Michel Bauwens: Transitioning to a Commons-Based Society

Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens

Transitioning to a Commons-Based Society

Background on the FLOK Project

Michel Bauwens:

The National Plan of Ecuador recognizes and stresses that the global transformation towards knowledge-based societies and economies requires a new form for the creation and distribution of value in society. The National Plan’s central concept is the achievement of ‘Buen Vivir’ (Sumak Kawsay) or ‘good living'; but good living is impossible without the availability of ‘good knowledge’, i.e. ‘Buen Conocer’ (‘Sumak Yachay’). The third national plan for 2013-2017 explicitly calls for a open-commons based knowledge society[1].

President Correa himself exhorted young people to achieve and fight for this open knowledge society[2].

The FLOK Society is a joint research effort by the Coordinating Ministry of Knowledge and Human Talent, the SENESCYT (Secretaría Nacional de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación) and the IAEN (Instituto de Altos Estudios del Estado) to develop transition and policy proposals to achieve such an open commons-based knowledge society.

FLOK refers to:

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May 19

Jean Lievens: Bitcoin vs. Litecoin vs. Peercoin vs. Ripple vs. Namecoin

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Bitcoin vs. Litecoin vs. Peercoin vs. Ripple vs. Namecoin

While many are still being turned on to the perks of Bitcoin as a speculative asset, platform, and currency, there are other players in the game. Here is a brief look at how these cryptocurrencies stack up in terms of features. Also, if you’re interested in the rest of the top 10, be sure to check out Quarkcoin vs. Megacoin vs. Protoshares vs. Worldcoin vs. Feathercoin.

Read full article (pros and cons for each of the top five)

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May 13

Rickard Falkvinge: BitCoin Bank “Loses” One Billion Dollars — Complete Knowledge Lacking

Categories: Money
Rickard Falkvinge

Rickard Falkvinge

Gox Goes Belly-up After Losing A Billion Dollars Without Noticing; Blames Fault In Corporate Bookkeeping Protocols

Cryptocurrency:  So it’s more or less official: MtGox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, has died and taken all its holdings with it to the grave. This follows a long string of evasive statements, silence, and strange behavior from the exchange, particularly including bad customer service. The net is full of horror stories of people having lost their money, and claims of a “hack against the vault” are not credible in the slightest – here’s why.

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Feb 26

Jean Lievens: Can the Internet Democratize Capitalism?

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Can the Internet Democratize Capitalism?

Yanis Varoufakis

International Policy Digest,

Technological fixes to time-honoured problems are all the rage these days.

Bitcoin is meant to fix money, social media are seen as an antidote to Rupert Murdoch and assorted tyrants, networked robots are to help countries like Japan deal with demographic declines etc. Perhaps the largest claim is that the Internet has helped (or is about to help) democratize capitalism. Ten years ago that claim struck me as both fascinating and dubious. So, I sat down and wrote an article about it (circa 2004). Its gist: The Internet is a wonderful leveller.

But democracy requires a great deal more than mere ‘levelling.’ Primarily, it requires political institutions that enable the economically weak to have a decisive say on policy against the interests of the rich and powerful. Ten years later, I am re-visiting this question, under the shadow of a global crisis that made it even harder to convert an e’Demos into genuine e’Democracy. What follows is an updated version of the original paper.

The Internet’s toughest assignment: To put Demos back into Democracy

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Feb 23

Rickard Falkvinge: Bitcoin did not crash – MtGox was Sloppy with its Code Updates

Categories: Money
Rickard Falkvinge

Rickard Falkvinge

The Embarrassing Fact MtGox Left Out Of Their Press Release: Their Bad Code Hygiene Was The Direct Cause Of Problems

Cryptocurrency: Yesterday, the bitcoin exchange MtGox – riddled by problems – issued a press release saying the bitcoin protocol was to blame for its ongoing problems. That statement, which caused the markets to nosedive temporarily, is outright false. The problem is, and was, bad code hygiene in the MtGox exchange itself. Here are the details.

Yesterday, when MtGox blamed “transaction malleability” as the cause of MtGox’ problems, implying that the problems at MtGox affected all exchanges and everything bitcoin, that was a sign of a very elastic relationship with facts. It’s true that transaction malleability was a factor, but not nearly in the way that MtGox implied. (We’ll be returning to what the “malleability” is.)

Here’s the real problem: MtGox is running its own homebuilt bitcoin software, and has not cared to update and upgrade that software along with the developments of the bitcoin protocol. Recently, after a very long grace period, the bitcoin protocol tightened slightly in order to disallow unnecessary information in transaction records, and did this to fix the malleability problem that MtGox blamed.

