Jean Lievin: Communities: the institutions of the 21st century? An interview with Rachel Botsman

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Communities: the institutions of the 21st century? An interview with Rachel Botsman

Since her influential book about how collaborative consumption is changing the way we live, Rachel Botsman has been a leading actor in the collaborative economy and stimulated important debates about its future. OuiShare Fest Co-chair Francesca spoke to her about her vision of the collaborative economy movement, her current work and what she will bring to OuiShare Fest this May.

A lot has happened since your book “What’s Mine is Yours”. Did you imagine the collaborative economy would look the way it does today? Where do you see the movement going now?

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Apr 2

Stephen E. Arnold: Free eBooks, Open Culture, & You

Stephen E. Arnold

Stephen E. Arnold

Free eBooks At Open Culture

There are legal ways to download books on the Internet without having to resort to Pirate Bay or other P2P networks. If you visit Open Culture, you will discover that there are over “550 Free eBooks: Download Books For Free.” Before you get on your soapbox and explain that most books available for free on are usually in the public domain, thus old and less than exciting to read. While that is true for these books, there are also more contemporary authors listed, such as Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie, Neil Gaiman, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

If you are also interested in studying up on the Harvard Classics, because of this idea:

“During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. The publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to assemble the right collection of works.”

You will find that all of these classics are available for easy reading and download on the Internet. That Internet has made it easier to educate yourself with the amount of free classes, books, movies, and other content that can be obtained legally.

Whitney Grace, March 31, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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Mar 31

Stephen E. Arnold: Open Data Collection with Ushahidi

Stephen E. Arnold

Stephen E. Arnold

Open Data Collection with Ushahidi

March 28, 2014

The crowdsourced data collection platform Ushahidi, now assisting activists worldwide, was first created to facilitate public accountability and social activism during crises in its home nation, Kenya. Not surprisingly, Ushahidi is also the name of the non-profit behind the open-source project. Open-Steps.org interviewed the organization’s director of data projects, Chris Albon, about the platform. The article prefaces the dialogue with a brief explanation:

“In a nutshell, it allows citizens to make reports in a collaborative way, creating crowdsourced interactive maps. With a very intelligent approach, Ushahidi gives citizens the possibility to use the web, their smartphones and even SMS to gather data, which makes this technology accessible almost everywhere and for everyone. Originally created in Kenya to serve as an instrument for social activism and public accountability in crisis situations, the software has proven to be a great companion worldwide in bringing advocacy campaigns to a successful end. The team behind Ushahidi has not only created a world-changing technology but also they share it with others since it is released as Open Source.”

Albon tells us that the core Ushahidi platform is now being used in 159 countries and has been translated into 35 languages, and explains it is being used by groups from small, election-monitoring non-profits to global organizations tracking disaster relief efforts. Journalists also make use of the platform. Albon notes that his group helped build iHub in Nairobi, an “innovation hub” and community workspace designed to facilitate collaboration and community growth. See the article for more on this and Ushahidi’s other projects, Crowdmap, Swiftriver, Ping, and BRCK. The interview wraps up with something to look forward to: the next generation of the Ushahidi core platform, v3, is on its way.

Cynthia Murrell, March 28, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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Mar 28

Jean Lievens: Paracity High Tech Slums as Solution

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

PARACITY

“To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.”
– Samuel Beckett

Paracity is a biourban organism that is growing on the principles of Open Form: individual design-build actions generating spontaneous communicative reactions on the surrounding built human environment and this organic constructivist dialog leading into self-organized community structures, development and knowledge building.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

The growing organism the Paracity is based on a three dimensional wooden primary structure, organic grid with spatial modules of 6 x 6 x 6 metres (6 meters is approximately 18 feet)constructed out of CLT cross-laminated timber sticks. This simple structure can be modified and grown by the community members working as teams or by an assigned Paracity constructor.

