Dividing the Wealth – Do peer networks like Airbnb distribute value fairly?

By Robin Chase, author of Peers Inc; co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar1.

The ideal of capitalism I perceived as a child seems a far cry from what I understand today. American capitalism has moved from an industrial path that grew a middle class to one that seems to be increasingly taking the ugliest, most extractive form, reversing those gains.

In economist Thomas Piketty’s 2014 bestselling Capital in the 21st Century, his analysis found that the top 10 percent of Americans in 2010 owned 70 percent of the capital, trending toward the extreme capital inequality last observed in 1910 monarchical Europe. In the fall 2014 issue of the Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Pavlina R. Tcherneva, an economist at Bard College, updated Piketty’s data through 2012 and looked at which groups got the benefits of economic expansion.

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The Shift from Open Platforms to Digital Commons

By David Bollier, author, blogger and consultant.

From open access platforms to managed digital commons: that is one of the chief challenges that network-based peer production must meet if we are going to unleash the enormous value that distributed, autonomous production can create.

The open platform delusion
We are accustomed to regarding open platforms as synonymous with greater freedom and innovation. But as we have seen with the rise of Google, Facebook and other tech giants, open platforms that are dominated by large corporations are only “free” within the boundaries of market norms and the given business models. Yes, open platforms provide many valuable services at no (monetary) cost to users. But when some good or service is offered for at no cost, it really means that the user is the product. In this case, our personal data, attention, social attitudes lifestyle behavior, and even our digital identities, are the commodity that platform owners are seeking to “own.”

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Open science and the environmental movement

By Shannon Dosemagen, co-founder and Executive Director of Public Lab.

Historically, environmental monitoring in the U.S. is by industrial polluters and those responsible for regulating and enforcing environmental laws. This leaves little room for engagement with those who are affected by the environmental health decisions being made about their communities.

The vision behind Public Lab is a community driven collaborative model that creates the physical means for independent people and organizations to engage in environmental data collection and the scientific research process.

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The citizen producer at the epicenter of the P2P revolution

By Albert Cañigueral, founder of ConsumoColaborativo and OuiShare Connector in Barcelona (Spain).

Platforms are eating the world

Never before in human history has been as simple as today to coordinate peers at a massive scale. Jeremy Heimans calls it the “new power” and we see new power all around us. Wikipedia is a prime example of this.

The same basic capabilities are applied to the co-creation and exchange of, not only information, but goods, services, money, value, etc. Sharing economy, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, p2p economy, etc. you can pick your favorite term to describe this scenario where people are empowered to get directly what they need from each other. Traditional businesses are being disrupted by coordinated collaboration among the people formerly known as “customers”. The genie is clearly out of the bottle and won’t be put back anytime soon.

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How to survive at university

By Jordi Llonch, Founder and CEO of Sharing Academy.

Failing an exam or subject is a common occurrence at university. However, the discouragement, anxiety and depression of disappointing end-of-term results often lead to one in five Spanish university students dropping out in the first year, a figure that is halfway between the best results in the United Kingdom, France and Norway and the worst in Italy, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, according to Eurostat.

Data from the Spanish Integrated University Information System (SIUU) indicate that science, health, technical, and social degrees lose 18% of their students in the first year; while for arts degrees the figure rises to 28%. Nevertheless, the figures are even worse if we consider the form of studying: four out of every ten distance-learning students drop out, while only one in ten drops out of in person learning courses.

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Shifting trends on how we work

By Pablos Holman, hacker, futurist and inventor, Intellectual Ventures Lab.

Can we learn something about how the open source communities work? Could their collaborative way be somehow extrapolated into how we work in a company? A hacker and inventor at Intellectual Ventures Lab — a prototyping and research laboratory aimed to invention and discovery —, Pablos Holman reflects about what some companies are doing wrong in order to motivate their employees, and what are the different approaches when facing a project. You can check his thoughts in the short video below. His contribution was possible thanks to the kind collaboration of the 4 Years From Now event.

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About the Question
How many peers does it take to change a light bulb?

Systems like Linux and websites like Wikipedia are paradigmatic of a particular way of open collaboration known as peer production. Peer producers choose their tasks freely and coordinate their work using open digital platforms. They share the fruits of their labour as part of a global commons, and everyone works according to their abilities and benefits according to their needs.

Is this an emerging form of communism? Or the future of liberal capitalism? Or is it simply a new mode of production? In this blog we want to explore both the benefits and the downsides of such way of working.

UOC/IN3 degrees