencia está asociada
solamente a la composición de la mezcla.  Para Hardin, se requiere más
privatización, mientras que para Ostrom debe ser contenida.

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Benkler (2006, 378) explains that traditionally the tragedy of the
Commons is described by (i) the absence of incentives, i.e., nobody
invests resources in a project since no privatisation follows; (ii) the
absence of leadership, i.e., nobody has the appropriate authority to
guide and accomplish such a project. What Benkler says is this: Let's
assume that Hardin's proposition is true:  Privatisation secures
the sustainability of a resource. But how do we get there? To begin
with, what is our incentive to assume ownership or management of a
common resource, if we do not charge for its use? And suppose that the
incentive has been found: Are we capable of achieving the sustainability
goal when this capability is part of collective intelligence? The
difficulty to meet both conditions means inadequacy of assuming
responsibility, hence, the common resource has no future, according
to Hardin. Benkler (2006) states that this does not apply in peer
production: Commons-based communities manage to find their own ways.

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Benkler [-@benkler-2006, pp. 378] explica que la tragedia de los comunes
es tradicionalmente descrita por (i) la ausencia de incentivos, es
decir, nadie invierte recursos en un proyecto porque no puede ser
privatizado luego; (ii) la ausencia de liderazgo, es decir nadie posee
la autoridad apropiada para guiar y realizar tal proyecto.  Lo que
Benkler dice es esto:  "Asumamos que la proposición de Benkler es
verdadera: la privatización asegura la sostenibilidad del recurso.
¿Pero cómo llegamos ahí?  Por empezar, ¿cuál es nuestro incentivo para
asumir la propiedad o la administración de un recurso común, si no
cobramos por su utilización?  Suponiendo que el incentivo ha sido
encontrado: ¿somos capaces de lograr la sostenibilidad cuando esta
capacidad es parte de la inteligencia colectiva?"  La dificultad para
alcanzar ambas condiciones significa que hay una inadecuación para
asumir responsabilidad y por lo tanto, el recurso común no tiene futuro,
de acuerdo con Hardin.  Benkler [-@benkler-2006] establece que esto no
sucede en la producción de pares:  las comunidades basadas en los
Comunes se las arreglan para encontrar sus propias formas.

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However, counter-examples can be found against the cases Benkler
brings to the fore to support his argument. For instance, see the
software development in traditional corporate environments on projects
released under permissive free software licenses (examples include
the MIT license and the BSD licenses), which allow privatising code
modifications and, thus, do not take action against patent “treachery”
(see Peren 1999; GNU 2013; Fitzgerald 2006). In that way software misses
its free component and its quality becomes questionable, since the
distribution of code's changes depends on the personal stance of the
entrepreneur who can package them up under restrictive terms. That is
to say, the programmer or the entrepreneur can shift from a permissive
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No obstante, pueden encontrarse contraejemplos a los que presenta
Benkler para apoyar su argumentación.  Por ejemplo, el desarrollo de
software en los ambientes corporativos tradicionales cuyos proyectos son
liberados bajo licencias permisivas (como la MIT o las BSD), que
permiten la privatización de las modificaciones del código y que por lo
tanto no toman partido hacia la "perfidia" de las patentes [@peren-1999;
@gnu-2013; @fitzgerald-2006].  De esta forma el software pierde su
componente de libertad y su calidad se vuelve cuestionable, ya que la
distribución de los cambios en el código depende de la posición personal
de un _entrepeneur_ que los puede empaquetar bajo términos restrictivos.
Es decir, el programador o el _entrepeneur_ pueden cambiar de una
licencia permisiva
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license to an “end-user license agreement”. In addition, production
shifts to the terms with which the non-free, proprietary software is
produced.  Thereby the software community experiences higher pressure
and the rights of the end users are eventually reduced. In other
words, permissive free software licenses can lead to a “tragedy” or
rather a “parody of the Commons” because of free software's allegedly
emancipatory promise. In such a scenario maximising individual freedom
away from society needs would have worse total consequences than would
have resulted by applying regulation to maximise societal freedom
instead. One might claim that code is in abundance, as an informational
good with almost zero marginal costs; however it needs improvement and
maintenance, i.e., labour hours. Hence, investing free labour hours
in dead-end projects, permissive free software licenses may trigger
a parody of the Commons, by slowing down the overall adoption pace
of free software. By contrast the copyleft licenses (for example the
GPL, General Public License) guarantee end users the freedoms to use,
study, share (copy), and modify the software. Copyleft is a method of
social production as well as a process of knowledge sharing, which
makes a program or other work free, and requires all modified and
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extended versions of the program to be free as well (GNU 2012). Hence,
copyleft licenses define the relations amongst the members of software
communities and in that sense they create ecologies outside or rather
in the interstices of the capitalist market. To ensure there is no
misunderstanding, we need to clarify the meaning of free software. The
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“free” in free software, unlike “free” in free labour, does not mean
gratis. Free software is defined by the four freedoms the user of that
software has in order to use, study, share copies, and share modified
versions of the software.