So the problem of malleability remained at MtGox, while having been fixed in the rest of the world. This – the discrepancy itself – was the root cause of the problem, because it meant that MtGox started issuing invalid transaction records for bitcoin withdrawals. Obviously, they were rejected by the bitcoin network.

Let me explain in a bit more detail.

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Feb 12

Jean Lievens: What Is P2P? An Introduction

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

“We can’t continue with a system that creates wealth, but that’s also destroying the planet and creating so much social inequality. I think that after 400 years of this, we know it doesn’t work. We need a new system to reclaim all these communal values”

Julie Tran from MakeChangeTV interviews Michel Bauwens

“We can’t continue with a system that creates wealth, but that’s also destroying the planet and creating so much social inequality. I think that after 400 years of this, we know it doesn’t work. We need a new system to reclaim all these communal values”

What would a post capitalist economy look like? Julie Tran from Makechange TV interviews Michel Bauwens to inquire on the particulars of P2P or “Peer to Peer” philosophy. Bauwens gives clear, direct answers to questions such as: “What is a P2P economy?”, “How does it differ from Communism or Capitalism?”, “Is it the same as collaborative consumption or crowdsourcing?”, “Will it be become a main trend of the future?”.

To round out the video, we also include a short text below, written by Bauwens for Open Thoughts dealing with value, sustainable commons-based production and how P2P works within society.

Openness, a necessary revolution into a smarter world

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Feb 5

Jean Lievens: BITCOIN – How It Works And Why It Could Threaten Legacy Payment Tools (e.g. Credit Cards)

Categories: Money
Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

BITCOIN: How It Works, And Why It Could One Day Threaten Legacy Payments Tools Like Credit Cards

Bitcoin is most often discussed as a volatile digital currency, beloved by some, derided by others. But where Bitcoin’s real value lies is as a payments technology that has the potential to revolutionize the legacy payments industry.

Bitcoin offers merchant and individuals an extremely low-cost, virtually frictionless payments system. Value can easily be transferred around the world without transmitting sensitive information that could be used for fraud, and without forcing merchants to pay extortionate transaction fees.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

But, while the emergence of Bitcoin brings with it numerous advantages, it also faces incredible hurdles.

In  a new report from BI Intelligence, we explain how Bitcoin works, from the moment when local currency is exchanged for bitcoins, to the moment when it reaches the electronic wallet of a receiving party. We look at the key advantages of Bitcoin compared to the legacy players in the payments industry and examine the challenges that Bitcoin faces as a payment network.

Access the Full Report By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>

Here are some of the key elements from the report:

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Feb 2

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

Rickard Falkvinge: The Toy-Hungry Multimillionaire Market That’s Completely Underserved

Categories: Money
Rickard Falkvinge

Rickard Falkvinge

The Toy-Hungry Multimillionaire Market That’s Completely Underserved

A scheisseload of US Dollars

Cryptocurrency: In 2010 and 2011, a lot of geeks acquired something called bitcoin. It’s a novel form of currency that breaks all the rules you know and redefines currency as we know it. In 2011, this currency was worth mid-single digits per “coin”. Today, one such coin is worth upwards of a thousand US dollars, and newly-minted millionaire geeks are hungry for toys – but almost nobody’s selling.

A lot of geeks are sitting on a ton of money, and they’ve now had the value of that money appreciate enough to spend 1% of that wealth to cross off pretty much every item on their toy wishlists all at once, and pretend it’s Christmas.

The problem?

Way too few stores are selling. You have a bunch of geek multimillionaires out there who are hungry – no, famished – for toys, and all the toy stores tell them to take a hike, because they won’t accept the bitcoin worth millions and millions today.

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Jan 25

Jean Lievens: Wall Street Analysts: Bitcoin Could Revolutionise the Non-Financial World Too

Categories: Money
Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Wall Street Analysts: Bitcoin Could Revolutionise the Non-Financial World Too

Bitcoin technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we buy and sell property, enforce legal documents and even place bets, according to a new report from financial services and investment firm Wedbush Securities.

The system of decentralized trust, meaning that there is no central authority, that underpins bitcoin could have applications beyond the payments world that is most commonly associated with the cryptocurrency, write the report’s authors Gil Luria and Aaron Turner. The report reads:

“We see the potential for bitcoin technology to digitize and decentralize trust. The implications of eliminating the need for centralized trust may go beyond payment networks to areas such as securities markets, sports gambling and even legal contracts.”

The report, titled  ‘Digitizing Trust: Leveraging the Bitcoin Protocol Beyond the “Coin”’, cites the Bitcoin Foundation’s October decision to allow meta data to be embedded in the blockchain as opening the door for people to “leverage the blockchain protocol in other ways beyond traditional financial transactions”.

Read full article.

See Also:

Bitcoin @ Phi Beta Iota

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Jan 5