From Android outselling Apple's iPhone to the success of Linux and Wikipedia, all are examples of peer-to-peer (P2P) production. According to Belgian theorist Michel Bauwens these new internet-enabled models will transform society, leading to what he calls a P2P political economy.
Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation, is no dreamy-eyed idealist. He's previously worked as an analyst for the United States Information Agency, the American propaganda organisation that ran radio station Voice of America, and knowledge manager for what was then called British Petroleum (BP), where he developed one of the world's first virtual information centres.
Open-source software and Wikipedia are obvious examples of P2P production, but Bauwens also points to hardware examples like the Arduino open electronics platform, as well as the Riversimple and c,mm,n (pronounced "common") open car designs. The results, he says, are shaped not by the need for direct profits but to achieve the social goals set by the projects' communities. Profits do follow, however, as businesses choose to align themselves with community goals — just as Red Hat did with Linux.
In Patch Monday this week, I chat with Michel Bauwens about those issues, and everything from the flaws in Creative Commons licensing to why Facebook and YouTube don't pay us for providing all that content.
Michel Bauwens is speaking at Gathering '11 in Melbourne on 11 to 12 June, and a number of other events in Sydney and Melbourne in early June.
There's also my usual look at some of last week's news headlines.
To leave an audio comment on the program, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.
Running time: 34 minutes, 04 seconds