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a un acuerdo de usuario final (EULA en inglés).  Además, la producción
cambia hacia los términos en los que el software no libre, propietario,
es producido.  Por lo tanto la comunidad de software experimenta una
mayor presión y los derechos del usuario final son eventualmente
reducidos.  En otras palabras, las licencias permisivas pueden llevar a
una "tragedia" antes que a una "parodia de los Comunes" por la promesa
emancipatoria del Software Libre.  En tal escenario la maximización
de la libertad individual contra las necesidades sociales tendría
consecuencias totales aun peores que la aplicación de regulaciones que
maximicen la libertad social en su lugar.  Podría decirse que el código
abunda, en tanto bien informacional con costos marginales tendientes
a cero; sin embargo necesita mejoras y mantenimiento, es decir, horas
de trabajo.  Por lo tanto, al invertir horas de trabajo libres en un
proyecto sin salida, las licencias permisivas pueden provocar una
parodia de los Comunes, al desacelerar el paso de la adopción general
del software libre.  En contraste las licencias copyleft (como la
Licencia Pública General, GPL) garantizan a los usuarios finales las
libertades de usar, estudiar, compartir (copiar) y modificar el
software.  El copyleft es un método de producción social tanto como un
proceso de compartición de conocimiento, que vuelve un programa o
cualquier trabajo en libre y requiere que todas las modificaciones y
versiones extendidas también lo sean [@gnu-2012].  De ahí que las
licencias copyleft definan las relaciones entre los miembros de las
comunidades de software y les permitan crear ecologías por fuera o más
bien en los intersticios del mercado capitalista.  Para que no haya
malentendidos, necesitamos clarificar el significado de "software
libre".  Lo "libre" en el software libre, a diferencia de lo "libre" en
trabajo libre, no significa gratis.  El Software Libre se define por
cuatro libertades que el usuario tiene para usar, estudiar, compartir
copias y compartir versiones modificadas del software.

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Defining the Parody of the Commons

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Definiendo la Parodia de los Comunes
------------------------------------

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We name “parody of the Commons” the introduction of privatisation in the
management of the common resources realised either by the assignment of
ownership to individuals or by the interference of state regulation,
when capital is the prevailing force as well as the appropriation of the
financial results. Both routes rely on the assumption of owning better
information pools, which is challenged by the current developments of
liberal-democratic societies. If Commons-based peer production does not
become the dominant mode of production, the conditions for a tragedy
will be arguably met and then the emancipatory promise of the Commons
will be torn apart. It can be claimed that the state policies have to
be considered as a parameter. We argue that the state intervention –
when it legislates enforcing or facilitating measures – actually applies
Hardin's schema following other routes. The state perceives as “public”
all goods and resources of some value and then intervenes introducing
regulations for the “common good”.

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Decimos que la "Parodia de los Comunes" es la introducción de la
privatización en el manejo de los recursos comunes que se realiza ya sea
por la asignación de la propiedad a individuos o por interferencia de la
regulación estatal, cuando el capital es la fuerza prevaleciente así
como la apropiación de los resultados financieros.  Ambas rutas
descansan en la asunción de propiedad sobre mejores _pools_
informacionales, a los que se contraponen los desarrollos actuales de
las sociedades liberal-democráticas.  Si la producción de pares basada
en los Comunes no se convierte en el modo de producción dominante, las
condiciones para una tragedia estarán dadas y la promesa emancipatoria
de los Comunes quedará destrozada.  Puede decirse que las políticas de
Estado deben ser consideradas como un parámetro.  Decimos que la
intervención estatal --cuando legisla reforzando o facilitando medidas--
aplica el esquema de Hardin por otras rutas.  El Estado percibe como
"público" todos los bienes y recursos de valor e interviene
introduciendo regulaciones por el "bien común".

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However, this intervention is an attack to the public sphere and
subverts communities. If a community starts to grow, inspectors
from above turn up to define specifications, procedures, financial
constraints, setting the direction for the future of the common
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resource. Also they set aside the immediate interests of those who now
must obey rules set by bodies irrelevant to the local needs. The basic
idea originating to the bounded rationality principle is that regulation
cannot stop the abuse and eventually the depletion of the Commons
occurs. This approach does not adopt the position that the state is
incapable by nature or due to its size.  The state policies are, most of
the times, what they are because of commitments and facilitations by the
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political system to the financial sector.

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No obstante, esta intervención es una ataque a la esfera pública que
subvierte las comunidades.  Si una comunidad comienza a crecer, aparecen
inspectores desde arriba para definir especificaciones, procedimientos y
límites financieros que configuran la dirección futura del recurso
común.  Además alienan los intereses inmediatos de aquellos que ahora
deben obedecer reglas impuestas por cuerpos irrelevantes a las
necesidades locales.  La idea base que se origina del principio de la
racionalidad limitada es que la regulación no puede detener el abuso y
eventualmente el agotamiento de los Comunes.  Este abordaje no indica
que el Estado es incapaz por naturaleza o por su tamaño.  Las políticas
estatales son, la mayor parte del tiempo, lo que son por compromisos y
facilidades que el sistema política hace al sector financiero.

