P2P Reflection

For the Peer to Peer examples

1) Describe an experience you had which links to these P2P project or ideas–these can be in the digital or natural realm, or it can be imaginary, as in a community you think should exist but doesn’t yet. (e.g. should education/knowledge be a for-profit or a sharing economy? Should youth pay to be educated? If not how do teachers earn a livelihood? Get creative.)

An experience I had with peer to peer was in high school.  Myself and some of my friends wanted to take a science course that did not have enough students to run that semester.  So, we were able to work out a system with the teacher where it was a self guided course, meaning no official classroom setting.  It was just our group teaching and learning the material ourselves.  The way we participated in this class was not like a self guided class.  We treated it as a group class where we all went over the material together and shared out thoughts and information gained.  For the majority of the time we split up assignments and came together to share answers, and also split up chapters and shared the notes and knowledge we had gained.  The way we interacted with each other was like a community where each person was able to share and swap knowledge, similarly to how the peer to peer system would work on computers and sharing files.  But, in this case, we shared notes and assignments.  The reason why it works well for us was because we were all friends who were comfortable with each other and we were all hard working.  We knew that if one person slacked off then the system would not work as well.  With all of us keeping pace with the material and working diligently, we were easily able to succeed in our self taught class.

2) Select a few quotes and paste them in a response and explain how the ideas help you think more deeply or clearly about how a culture organizes its resources (i.e. an economy)

“The commons are a self organized system by which local communities manage resources with minimal or no reliance on the market or the state.”

This quote explains how a peer to peer economy would work.  It is explained that managing resources would have minimal reliance on the market or state.  So, in todays capitalistic market this is not true.  The majority of nations around the world have very little self reliance.  The majority of our goods, food, and all products we use come from big corporations that we have no control over.  Most people don’t even know where they are getting all of their products from.  They did not see how it was made, what it was made from, or where the resources came from.  The economy is very focused on the large scale production of goods where the majority of items come from few places.  For example, you could take any item from your home and say it came from China and there is a very good chance that you are correct.  How much of an impact to small towns have into the economy as of right now?  Very little due to their reliance on the market.

“OD&M is a Knowledge Alliance dedicated to create and support communities of practices around the Open Design & Manufacturing paradigm, making the most of openness, sharing and collaboration to create new value chains of innovation in design and manufacturing oriented to the social good.

In the last quote it was discussed that the economy right now focuses their resources on the large scale and the majority of things come from few places.  However, in this quote it shows how in our current capitalistic market we are all about the money and nothing else.  In a peer to peer system sharing ideas and technologies to better our resources and advancements would be the norm.  However, in our current system, ideas are property.  Once a big cooperation comes up with a brand new technology that greatly benefits people, it is locked away, only able to be access by themselves.  We treat our ideas just like property.  We are essentially saying “only I can have my idea because I can benefit from it”.  Similarly to how companies and countries manage their resources.  The only thing they want to do with them is to sell or trade them for gain.


For Hacking Capitalism:

3) List a few alternatives to capitalist economic structures.  Describe some of the features that make them different. Try to describe how your life might be changed by the establishment of one of these alternatives.  You might describe a chronology of a day, or a scene in which you interact with a new structure.  This can be humorous, satiric, hopeful, visionary.

Berkshares – This method is to create a local currency that can only be used in a certain community.  The idea of this method is to strengthen the local economy by having money flow that can only be used there, ensuring the money stays in the communities pockets.  The Berkshares example given in the article has a community money exchange that transfers $100 US dollars into $105 Berkshare currency, giving people an incentive to participate in the new money system.  A day to day look at what this system would do to people is not much different from how they normally live.  When going to the market or a store you could use the Berkshares or normal US dollars.  However, in using the Berkshares it puts more money into the local economy and ensures that it will strengthen because they are the only place that can use Berkshares.

P2P – This strategy requires the collaborative work on a global scale, and the production of the work to happen at a local scale.  This greatly reduces production costs due to not having to transport goods long distances.  Also, this helps the environment due to less of a need for fuel.  Not only does this help economically, but the collaborative way of designing and creating allows for the possibility of greater advancements.  A typical day for any normal person would not change very much.  However, there would likely be collaborative spaces where people can go to help design and create products.  Also, it would be likely for more factories or production plants to be created in a local scale, making more local job opportunities for people to work at.

Shrewd strategy – This alternative puts more power into the local and small towns that heavily rely on big chains and corporations.  An example given is to create a local food industry which helps the local economy, the environment, and puts less reliance onto outsourced food.  By interacting with this structure you would be putting in extra work into farming or producing other local products.  Meaning more handcrafted goods or much more time invested into growing food.  While most people would likely have home grown gardens, it would also be likely that there would be people who solely focus on farming, making that their main source of income.

For How to be an Anti-Capitalist:

4) Wright describes 4 strategies for tackling capitalism: smashing capitalism, taming capitalism, escaping capitalism, and eroding capitalism.  But he says that only taming and eroding will work.  Describe these two strategies, explain why they would work better than the other two, and try to find some examples of these in your own town, community, school, family or state…Describe these examples and explain why they might be part of the grass-roots alternatives Wright is describing.

Taming and eroding capitalism are two ways to combat the capitalistic system we have currently.  Wright describes taming capitalism as creating remedies to combat the negative effects of capitalism.  An example given was that when a mother gets a headache from her crying baby, she takes medicine to combat the headache, not get rid of the baby entirely.  Instead of getting rid of capitalism as a whole which would be incredibly hard to do, we can just create remedies to make it work anyways.  Eroding capitalism was defined as putting in non-capitalistic or anti-capitalistic systems into capitalism.  By doing this, the system will be adjusted and slowly be less and less capitalistic.  It could be possible that eventually, after enough non-capitalistic systems are put into place, the capitalistic one that once was could be gone or greatly reduced.  The reason why these would work much better than the other two methods of smashing and escaping is because they are more realistic because they have defined ways on how to reduce the negative parts of capitalism.  Smashing capitalism requires a complete uproot of the current system we have.  Meaning that a revolution would most likely have to occur during a period of an economic crisis where the system is weak.  Even if successful in dismantle the capitalistic structure we have today, the transition into a new system could be very hard on the community.  Escaping capitalism also is very unrealistic to create change is because even if you manage to go off the grid and be completely self reliant, you need to be a part of the capitalistic system in some way or another.  Whether that is paying taxes, or buying some objects.  Plus, even if tons and tons of people try to escape capitalism, it will not truly change the system as a whole, it is only a temporary escape.  In my opinion, taming capitalism is the easiest and most reliable option.  This method relates to many things we do in our daily lives.  For example, if I am taking a class in college that I am struggling in, I do not always have to take the extreme to drop the class.  Instead I can find ways to remedy the fact that I am doing poorly by getting extra help and putting in some extra effort to the system I am already in.