Force Conference Session 4
Dr. Dora Kotsaka Member of the Academic Committee of the FORCE project, opened the session presenting the key-issues examined in the FORCE working paper “Governing knowledge commons into the framework of 4th Industrial Revolution”.
Dr. Michael Bowens, is the Founder of the P2P Foundation and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property. Dr. Bowens raised the issue of the ecological degradation resulting from the prevailing business models which fail to account for the non-market contributions in a production network, making the argument that to achieve sustainability, a different approach should be adopted in the governance of production. Considering the lack of global scientific institutions that monitor the consumption of resources and the fact that large technological players operate on global scale while local societies experience their ecological impacts, the perspective of productive communities is necessary, to ensure social, economic and ecological justice. Ensuring resource consumption remains within the planetary limits and implementing a more fair distribution of profits to all the members that contribute to the added value of a production network, may be achieved by adopting increasingly expanding forms of accounting such as “contribution accounting”, “flow accounting” and in particular “resources, events agents models (REA models)”, and “thermodynamic accounting”. This integrated accounting system is a physical-cyber infrastructure for human production that may achieve permanent circularity or “perma-circularity”. This approach can be extended in the way we view the world economy as a whole, through “cosmo-localism”, i.e. spatially distributed production based on global, open knowledge commons. Dr. Bowens also proposed a mechanism for economic coordination based on stigmergic collaboration and generative market mechanisms along with thermodynamic accounting for resource and material planning.
Dr Kostakis, Professor of P2P Governance at TalTech and Faculty Associate at Harvard University, presented the two prevailing ideas regarding technological progress. The first is the notion that high technology will address the key issues experienced by societies in a global manner. The second, on the contrary, focuses on the local level using low end technological solutions that may be easily learned and disseminated. Dr Kostakis argues that there is an alternative which he calls “the mid-tech solution” which has a cosmo-local focus. This alterntive utilizes the capabilities of the digital commons and open design to enable global knowledge transfer for the production of local applications that are simple to produce and cost efficient.
Dr Kostakis then went on to offer a few examples of global cosmolocal mid-tech synergies and applications where organisations and communities have used knowledge commons in the development of local solutions, i.e. production of low cost prosthetic limps based on digital commons, production of equipment for agricultural communities, etc.