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We define two main features of the parody of the Commons. The first
feature is the institutional integration, which is the absorption of
the proportional dividend of every individual by a mandatory private
appropriation enforced through legislation. The applied policies cannot
affect free software communities in large scale, but they directly
harm other forms of Commons as much as any other type of industrial
unit involved with the production of any material. Individuals enter
the Commons to enjoy the participatory nature of a productive and/or
creative endeavour carrying the belief that the involvement of other
members alongside with theirs builds a sum that belongs to all and
from which all benefit from. In that sum, every contributor to a
Commons-based community expects a contributory return plus a reward for
nonvoluntary work. The capital markets seriously challenge this belief
by pursuing their own agenda, based on onerous and illegal, concerning
the international law, debts that stifle the real economy. The
central or local administrations in an attempt to fulfil financial
obligations to creditors, apply policies that oblige a whole society
to transfer a large part of the national income toward payments to
creditors. Instead of re-investments for the local needs, the society
is deprived from valuable resources and assets. The state treats
Commons-based communities as any other business unit and applies heavy
non-contributory taxation. Any ambitious activity is finally ceased and
one of the first victims is the voluntary work done by the members of
peer communities. This is not an imaginary situation; it is the reality
in the Eurozone today, where the banking sector is allowed to have
an unprecedented concentration of power. The link, which makes this
situation unbearable for all, is arguably the iron fist of the common
currency. Even Germany, the most powerful economy in the Eurozone, is
turning slowly into recession (Indexmundi 2013; The Economist 2011)
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while most of the cities and towns there now belong to the banks rather
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than the federal state (Czuczka 2012). For the European south, there are
many examples of structural reforms taking place that damaged equally
the industrial and agricultural sector in the last 40 years. This is
arguably a path to a dead-end.

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Definimos dos características principales en la parodia de los Comunes.
La primera es la integración institucional, es decir la absorción del
dividendo proporcional de cada individuo por una apropiación privada
obligatoria forzada por legislación.  Las políticas aplicadas no pueden
afectar a las comunidades de software libre a gran escala, pero sí
pueden dañar otras formas de los Comunes tanto como cualquier otro
tipo de unidad industrial involucrada en la producción de un material
cualquiera.  Los individuos ingresan a los Comunes para disfrutar la
naturaleza participativa de un esfuerzo productivo y/o creativo bajo la
creencia que el involucramiento de otros miembros construya una suma que
le pertenece a todos y de la que todos se benefician.  En esa suma, cada
contribuidor a una comunidad basada en los Comunes espera un retorno a
su contribución más una recompensa por su trabajo involuntario.  Los
mercados de capital desafían seriamente esta creencia al perseguir
su propia agenda, basada en, según la ley internacional, onerosas e
ilegales deudas que ahogan la economía real.  Las administraciones
centrales o locales, al intentar cumplir con las obligaciones
financieras hacia sus acreedores, aplican políticas que obligan a la
sociedad en su conjunto a transferir una gran parte del producto
nacional hacia los pagos a estos acreedores.  En lugar de reinvertir en
las necesidades locales, la sociedad es privada de valiosos recursos y
bienes.  El Estado trata a las comunidades basadas en los Comunes como a
cualquier otra unidad de negocios y aplica duras tasas impositivas.
Cualquier actividad ambiciosa finalmente resulta detenida y una de las
primeras víctimas es el trabajo voluntario que realizan los miembros de
las comunidades de pares.  Esta no es una situación imaginaria; es la
realidad de la Eurozona actual, donde el sector bancario tiene permitido
concentrar una cantidad imprecedente de poder.  El vínculo, que vuelve
esta situación insoportable para todos, es el puño de hierro de la
moneda común.  Aun Alemania, la más poderosa economía de la Eurozona,
está cayendo lentamente en recesión [@indexmundi-2013; @economist-2011]
mientras que la mayor parte de las ciudades y pueblos pasaron a
pertenecer a los bancos antes que al Estado federal [@czucka-2012].
Para el Sur europeo existen muchos ejemplos de reformas estructurales
que dañaron tanto el sector industrial como el agrícola en los últimos
40 años.  Esto es entonces el camino hacia un callejón sin salida.

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The second feature is the external outsourcing, according to which,
regardless of the partners’ intentions and plans, the project is
converted into a mode of crowdsourcing/aggregation economy. In
the aforementioned scenario the peer produced use value serves
certain for-profit interests no matter if peer producers are aware
of it. The owners/administrators of the web platforms/network, i.e.,
the “netarchists” such as Facebook or Google (for an overview of the
concept see Bauwens 2007, 2013; Kostakis 2012) can be considered as
the web capitalists, who renounce their dependence on information
accumulation through intellectual property and become enablers of social
participation (Bauwens 2007, 2013; Kostakis 2012). They combine open
and closed elements in the architecture of their platforms to ensure
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a measure of profit and control by expanding the reach of neoliberal
economy through cognitive capitalism (see Aytes 2013; Andrejevic 2013;
Bauwens 2007, 2013; Kostakis 2012). Fuchs (2013, 219-220) notes that
in proprietary-based platforms the productive labour is outsourced to
users “who work completely for free and help to maximize the rate of
exploitation [...] so that profits can be raised and new media capital
may be accumulated. This situation is one of infinitive exploitation
of the users”. In a similar vein, Terranova (2013, 53) addresses the
relevance of the concept of the Commons: “as the wealth generated by
free labour is social, so should be the mode of its return”. Hence, she
concludes, “social networking platforms should be deprivatized – that
is, that ownership of users’ data should be returned to their rightful
owners as the freedom to access and modify the protocols and diagrams
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that structure their participation”.

