P2P Foundation

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Phases for implementing peer production: Towards a Manifesto for Mutually Assured Production

Here's an important message from Nathan Cravens, who proposes to work on a collective document about the implementation of peer production for physical production, in phases.

Ref: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dg2jzdft_46cdb2b4gr&pli=1

Nathan Cravens:

"I'm preparing an essay for what I call Mutually Assured Production, a manifesto that can unite the Open Everything movement once published as a wiki at the P2P Foundation, if you think it appropriate. You are the most qualified person I know in regard to the subject matter the essay presents.

It begins by talking about the current economic issues, then goes into a few feasible solutions, like Basic Income as a top down approach and P2P production as a bottom up method, both organizational techniques that can work together to produce a purely voluntary social environment.

After talking on Basic Income and P2P production, I formulated three phases of materials production:

1) Manufacturing at a Regional Distribution Center for Local Outlet distribution

2) Manufacturing at the Outlet

3) Personal Production.

Later on charts and graphs can be added, more examples can be provided to describe the ideas written, and MAP participating organizations can document progress in alignment with the tentative steps described. It will take a variety of disciplines to pull off what the manifesto describes. Many organizations out there are already a part of it in their own fields, its just a matter of unifying the goals of these sparse projects towards a greater goal..

Once we're happy with the document, we can then contact organizations that relate to the methods described, and help make the written abstraction a physical reality.

A document like this can really get things moving. You're free to edit the document and are welcome to bring others in that can best fill in particular knowledge gaps

Here's the very first draft: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dg2jzdft_46cdb2b4gr&pli=1

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Hi. This comment is simply to express an interest. The interest is on behalf of Dadamac i.e. I am not just speaking for myself (Pamela McLean) but also for John Dada (and various people in our shared networks).

Dadamac is involved in locally driven community development work, including education and training, in rural Nigeria. (John is programmes director of Fantsuam Foundation http://www.fantsuam.org/ - an unpaid role.) There is excellent Internet connectivity at Fantsuam.

Dadamac is actively involved in many online groups, with a view to exchanging ideas, learning from each other, and developing good practice. Dadamac is exploring how connection to the Internet can help in the development of sustainable community development initiatives and enhance local opportunities for personal skill development (especially skills related to livelihoods).

I am hopeful that some of the ideas to be discussed in this essay will be relevant to the creation of new livelihoods opportunities at Fantsuam.
The focus of MAP is on production and systems building. You and those affiliated with your organization may be interested in helping to develop Personal Sustenance Fabricators that provide clean food, water, and simple shelter. This is a Phase 3 device that, with enough thought and effort, can become globally distributed for zero financial cost before the conditions for Phase 1 are met.

The Ethics of Mutual Assurance may also be of interest. The goal of this essay is to illustrate how best to think and behave in a manner conducive to universal well being.
Thanks Michel for believing in the idea and sharing this with everyone. I'm thrilled with the interest already received from all of you. The magic of P2P is in the air and we've only a scrap for a draft.

Its my hope that Mutually Assured Production becomes a definitive guide that transcends institutional boundaries by building step by step the abundant creation of any physical object, given it does not interfere with the well being of others and living environments to the least extent possible.

To make this a reality, a great deal of engineering knowledge is needed to make the strategic plans described materialize. MAP largely deals with design and engineering based on values of material equality and individual preference. This is why its so important for the document to be open, freely accessible, and editable so that industry professionals, engineers, and other technically knowledged can demonstrate and produce what aligns with each proposal or phase direction, and furthermore, show that P2P can shine more brightly than the current industrial model.

Below is the essay's present outline.

Section 1. Living Conditions are Worsening in Industrial Societies.

The essay begins with the current state social conditions in industrial society. We begin by arguing that work as a paid activity does not pay the bills as well as it did and that a majority of people living in industrial societies will need to abandon the idea that work equates financial value. The rapid automation of physical and intellectual production has placed ownership increasingly in the hands of few. The essay ends with the conclusion that an investment in everyone must be made by means of Basic Income to maintain and improve the livelihoods of everyone in industrial societies.

Section 2. Basic Income. A Macro, A Top Down Approach to Increasing Personal Livelihood.

In this section describes an ideal Basic Income model that can go into affect as soon as it is written with technology already available. The intellectual resources affiliated with Basic Income Earth Network and others knowledgeable in BI can develop this together to formulate the best model. The goal, a proposal agreeable to even the richest of capitalists.

Section 3. Current State of P2P Production. A Micro, Bottom Up Approach to Increasing Personal Livelihood.

This part describes what technologies and social networks are already working in P2P production, what objects are now producable for near zero or no financial cost. A brief projection of when various items will become freely available can be discussed. This then concludes with a realization that we must push on and formulate a way to blend all three modes of production for the best form of production possible.

Section 4. Mutually Assured Production. A Three Phase Tour.