Paracity’s self-sustainable biourban growth is backed up by off-the-grid environmental technology solutions providing methods for water purification, energy production, organic waste treatment, waste water purification and sludge recycling. These modular plug-in components can be adjusted according to the growth of the Paracity and moreover, the whole Paracity is designed not only to treat and circulate its own material streams, but to start leaching waste from its host city becoming a positive urban parasite following the similar kind of symbiosis as in-between slums and the surrounding city. In a sense Paracity is a high-tech slum, which can start tuning the industrial city towards an ecologically more sustainable direction.

Learn more — superb range of photographs and graphics.

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Mar 14

Ecuador Initiative: Commons-Oriented Productive Capacities

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Click on Image to Enlarge

ECUADOR INITIATIVE: Transition Proposals Toward a Commons-Oriented Economy and Society

Sponsored by the National Institute of Advanced Studies of Ecuador, carried out by the Free/Libre Open Knowledge (FLOK) Society.

Commons-oriented Productive Capacities

See Also:

Ecuador Initiative @ Phi Beta Iota

Michel Bauwens @ Phi Beta Iota

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Feb 12

Ecuador Initiative: Limits of Economic Valuations of Nature

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Click on Image to Enlarge

ECUADOR INITIATIVE: Transition Proposals Toward a Commons-Oriented Economy and Society

Sponsored by the National Institute of Advanced Studies of Ecuador, carried out by the Free/Libre Open Knowledge (FLOK) Society.

From Jose Luis Vivero Pol

BIOMOT Policy Brief 1 – Limitations to Economic Environmental Valuation

1. EEV methods fail to secure ecosystem systainability.

2. EEV methods mistakenly assume that money can be used as a neutral measuring rod of people’s preferences.

3. EEV methods are grounds in a misguided approach to decision making.

4. EEV methods misunderstand, and motivate policies which fail to respect, the way in which people value nature.

5. EEV methods may compromise intrincis motivations for environmental protection.

6. EEV methods facilitate the troubling expansion of market norms into environmental valuation and decision making.

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Feb 12

Ecuador Initiative: Integrated Societal Metabolism

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Click on Image to Enlarge

ECUADOR INITIATIVE: Transition Proposals Toward a Commons-Oriented Economy and Society

Sponsored by the National Institute of Advanced Studies of Ecuador, carried out by the Free/Libre Open Knowledge (FLOK) Society.

MuSIASEM in Depth

Source Page

MuSIASEM is an open framework able to take into account the economic, environmental, social, cultural, technical and political dimensions in an integrated analysis, accounting for different flows such as monetary, energy, waste or water. As a result, ultimately we can get “congruent” relations among the different set of variables.

The results of the MuSIASEM are sets of georreferenced vectorial indicators that are easy to understand, and this is one of the strengths of the method. But it is build on strong and heavy theoretical blocks. Here we summarize its roots.

Complex System Theory
From CST, MuSIASEM has taken concepts that are useful to deal with the definition of the societies as part of a broader hierarchical system and with the different levels of it that are relevant for the analysis of the sustainability.

Hierarchical levels of a Socio-Ecosystem. By Cristina Madrid.

Hierarchical levels of a Socio-Ecosystem. By Cristina Madrid.

Under the CST perspective, the Societal Metabolism is a notion used to characterize the processes of energy and material transformation in a society that are necessary for its continued existence, sustainability or Autopoiesis. In order to maintain this, those transformations cannot overpass the thresholds posed by the Ecosystem Metabolism. Both, societies and ecosystems are levels of a Hierarchical System. In them, there are relations that have to be maintained within and among the levels, including the relations that control the biophysical transformations, or metabolic patterns. The metabolic patterns of the social level of a hierarchy depend on its internal and external relations. They pose internal and external constraints to the autopoesis of the system.