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La segunda característica es la externalización, de acuerdo al cual y
a pesar de las intenciones y planes de los miembros, el proyecto se
convierte en una forma de economía de agregación o _crowdsourcing_.
En este escenario el valor de uso producido por los pares sirve a
ciertos intereses lucrativos sin importar que los pares productores
estén al tanto.  Los dueños/administradores de la red/plataforma, es
decir los "netarquistas" como Facebook o Google pueden considerarse los
capitalistas de la web, que renuncian a su dependencia de la acumulación
de información a través de la propiedad intelectual y se vuelven
facilitadores de la participación social [@bauwens-2007; @bauwens-2013;
@kostakis-2012].  Combinan elementos abiertos y cerrados en la
arquitectura de sus plataformas para asegurarse una medida de lucro y
control al expandir el alcance de la economía neoliberal a través del
capitalismo cognitivo [@aytes-2013; @andrejevic-2013; @bauwens-2007;
@bauwens-2013; @kostakis-2012].  Fuchs [-@fuchs-2013, pp. 219-220]
muestra que en las plataformas privativas el trabajo productivo es
externalizado hacia los usuarios "quienes trabajan completamente gratis
y ayudan a maximizar la tasa de explotación [...] de forma que las
ganancias puedan ser aumentadas y el nuevo capital mediático pueda ser
acumulado.  Esta es una situación de infinita explotación de los
usuarios".  En una vena similar, Terranova [-@terranova-2013, pp. 53]
aborda la relevancia del concepto de los Comunes: "como la riqueza
generada por el trabajo gratuito es social, este también debería ser el
modo de su devolución."  Por lo tanto, concluye que "las plataformas de
redes sociales deben ser des-privatizadas --es decir que la propiedad de
los datos de los usuarios debe ser devuelta a sus dueños legítimos así
como la libertad de acceder y modificar los protocolos y diagramas que
estructuran su participación."

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So, free labour is voluntary. In peer production projects, the
knowledge worker owns the final artefact (which is always open to
further development) of the productive process and gains experience,
knowledge, relations and/or even money (however, monetary profit is
not the key motivating factor) through it. In states of privatisation
(according to the aforementioned categorisation that would be
in the crowdsourcing/aggregation economies) free labour implies
exploitation. In addition to the social media monopolies, the
development of Apple's MacOS X is another example of external
outsourcing. In short, MacOS X is based on UNIX, software that begun as
a free-shared product to later become proprietary under different brand
names and then free again (for example, FreeBSD and NetBSD). Parts of
the latter free software components along with the mach kernel developed
at Carnegie Mellon University were included into NeXTSTEP operating
system, which was finally renamed into OS X.

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Entonces, el trabajo gratuito es voluntario.  En los proyectos
de producción de pares, el trabajador cognitivo es dueño del
artefacto final (que permanece abierto a su desarrollo ulterior) del
proceso productivo y gana experiencia, conocimiento, relaciones y/o
incluso dinero (aun cuando la ganancia monetaria no sea el factor
determinante) a través de este.  En estado de privatización (de
acuerdo a la categorización antes mencionada de las economías de
agregación/crowdsource) el trabajo gratuito implica explotación.  En
adición a los monopolios de los medios sociales, el desarrollo de MacOS
X de Apple es otro ejemplo de externalización.  Básicamente, MacOS
X está basado en UNIX, un software que comenzó como un producto de
compartición libre para luego volverse privativo bajo diferentes marcas
comerciales y luego libre otra vez, por ejemplo, FreeBSD y NetBSD.
Partes de estos últimos componentes de software libre así como el kernel
Mach desarrollado por la Universidad Carnegie Mellon fueron incluidos en
el sistema operativo NeXTSTEP, finalmente renombrado OS X.

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Hence, we argue that the Commons firstly emerge as a tragedy due to
long-term inertia and then evolve to a farce or a parody. As soon as the
gradual destruction is perceived (tragedy) everybody agrees to privatise
the management and in case they do not agree, the state may force
agreement in order to implement the assignment. The common resource
remains common by its name only (parody). We argue that, unfortunately,
this is a likely scenario. To put it in software terminology, this
constitutes a security hole in the ecology of peer production, and, for
the moment, no patch (i.e., solution) has been proposed. The question,
therefore, is whether the peer producers will actually benefit from the
development of P2P relations and the production of commonly produced
use value, or whether the Commonsbased peer production phenomenon will
just constitute a part of a neoliberal Plan B, put in Caffentzis' terms
(2010). Supposing peer production will be progressively emerging as a
dominant productive model upon which will rely the prosperity of the
people (see Hardt and Negri 2011; Rigi 2012; Bauwens and Kostakis in
press; Kostakis 2013), then the transcendence of the parody is not
just a theoretical issue to be dealt with. It is rather a practical,
political issue that will determine the success of the Commons-based
communities in general.  Hence, it is necessary to approach the Commons
concept within the ongoing socio-economic context that is blooming and
discuss how it affects the function of the real economy.

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Por lo tanto, decimos que los Comunes emergen en primer lugar como una
tragedia debido a una inercia de largo plazo para evolucionar hacia una
farsa o parodia.  Tan pronto como esta destrucción gradual es percibida
(la tragedia), todos están de acuerdo en que la administración debe
privatizarse y si no acordaran, el Estado podría forzar el acuerdo para
poder implementar la asignación.  El recurso común permanece como tal
sólo de nombre (la parodia).  Decimos que, desafortunadamente, este
es el escenario más posible.  Para ponerlo en términos de software,
constituye un agujero de seguridad en la ecología de la producción
de pares y por el momento no se ha propuesto un parche (es decir,
una solución).  La pregunta entonces, es si los pares productores se
beneficiarán realmente del desarrollo de relaciones de pares (P2P) y de
la producción común de usos de valor, o si el fenómeno de la producción
de pares basada en los Comunes sólo constituirá una parte del Plan B
neoliberal, como dice Caffentzi [-@caffentzi-2010].  Suponiendo que la
producción de pares emergerá progresivamente como el modelo productivo
dominante sobre el que dependerá la prosperidad de la gente
[@hardt-negri-2011; @rigi-2012; @bauwens-kostakis-nd; @kostakis-2013],
entonces la trascendencia de la parodia no es un problema teórico al que
abordar.  Es en cambio un problema práctico, político, que determinará
el éxito de las comunidades con base en los Comunes en general.  Por lo
tanto, resulta necesario abordar el concepto de los Comunes dentro de un
contexto socioeconómico en proceso que está aflorando y discutir cómo
afecta el funcionamiento de la economía real.

