P2P Foundation

The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives

I have an interesting question from Daniel Arraya: Can peer projects self-organize without a catalyst?

The question:

Your input to this question is much appreciated: peer projects need intentionality, andintentionality needs a catalyst (ie, a leader-- Jimmy Wales, Barack Obama, etc).... Once the object is determined, the whole thing can really self-organize. But can it self-organize w/o a catalyst?

I would like to refer to the article here, http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/networked-scenius-private-patronage-a...

which argues how essential committers are to projects, and that, in the final analysis, they need to get paid.

and to the quote from Wim Nusselder as well, from http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/towards-a-value-based-quarternary-eco..., which stresses the need for 'ideological leadership'

"The fourth type of economy is organized by ideological leaders. It is organized with relations of membership and contribution. Common goals and common interests provide additional meaning. To convince (others that your way of reaching goals or serving interests is the best way) or to follow others, that is the question. Contributing to the best of one’s ability to common goals and interests is normative. The defining characteristic of this fourth form of economy compared to the earlier forms is the voluntary choice to ‘belong’ or ‘not to belong’. Ideological leaders make their followers identify with their group by convincing them. ‘Belonging’ or ‘not belonging’ to groups depends on the strength of identification with their common goals and shared interests. ‘Quaternary societies’ contain even more overlapping and complementary groups. ‘Belonging’ to different groups at the same time is enabled by complex, multi-layered identities. Boundaries are even less clear-cut. They can be determined by asking whether someone contributes or not to the common goals and shared interests, however little.

‘Quaternary economies’ can pool even more resources, enable more division of labour, specialization, economies of scale etc. than tertiary ones, because people can participate in several different roles at the same time. One can be a specialist in one field and in other fields a layman, who can only follow what others propose to contribute to reaching common goals and serve shared interests. Our present economy is of course a mix of all these forms.”

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I would phrase the question a little more generally, "Do communities need leaders?" To which the answer is, "No, they don't _need_ them, but they can benefit from having them." Now if only we could all agree on what makes a good leader...or what makes a leader good. ;)




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