More about CST: Robert Rosen, Humberto Maturana, Fracisco Varela, Tim Allen, Howard Odum, Ramón Margalef, Ilya Prigogine

Bioeconomics
From Bioeconomics, MuSIASEM has used the flow-fund model of Georgescu-Roegen. With it, MuSIASEM is able to deal with the degrees of complexity given by the different meanings a resource has in each of the levels of analysis and by the relation between them.

In MuSIASEM, flow is a semantically open definition for elements that come into or out of the relevant system level during the analytical representation. They give information about what the system level(s) does to maintain itself. Fund is a definition used for those elements that remain there during the complete time of the representation. They are the components of the system that must be maintained.

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Feb 10

Jean Lievens: Michel Bauwens on the democratization of the means of monetization — commons licenses that demand reciprocity!

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Michel Bauwens on the democratization of the means of monetization

In this new work, Michel continues to propose powerful ideas that not only demonstrate his capacity for synthesis, but more importantly, his capacity to articulate ideas that facilitate points of convergence between broad sectors that are sympathetic to the ideas of production based on the commons.

Michel Bauwens sent us a work that will soon be published, in which he summarizes and clarifies what he sees as the possible evolution of the means of monetization in a world in which the P2P mode of production has gained strength.

[D]emonetization will be a good thing in many sectors under a regime of civic domination, we will also need new forms of monetization, and restore the feedback loop between value creation and value capture.

Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens

Netarchic capitalism, the direct result of recentralization, has established a new model of value, in which capital extracts it as an intermediary in the creation of platforms for P2P interaction between individuals, gradually renouncing its role of directly controlling information production.

So, cognitive capitalism can be said to be suffering a severe “value crisis,” in which the use value of production grows exponentially, but its exchange value grows linearly, and is almost exclusively captured by capital, giving rise to exacerbated forms of labor exploitation, especially with respect to the new informational proletariat:

It could be said that this creates a sort of “hyper-neoliberalism”… in classical neoliberalism, wages stagnate; in hyper-neoliberalism, salaried workers are replaced by isolated, and mostly precarious, freelancers.

For example, Bauwens cites preliminary studies that indicate that the average hourly wage of “digital workers” doesn’t exceed two dollars an hour, citing as a prototype of this phenomenon aggregation services like TaskRabbit, in which workers can’t communicate with each other, unlike clients.

The light at the end of the tunnel

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Jan 28

Jean Lievens: Heritable Innovation Trust

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Heritable Innovation Trust @ P2p Foundation

Katie Martin:

“The Heritable Innovation Trust (H.I.T.) is framework developed as an alternative to the intellectual property system that is held under contract law, giving it a more flexible structure to allow for the consideration of innovations with communal stewardship and adapted over time. By operating under contract law and with an end-user-license agreement, the H.I.T. does not have the same jurisdictional limitations that patent, copyright, or trademark filings do. H.I.T. teams are invited to companies and communities around the globe to become experts on the culture and innovations of their hosts all of which is then documented into the trust repository that exists both in book form and as an online database. Community analyses are compiled using Integral Accounting, as system by which environments are assessed based on six dimensions: commodity, custom & culture, knowledge, money, technology, and well-being. Integral Accounting provides a more comprehensive look at the whole of a community to provide context for interactions and the innovations shared by the community. Any utilization of the information held in perpetual trust under the H.I.T. framework must be done in reciprocity, meaning that the first order transaction is always knowledge of how the information will be used then any further engagement must be done so in partnership with the originators of the information.”

Learn more.

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Jan 18

Jean Lievens: Seven Job Creation Strategies for Open Cities

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Seven Job Creation Strategies for Shareable Cities

The sharing economy offers enormous potential to create jobs. Sharing leverages a wide variety of resources and lowers barriers to starting small businesses.

Cities can lower the cost of starting businesses by supporting innovations like shared workspaces, shared commercial kitchens, community-financed start-ups, community-owned commercial centers, and spaces for “pop-up” businesses.

Read full article — list, comments, examples.

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Dec 26