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While the triggering event of its burst was the failure of subprime
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mortgages, many opinions have been voiced concerning the causes
of the 2008 financial bubble. Some of technoeconomic nature (for
example Perez 2009a, 2009b) and others (for instance Sowell 2010;
Krugman 2009, 2012; Stiglitz 2010), which focus more on the symptoms
rather than on the inherent contradictory characteristics of the
capitalist system. According to Karl Marx (1992/1885, 1993/1983), the
general pattern of the capitalist system, which makes economic crises
inevitable, is created by the combined action of two laws of capitalist
integration. The first law concerns the tendency of profit's quota to
decrease whereas the second law describes the need for an increasing
capital concentration and accumulation. These two laws contradict each
other leading the system to collapses and crises: Capital cannot be
invested when the declining rate of profit's quota is faster than the
increasing rate of capital accumulation. In Marx's analysis, capitalism
is inherently built on a Sisyphean logic reaching always a dead-end in
which the escapable policy often concerns the partial destruction of the
total capital. For a certain period of time, capitalism –a process of
“creative destruction”, to remember Schumpeter (1975/1942, 1982/1939)
who shares many views with Marx in the analysis of the capitalist
dynamics– may seem sustainable, introducing innovative products and
services. Williamson (1995, 1998), also, from a different perspective
reaches a similar conclusion: Every firm will stop developing once its
organisational costs surpass the organisational costs of a smaller firm.

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Mientras que el evento disparador de su explosión fue la falla de las
hipotecas _subprime_, muchas opiniones se han alzado sobre las causas
de la burbuja financiera del 2008.  Alguna de naturaleza tecnoeconómica
[@perez-2009a; @perez-2009b] y otras [@sowell-2010; @krugman-2009;
@krugman-2012; @stiglitz-2010] que se enfocan en los síntomas antes
que en las características contradictorias inherentes al sistema
capitalista.  De acuerdo con Karl Marx [-@marx-1992; -@marx-1993], el
patrón general del sistema capitalista, que vuelve inevitables las
crisis económicas, es creado por la acción combinada de dos leyes de
la integración capitalista.  La primera ley concierne la tendencia de
la cuota de ganancias a decrecer mientras que la segunda describe la
necesidad de una creciente concentración y acumulación de capital.
Estas dos leyes se contradicen mutuamente llevando a un sistema
que colapsa y entra en crisis: el Capital no puede ser invertido
cuando la tasa en descenso de la cuota ganancias es más rápida que la
creciente tasa de acumulación de capital.  En el análisis de Marx, el
capitalismo está inherentemente construido sobre una lógica sisífea que
alcanza siempre un callejón sin salida, donde la política de escape
a menudo constituye la destrucción parcial del capital total.  Por
un período determinado, el capitalismo --un proceso de "creatividad
destructiva" según Schumpeter [-@schumpeter-1975; -@schumpeter-1982],
que comparte muchos puntos de vista con Marx en el análisis de la
dinámica capitalista-- puede parecer sostenible, al introducir productos
y servicios innovativos.  Desde una perspectiva diferente, Williamson
[-@williamson-1995; -@williamson-1998] alcanza una conclusión similar:
cada compañía dejará de desarrollarse cuando sus costos organizacionales
superan los costos organizacionales de una compañía menor.

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The partial transformation of the stagnant capital into loan capital is
used as a pressure valve for overcoming the dead-end (Marx 1992/1885;
Harvey 2007, 2010; Lapavitsas 2012).  The overflow of loan capital with
compound interest into international markets along with the shift of
policy decision-making from democratically elected state governments
to the banking sector firms and institutions preserves a global debt
crisis. Once the loanable capital secures its dominant position in the
market, the debt crisis becomes permanent and is reinforced regardless
of the progress in the annual economic indices. Even a prosperous
economy will start declining in the course of time if the annual surplus
is being used to serve external debts. Serving the external debt does
not necessarily mean that the debt is reduced, it may as well increase
if the interest is accumulated into capital, thus neutralising not only
the benefit of the local producers, but also any advantage on innovation
achieved by their talent and effort. This situation occurs when the
creditor and the debtor sign an unbalanced agreement, the interest rates
and spreads are unfairly high and there is no flexibility in monetary
policy. In that case, and especially in bankrupting economies, the
individuals who participate in Commons-oriented communities may fall
into the trap of a parody of the Commons.

