From Exchange to Contributions: Generalizing Peer Production Into the Physical World
A new mode of production has emerged in the areas of software and content production. This mode, which is based on sharing and cooperation, has spawned whole mature operating systems such as GNU/Linux as well as innumerable other free software applications; giant knowledge bases such as the Wikipedia; a large free culture movement; and a new, wholly decentralized medium for spreading, analyzing and discussing news and knowledge, the so-called blogosphere. So far, this new mode of production-peer production-has been limited to certain niches of production, such as information goods. This book discusses whether this limitation is necessary or whether the potential of peer production extends farther. In other words: Is a society possible in which peer production is the primary mode of production? If so, how could such a society be organized? Is a society possible where production is driven by demand and not by profit? Where there is no need to sell anything and hence no unemployment? Where competition is more a game than a struggle for survival? Where there is no distinction between people with capital and those without? A society where it would be silly to keep your ideas and knowledge secret instead of sharing them; and where scarcity is no longer a precondition of economic success, but a problem to be worked around? It is, and this book describes how."
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