- 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.) The best example I can think of for a successful peer-to-peer example would have to be a farmers market. While you do have someone organizing the whole event, the vendors are selling directly to their customers and keeping a majority of their profits. Also, in the Yes Men movie, they would like to see the free market dissolved, and, in my opinion, a peer-to-peer market take its place. This would allow equal opportunity (ideally) for smaller businesses, because they have access to the same stores and resources as the larger companies.
- 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 goal of this multiphase, pilot-driven project is to explore the contours of an emerging mode of production that builds on the confluence of the digital commons of knowledge, software, and design with local manufacturing technologies.” This helps me to realize that cultures really do want to advance, but some without the cost of harming others, or the environment around them. They want the local companies to benefit the most, and the locals in general. “The Distributed Design Market Platform is a Creative Europe project that aims to foster the development and recognition of emerging European Maker and Design culture by supporting makers, their mobility and circulation of their work, providing them with international opportunities and highlighting the most outstanding talent.” Once again, they are really focused on trying to make sure everyone in the community benefits in some way from the new economic strategies. They are organizing their resources so that they can get the most profit for the smallest price, but at the same time, making sure everyone has equal opportunity.
- 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. One of the best examples in the article was the Food Commons Fresno project. They are reimagining the food system of going farm to plate. To quote the article, “the Food Commons has established a network of community-owned trusts that bring together landowners, farmers, food processors, distributors, retailers, and workers to support a shared mission: high-quality, safe, locally grown food that everyone can afford.” What makes them different from other companies is that they aren’t just focused on the farming and profit aspect of it; they are also focused on trying to make the community around them better, including the land itself, the economy, and the people of the town. Another example is the BerkShares currency, which is focused on strengthening the local economy and reengineering the flow of money. This is because they are trying to regain control of the economy from hedge funds and banks. Even though these are small projects and we still have quite a ways to go, they are bringing goals and principles to the table that were not there before: “production for household needs, not market profit; decision-making that is bottom-up, consensual, and decentralized; and stewardship of shared wealth for the long term. They reject the standard ideals of economic development and a return on shareholder investment, emphasizing instead community self-determination and the mutualization of benefits.” These projects would make your life different. You can get up in the morning, complain about the weather, and how you have to go to the grocery store, but you also know that the Fresno project allows you to pay less for the produce you are receiving. You can get more for your buck, and it’s healthier for the Californian diet you’re on, because it’s organic. And you know that you’re benefiting the community as well, in addition to helping the environment. Plus, now you don’t have to only get the stuff you NEED because organic food really drains your wallet. You can try those new protein bars you saw that are chocolate strawberry flavored, or maybe even see if vegan cheese tastes like actual cheese. For your cheat day, of course. And your cousin who lives in the Berkshires now has his own currency, where he usually would have to pay a lot given that he lives in a small town, but now their economy is doing just fine, and the small town is no longer terrorized by the banks. No more rants about how the government is controlling him and taking all of their town’s money, and that the government is rooting against the people instead of for the people, and letting the banks push the small towns around. No more “tycoons are loading up their pockets” talk.
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. Ayyyeeee here’s where you type your answer you big oaf.