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La transformación parcial del capital estancado en el capital de
préstamo es utilizada como una válvula de presión para superar este
callejón sin salida [@marx-1992; @harvey-2007; @harvey-2010;
@lapavitsas-2012].  El desborde de capital de préstamo bajo un interés
compuesto dentro de los mercados internacionales junto con el salto de
la toma de decisiones en estados democráticamente electos hacia
compañías e instituciones del sector bancario mantienen un estado de
deua en crisis global.  Una vez que el capital prestable asegura su
posición dominante en el mercado, la crisis de deudas se vuelve
permanente y es reforzada a pesar del progreso de los índices económicos
anuales.  Aun una economía próspera comenzará a declinar en el curso del
tiempo si el excedente anual es utilizado para pagar deudas externas.
Pagar la deuda externa no significa necesariamente que la deuda se
reduce, sino que por el contrario puede incrementarse si el interés es
acumulado como capital, que por lo tanto neutraliza no sólo las
ganancias de los productores locales, sino también cualquier ventaja
innovativa alcanzada por su talento y esfuerzo.  Esta situación ocurre
cuando el acreedor y el moroso firman un acuerdo desbalanceado donde las
tasas de interés y propagación son injustamente altas y no existe
flexibilidad en la política monetaria.  En este caso y especialmente en
las economías en bancarrota, los individuos que participan en
comunidades orientadas a los Comunes pueden caer en la trampa de la
parodia de los Comunes.

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The peer producer participates to satisfy his/her inner positive
motives, interests and needs (for instance, the need to create, learn,
communicate and share) on a voluntary basis (Benkler 2006; Hertel,
Niedner and Herrmann 2003; Lakhani and Wolf 2005). As Hertel, Niedner
and Herrmann (2003, 1174) point out, the Linux kernel community
participants are driven “by similar motives as voluntary action within
social movements such as the civil rights movement, the labour movement,
or the peace movement”. On the other hand, the peer producer has no
idea that his/her voluntary inputs contribute to the retention of the
average profit quota's decrease, offering the chance to capital to
develop, appropriate, expand and grow.  Therefore, we argue that those
who have a competitive advantage over the P2P relations of production
will benefit from the appropriation of the commonly peer produced use
value. The aforementioned is a typical case of the transformation of the
tragedy into parody, once the lack of authority, observed in several
Commons-based peer projects, gives the chance to extra-economic means to
take advantage of creative communities' inertia.

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El par productor participa para satisfacer sus motivos, intereses y
necesidades positivos (por ejemplo, la necesidad de crear, aprender,
comunicarse y compartir) voluntariamente [@benkler-2006; @hertel-2003;
@gnunited-lakhani-wolf05].  Como apuntan Hertel, Niedner y Herrmann
[-@hertel-2003, pp. 1174], los participantes de la comunidad del kernel
Linux son impulsados "por motivos similares a los de la acción
voluntaria dentro de movimientos sociales como el movimiento por los
derechos civiles, el movimiento obrero o el movimiento pacifista."  Por
otro lado, el par productor no tiene idea que sus aportes voluntarios
contribuyen a la retención del decrecimiento promedio de la cuota de
ganancias, ofreciendo una chance al capital para desarrollar,
apropiarse, expandirse y crecer.  Por lo tanto, decimos que aquellos que
tienen una ventaja competitiva sobre las relaciones de producción de
pares se beneficiarán de la apropiación del valor de uso producido en
común por los pares.  Esto es un caso típico de transformación de
tragedia en parodia, una vez que la falta de autoridad observada en
ciertos proyectos de pares basados en los Comunes da una oportunidad a
medios extraeconómicos de tomar ventaja de la inercia de las comunidades
creativas.

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The Parody of Free Software?

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¿La parodia del Software Libre?
-------------------------------

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For the economic system the accumulation of means of production is
both a functional necessity and cause for deadlock. In the area of
information sciences, computers and other digital devices, the technical
capacity of using all those devices as means of production is at the
hands of the majority. The private property in the means of production
at this economic sector for the first time is universal and the amount
of means that people own decisively influences their potential. Today,
free software, due to its technical excellence, is being widely used
by organisations that compete against the philosophy and practice of
peer communities. One of the causes is the division of the developers'
community to those who use the term “free software”, thus, contributing
to an increasing power of software communities and to those who prefer
constructs like “open source” or “shared source” arguing in favour of
the ease of free software penetration into the world of business. The
latter removed from all users, individuals or legal entities, the
ability to understand that their political freedom that depends on
the use of digital media is far more important than the technical
superiority of the free software that enables those media.

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Para el sistema económico la acumulación de los medios de producción
es una necesidad funcional tanto como una causa para alcanzar un punto
muerto.  En el área de las ciencias informacionales, las computadoras
y otros dispositivos digitales y la capacidad técnica de usarlos como
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medios de producción está al alcance de la mayoría.  La propiedad
privada de los medios de producción en este sector económico es por
priemra vez universal y la cantidad de medios que la gente posee
influencia decisivamente su potencial.  Hoy en día, el Software Libre,
por su excelencia técnica, es ampliamente utilizado por organizaciones
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que compiten contra la filosofía y la práctica de las comunidades
de pares.  Una de las causas es la división de la comunidad de
desarrolladores entre los que utilizan el término "software libre" y
por lo tanto contribuyen a un poder en crecimiento de la comunidades
de software y aquellos que prefieren construcciones como "código
abierto" o "código compartido" argumentando a favor de la facilitación
de la penetración del software libre en el mundo de los negocios.
Estos últimos remueven a todos los usuarios, tanto individuales como
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jurídicos, de la habilidad de comprender que su libertad política
depende de la utilización de medios digitales es mucho más importante
que la superioridad técnica del software libre que habilita esos medios.

