Commoning for Planetary Survival and Regeneration - Michel Bauwens

From Michel’s post on Facebook:

Petar Jandric has done an in-depth conversation with me about the current work at the P2P Foundation, which is focused mostly on the me of: how can we produce for human need within planetary boundaries, in the context of the rapid construction of post-westphalian cyber-physical infrastructure and autonomous trans-local ecosystems.


Commoning for Planetary Survival and Regeneration

PJ: You recently published a report ‘P2P Accounting for Planetary Survival: Towards a P2P Infrastructure for a Socially-Just Circular Society’ (Bauwens and Pazaitis 2020). What is P2P accounting and how does it differ from traditional accounting?

MB: In the 1930s, there was this big debate between socialists and liberals called the ‘Socialist Calculation Debate’. On the one side, were Friedrich Hayek, Joseph Schumpeter, Ludwig von Mises, and others, who argued that centralised planning could not work. On the opposite side, were Karl Polanyi, and others, who claimed that socialist planning could work (and in ways superior to capitalism). For almost one century it seemed that the leftists had lost the socialist calculation debate. These days, however, things are changing.

There are three main levels of resource allocation. (1) We have the state, which represents planning – either full planning as in Soviet times, or regulatory planning, as in the capitalist system. (2) We have market pricing, which regulates the allocation of capital. (3) Finally, we have the emergence of mutual coordination or ‘stigmergy’, which brings open source commoning into the picture.

Our proposal, ‘P2P Accounting for Planetary Survival: Towards a P2P Infrastructure for a Socially-Just Circular Society’ (Bauwens and Pazaitis 2020), consists of an integrated vision that combines the three forms, with mutual coordination at the first level. We now have distributed ledgersFootnote10 so that we can move from sharing code and knowledge to sharing transaction data, shared accounting, shared logistics, and so on. We are moving from the Internet of Communications to the Internet of Transactions which enables the development of collaborative open ecosystems consisting of networks of producers. I think this is a very important shift.

PJ: And what about thermodynamic accounting?

MB: Thermodynamic accounting is the ability to see flows of matter and energy and have them integrated into your accounting system. This implies that we can create our own data commons, data trusts, data co-ops, and so on.