The heart of MAP is where three phases of production are outlined. We first look at large scale retail models of product distribution already in place, turning current existing global commercial infrastructure, stage by stage, into globally informed local economies that will depend on capital and finance less and less until personal production ends the need for capital and finance altogether.

Phase 1. Regional Production. Manufacture general store goods at regional distribution centers every few hundred square miles for local outlet distribution. This approach could be considered the mainframe computer era of material production. It will make obsolete the hundreds of factories that manufacture only a few goods. Accomplishing this would decrease waste created by hundreds of factories and will help turn what may have been wasted in specialized factories into useful material for making other items for use (cradle-to-cradle) in this phase. It will also shift global economies into local ones, providing a production method that can duplicated itself worldwide. Global information with local distribution is the theme.

Phase 2. Outlet Production. In computing, we can liken these systems to mainframes that can contain themselves within an office rather than a whole floor. Manufactured resources will be produced and purchased at each outlet location. Phase 1 Fabricators could be converted into producers of raw materials for outlet fabricators as needed.

Phase 3. Personal Production. It can produce anything based on the values mentioned. This likens to the PC, laptop, and hand held device stage of computing. The productive device will be self regulating so that external governmental action will not be required, and physical resources will be measured within environments in order to produce 'ad infinitum' so as not deplete another's ability to do the same.

(Contributor Note: More phases may be needed in order to begin the first one mentioned. This phase outline is meant to be an example of what's to come.)

Section 5. From Scarcity to Abundance. The Fall of Capital and Centralized Government Dependence and The Rise of Peer-to-Peer & Individual Sustenance.

This section follows each productive phase of MAP and describes its political, economic, and social phases in alignment with the section title's premise.

Phase 1. Rethink Basic Income at this stage, view the pros and cons and alternative methods P2P can bring.

Phase 2. Measuring physical resources. The creation of self regulating systems without external government.

Phase 3. Describes a day in a world of personal production via pocket fabricator and how a person might choose to live in such technologically advanced environments.

Section 6. The Ethics of Mutual Assurance.

This is what brings the heart of Mutually Assured Production to life. This section talks of action based on particular social environments or agreements. For instance, if a group decides that they all would prefer to carry firearms, even if others dislike firearms, in a world of mutual assurance, having a place for those with such a taste for lethal artifices can be made for them. It is the intention of the ethical models built here not to encourage firearm use by making them exceptionally unnecessary, assuming that firearms where once used to allocate scarce resources in a world that no longer requires such violent means of distribution.

Keywords: Harm, Scarcity, Preference, Tolerance

Outline Concluded.

As mentioned, each model is revisable on the spot. So for example, if a P2P logistics group has devised a less costly (financially and environmentally) way of allocating materials, the phase that requires a certain mode of transport can change to describe works in progress expected for use at that stage for later implementation.

Once all three phases are complete, MAP can help formulate ways to create items and divide spacial boundaries 'in-the-moment' for ideal and mutually agreed social or individual settings. Say you might want to meet with a friend in a coffee shop environment only to note that a coffeeria is several miles away. Instead of strolling to that particular shop, it can be constructed instantly using materials already available in the space via nanoassemblage.

MAP is one way we can build a better today most suitable to each momentary preference. This is something we can build together, a world we all want to live in, one elemental block at a time.

If you choose to take this mission, contact me at knuggy@gmail.com. Because its necessary to leave things out for convenience, please ask questions if you have them, it may be a question I myself had not thought to ask. The essay will be available as a wiki at the P2P Foundation soon.
Nathan I do not know wether I should think your proposal is good or if it is hot air. The Coffee Shop example yet is turning my enthusiasm down completely, it has no real life in it.
I think its good to break down the question of p2p production to spatial realities. We were discussing the essentiality of convincing existing auto repair shops to convert into local manufacturing centers in the framework of an open source electric car project. I think this needs practical experience, and the question at which level manufacturing is decentralised optimally cannot be decided in an overall scheme.
I agree that optimality will vary and it may not be practical to produce all things at a regional location. When a majority of wanted items can be made regionally, it can be said that Phase I is established and that we're well on our way to Phase 2. It may be that even after Phase 3, some things may need to be materialized elsewhere and transported from a far away location.

On the other hand, I look forward to being active in an Open Life Sustenance project that can produce simple food, clean water, and a simple shelter all within a portable device available globally well before Phase I begins. If you know of such a project, I'm all ears. If one doesn't exist, let's begin the dialogue. I think developing a Portable Life Sustenance Fabricator is a modest Phase 3 project that can pave the way for more bells and whistles later on.
But if it needs a little bit more than a portable device, you are really able to ignore the wonderful things we can do with flexibly automated workshop halls, container factories etc.???

Marcin Jakubowski is doing real open source production, and the blueprint for real life sustainance with apt tools, even if they are something rather traditional sometimes.