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The majority of the people cannot be aware of all these, when free
software is not a corner stone of the public education system. This
shortcoming severely damages society or part of it in the face of
urgent social issues. Even the application of wide consent policies
is doomed to fail if the technical infrastructure does not deal with
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immediate social problems.  One may observe two heavy consequences
of the community division. The approaches closer to “open source”
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are anti-pedagogical due to their axiological neutrality, thereby
cannot get promoted as educational material, while friction with free
software does not offer teachers a clear direction. Then society,
due to absence of guidance, is moving conceptually to what people
intuitively understand. That software technology is more technology and
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less software, hence, a business for specialised engineers.

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La mayoría de la gente no puede estar al tanto de todo esto, cuando el
software libre no es la piedra angular del sistema de educación pública.
Este defecto daña severamente a la sociedad en todo o en parte con
respecto a problemas sociales urgentes.  Incluso la aplicación de
políticas ampliamente consensuadas está destinada al fracaso si la
infraestructura técnica no toma en cuenta los problemas sociales
inmediatos.  Pueden observarse dos graves consecuencias de la división
de la comunidad.  Los abordajes cercanos al "código abierto" son
antipedagógicos debido a su neutralidad axiológica, por lo que no pueden
ser promovidos como material educativo, mientras que la fricción con el
software libre no ofrece a los docentes una dirección clara.  Entonces
la sociedad, en ausencia de guía, se mueve conceptualmente hacia lo que
la gente comprende intuitivamente.  Es decir que la tecnología es más
tecnología y menos software, por lo tanto materia de ingenieros
especializados.

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When the new technology of typography was invented, its high cost kept
the majority at a distance from these new means of production. In our
days, when the excuse of keeping a distance from digital media is not
an option, the misinformation, even by official sources, regarding the
dynamics of software has become epidemic. In that way, it prevents
people from finding out how to use computers for their own benefit,
instead forcing them to assign even the simplest task to computer
experts.

The network, i.e., a sum of networked nodes, is actually the “real
computer” since coherence and economies of scale are both possible in
the network. The traditional state policies that give way to monopoly
power cannot easily apply here. The advocates of P2P architecture
are struggling against a coordinated international effort to control
the power of peer nodes before the majority realises the width of
opportunities it offers. The chosen policy to subvert Commons-based
communities is on one hand the pressure for signing international
agreements against the freedom of Internet, which is a typical operation
of institutional integration, and on the other the binding of users
to monopoly corporations. Those corporations charge for pre-installed
proprietary technologies that come with any newly purchased device and
deprive all from basic freedoms in exchange of a presumed ease of use.

Although the “golden cage” is a syndrome that cannot last forever,
companies that develop non-free software may estimate that one way
or another it will be a source of income driven by the power of
inertia. Proprietary technologies in operating systems and software
applications have two major consequences. They keep the users divided
and helpless (Stallman 2008), deconstruct local cultures (Greve 2006a,
2006b) and increase digital illiteracy. This is a good example of
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external outsourcing, which holds a more or less important role, however
the institutional integration appears to be the most appropriate way of
undermining the Commons.

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Overcoming the Tensions

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Superando las tensiones
-----------------------

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In times when the global economy is relatively stable, the parody of
the Commons can be easily avoided. There is insignificant migration
of labour power from the corporate model towards the Commons, hence
no serious pressure to apply institutional integration and the
mobility of community members practically cancels the consequence of
crowdsourcing. But in an era of economic collapse and while mobility
becomes a risk, gradually more people direct their attention to
communities, with many of them doing so for survival purposes.

The state seems to face Commons-based peer communities as ordinary
economic units subject to heavy taxation while supports “intellectual
property”-based activities. Those activities are injected into
communities blocking their growth. The hope that the multiplicity of
communities will help them rise into dominant relations of production
is refuted since the political system will allow communities to grow
only if their operations and functions become integrated to the
established mode of production. History shows that the capitalist
mode of production allowed no other form of production. The future
of pre-capitalist or novel produc- tion modes was predetermined:
destruction or integration. While P2P relations are not dominant, their
dependence on a friendly economic environment becomes imperative.

A recent example where a Commons might be commodified is the case
of ERT's digital archive. ERT was the Greek state television and
radio network. It was a constituent of the public sector and had
been funded through a mandatory tax implemented into the bill of
the public electricity enterprise (DEI) for decades. In December
2007, the launch of the effort to digitise the old ERT archives was
announced, which first delivered results a few months later. Although
initially this endeavour was considered an important step for the
public availability of a unique cultural wealth, the decision to
be distributed in that specific way was met with the opposition of
several Commons-oriented communities and civilians. According to the
protesters, behind this initiative lies an “innocent fraud”: The digital
archive remained in the exclusive ownership of ERT. Patented file
types and video, text and picture formats were selected to implement
the digitisation while download and further use of the material was
forbidden. Further, in the current event of ERT's dissolution as a
consequence of the Greek crisis, (at the time of this writing, August
2013, the fate of ERT's archive is still unknown) this national cultural
aggregation, created and funded by the Greek citizens, may revert to
private ownership. Already during the summer absence of a public Greek
network, private stations broadcasted parts of the archive. The ERT
case highlights the traditional concept for state ownership of public
goods: The state manages a resource on behalf of the civilians over
which they have no authority. And in turbulent times the exploitation of
the Commons, as part of “shock doctrine” policies (see Klein 2008), more
easily takes place contributing to and catalysing the process of capital
accumulation.

An effective treatment is arguably the use of means that guarantee the
smooth growth of communities. Structurally, a measure is the adoption
by society of the five maturity conditions to enter the Commons: open
standards, free software, P2P architecture, advanced learning system
and communities. As far as the political context is concerned, the
parliamentary democracy, for instance in Greece, is trying hard to
secure the current status quo by demolishing various citizens' rights
and occasionally violating constitution. One should not rest his/her
hopes on the political party system and the associated policies mainly
due to three characteristics inherent to political party policies: i)
restrictions on democracy is a policy to overcome economic crisis; ii)
supranational centralism in deciding and applying fiscal and monetary
policies serves the vision of a United Europe; iii) in a long period of
depression, increased capital borrowing is the best method to return to
growth.

This set of characteristics makes this intentional absurdity evident in
the behaviour of political parties, for which the probability to adopt
P2P practices is practically zero, since this perspective requires
immediate implementation of P2P infrastructures, something which is
in contrast with the notion of “property” as it is embedded in the
philosophy of the political system. How is it possible for a political
system that defends the constitutional interpretation of “property”, to
take the lead in confiscating private properties? One possible answer is
that while the political system simply declares itself as an adherent
of property, it only defends a particular monopolising trend, a form of
impersonal appropriation against the real individuals.

When Jean Monnet (1976) declared “nous ne coalisons pas des Etats,
nous unissons des hommes” (“we are not building a coalition of states;
we are creating a union of peoples”), his wish came along with the
deconstruction of the national state, conceptually prepared in various
publications. The philosophical background of that approach was clearly
Manichaeistic since the bipolar schema national-supranational is
interpreted on the basis of a theocracy that proclaims a dualism of
absolute extremes. Only a few scholars, Victor Hugo one of them,
attempted to transcend the anti-dialectic heritage of the discourse
around the “ideal of a unified Europe” (Swedberg 1994).

The answer to the problem should be a type of democracy capable
to emerge from the activity of Commons-based communities and the
interactions among them. A political project at both national and
international level is required to release the healthy forces that
demand the construction of communities for the benefit of their
members. Given the estimated lengthy time period of the economic crisis
as well as its structural peculiarity, which is a combination of
monetary inflexibility and debt accumulation regardless the possible
reduction of deficit, the parody of the Commons can be eliminated only
if communities adhere to their mission: To ensure a high maturity level
and make their requests for a Commons infrastructure a government policy
towards a “partner state”, i.e., democratically-run, civic institutions
that protect the common good (see Bauwens 2012; Kostakis 2012).

This high maturity level could be achieved through the establishment
of a democratic legal jurisdiction, which would impose restrictions on
the exploitation of the Commons (Kleiner 2010; Fuchs 2013; Bauwens and
Kostakis in press). Peer production might be collectively sustainable
but it is not individually:  Most of the peer contributors cannot
make a living and they are dependent on wages from the capitalist
market. We side with Bauwens and Kostakis (in press) who suggest “the
creation of Commons-friendly, ethical enterprises, consisting of the
commoners themselves, who also control their own governance and have
ownership. Such enterprises would be legally structured so that theirs
is an obligation to support the circulation of the Commons”. The
development of the Peer Production Licenses, introduced by Kleiner
(2010) as a copyfarleft type license, could be part of the debate. These
licenses could be oriented towards a plural form of ownership, which
would include “maker ownership (i.e. a revisiting of worker ownership
for the P2P age), combined with user ownership, i.e., a recognition
that users of networks co-create value; and eventually a return for the
ethical funders that support the enterprise” (Bauwens and Kostakis in
press). In that way profit making is allowed, but profit-maximisation
would not be the driving force of economic development.

Against the capital accumulation,
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which leads to the parody of the Commons-based communities' political
struggle should include the creation of an infrastructure that protects,
enables and catalyses the circulation of the Commons. In that way peer
production i) could become sustainable on the personal level as well;
ii) expand more easily to the manufacturing of tangible products building
on its conjunction with the emerging desktop manufacturing technological
capabilities (see Kostakis 2013); iii) and, thus, protect itself against
capital accumulation with the aim to marginalise, control and eventually
transcend capitalism.

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Conclusión
----------
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We defined two main features of the parody of the Commons: the
institutional integration and the external outsourcing, according to
which the Commons-based peer production is converted into a mode of
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crowdsourcing. In these conditions, we described how the Commons emerge
as a promise, then a tragedy and evolve into a parody. As soon as the
gradual destruction is perceived (tragedy) the management of the commons
resource is privatised: The common resource remains common by its name
only (parody). We argue that this is a likely scenario, particularly
damaging communities devoted to the production of tangible goods, in
the absence of free hardware and open specifications. Since information
sources as well as ICT are uniformly distributed, we claimed that the
best management is one applied by groups of conscious individuals
without orders from above. This should take place away from the
traditional perception of the market, which, despite its imperfections,
secured its place in a distant past, when the technology level could
not possibly support analogous claims. Subdivision of communities
into groups organised by a particular information-based competitive
advantage or preferential access and control delegation to the most
powerful parts cannot be possible if Commons-based communities follow
their principles. The opening of a path to such a perspective depends on
whether the majority decides to take creative control of their future.
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About the Authors Vasilis Kostakis is a political economist and
founder of the P2P Lab. Currently he is serving as a research fellow
at Tallinn University of Technology as well as at P2P Foundation.
Stelios Stavroulakis is a computer scientist and software engineer
interested in distributed information systems with a particular focus
on free software and open standards and a general awareness of social
and environmental issues. He is a collaborator of P2P Lab.