As I said, it depends entirely on product and material where the optimum production point will be - maybe some things will never reach Phase 3, while other things start right there. So what? Why not accept that water is purified and mineralized in a long - term process, food needs time to grow etc ?
This proposal is a sketch at the moment. I think it is both good and hot air. Phase I in itself is a great goal, but too ambitious to start today for a variety of reasons. Additional steps will need to be outlined in the essay before approaching Phase 1.

MAP can be a highly active collaborative effort that can make each step seem more than possible.

When I briefly mention creating a customizable environment like a Coffee Shop in a post-Phase 3 environment, I can see how it might seem far fetched. It could use more life, I agree, like a personal reason for wanting to create such an environment in the first place. Also, the essay is part outline, part essay at the moment. Its hardly an infant.

Another more evocative example might be you with a loved one, things get romantic, so you both decide to have a warm bubble bath together with candle light, rose pedals, oils, and all, in a matter of seconds.

I'm curious why your enthusiasm was exhausted after reading that particular example.

I think the question of producing material goods is an utterly serious one. Its different from doing and undoing virtual reality. If you create a coffee house or a bath tub, you are using material resources, time and space; you are interfering with other peoples life; you need other peoples support; you must care for the waste; you must care for things. Building out of nanoparticles is not funny, it might be a health hazard, it might be something disappointing and so on and so on.

If you read the p2p wiki you will see that I am very much in favor of open design and free production, but this should be a production that is seemlessly embedded in a cycle of creation and existence and dissapearance. Thats an enormous task, especially in our world where lunatic economy has eliminated all elements of passive competence between producers and consumers; where we simply are not even able any more to understand the most simple elements of product cycles. My enthusiasm is raised when I see full understanding of the necessity to create such a web of active and passive competences in p2p production.
There is consequence to consider with taking personal production out of the box without it becoming Pandora's box. If done appropriately, manifesting a tub or coffee house can be less hazardous than breathing, although breathing can have its hazards in the wrong conditions.

Once plotting of post-phase 3 begins it will be important to outline and ensure regulatory systems can prevent molecular (or smaller) assemblies from getting out of control. Paul Rothemund at the 2007 TED conference discussed a method of preventing runaway duplication. (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/paul_rothemund_details_dna_foldi...)

Strategic planning and testing systems on a small scale can ensure safety when things like tubs and coffee shops are made on the spot. MAP as a collaborative work can help by unifying a variety of social networks to make material creation as safe as possible.
This looks like a promising start. I would like to suggest an additional intermediate stage in production evolution prior to regional; the industrial ecology as demonstrated by the personal computer industry. Industrial ecologies are precipitated by situations where traditional industrial age product development models fail in the face of very high technology development overheads or very high demassification in design driven by desire for personalization/customization producing Long Tail market phenomenon. A solution to these dilemmas is modularization around common architectural platforms in order to compartmentalize and distribute development cost risks, the result being 'ecologies' of many small companies independently and competitively developing intercompatible parts for common product platforms -such as the IBM PC.

Increasingly, we see today the design of many kinds of durable goods shifting away from monolithic architectures and their manufacturers shifting away from sole-ownership of production capacity. Sometimes this is intentional, sometimes it occurs when products become platforms by default through the emergence of after-market competition driven by the desire for customization and service. (as was nearly the case with the Volkswagen Beetle but suppressed by VW for lack of comprehension of the nature of the market phenomenon their product had produced) Production is increasingly contract-based and a growing number of 'manufacturers' don't actually manufacture anything. They just contract. This has produced a dual global trend in demassification and generalization (still across certain product sectors) of manufacturing capacity that has now produced a situation where the volume of consumer goods now produced by contract manufacture exceeds that produced by traditional factories.

The more vertical the market profile for a product the more this trend penetrates toward production on an individual level due high product sophistication coupled to smaller volumes. In the 90s the aerospace, defense, telecom, and IT industries experienced a phenomenon of engineering entrepreneurial flight, sometimes known as the midnight engineer phenomenon, where lack of job security coupled to cuts in benefits compelled many engineers to abandon corporate employment in favor of entrepreneurship with many becoming contract competitors to their former employers. Competitive contracting regulations in the defense industry (when they're actually respected...) tend to, ironically, turn many kinds of military hardware into open platforms by default, offering small businesses a potential to compete with larger companies where production volumes aren't all that large to begin with. Consequently, today we have a situation where key components of some military vehicles and aircraft are produced on a garage-shop production level by companies with fewer than a dozen employees.

All this represents an intermediate level of industrial demassification that is underway today and not necessarily dependent upon open source technology or peer-to-peer activity but which creates a fertile ground for that in the immediate future and drives the complementary trend in the miniaturization of machine tools.
Dear Nathan:

Great to see the first replies. Here are some names of people you could/should approach for their very informed views on the subject: Eric Hunting, Vinay gupta, Smari McCarthy, and Chris Watkins, and marcin jakubowski. With their input, your document should reflect the key experts in the matter.





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