P2P Foundation

The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives

This is an attempt (by Ryan Lanham) to define P2P space in terms of a few boundary statements. Disagreement is encouraged.

ASSERTION: A strong P2P advocate would affirm all of the following with minimal qualification:

1. A strong P2P advocate is someone who believes that care, maintenance and advancement of property commons is a social ideal. A commons is a shared pool of resources that is protected and used for pursuits that are decided by the individual so long as they do not adversely impact the other members of the commons or the common good.

2. A strong P2P advocate wants to minimize central, hub or corporate interests in the commons and to maximize voluntary individual contributions and uses.

3. A strong P2P advocate is against any form of compulsion to participate in any commons. No one is obligated to share. Sharing is always voluntary. In balance, there is a responsibility to attempt to avoid free riding and use of the commons for selfish purposes without commitment to its further advancement.

4. The acceptable status of any social or political system to a strong P2P advocate is defined by the capacity of such a system to allow for strong P2P advocacy to exist and thrive.

5. A strong P2P advocate recognizes the right to physical and intellectual property and physical and intellectual property rights. Such rights do not extend to the capacity to obviously harm others or the environment for personal gain. Disagreements on these points are to be handled through systems with due process, transparency and peer judgment where possible.

6. A strong P2P advocate believes the collective rights of groups of individuals to be protected from destructive use of private property rights is paramount. However, such judgments must be compellingly weighed through reasonable systems with due processes met for those who disagree or contend with such judgments.

7. The compelling ethos of P2P advances the common good, but respects the individual and the individual's liberty.

8. The common good is generally understood to entail greater options, greater access to possibilities and the prospect of living in communities, environments and ecosystems that allow for health, well-being and the enjoyment of material wealth.

9. Equal access to opportunities, to fundamental resources (such as those that decide life or death), to knowledge and the pursuit of truth, and a generally strong advocacy for a broad interpretation of human rights are all ideals espoused by a strong P2P advocate.

10. A strong P2P advocate accepts and seeks a future where income generating work is increasingly unnecessary and where social responsibilities are nevertheless strong for mutual support, fairness, protection of the commons and the common good.

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Re #5: I'm torn over the issue of property rights. I think its worth addressing the scope of ownership. Ownership of one's dwelling, one's productive land (e.g. garden), and one's own use of one's words and ideas encourages localization and decentralization, networked economic relationships, and massively parallel innovation and collaboration--all of which provide structural support to P2P. Conversely, ownership of others' dwellings, productive land, and the ideas used by them in production encourages hierarchal structures and centralization--all running counter to the creation of a P2P-friendly environment.

As an attorney, I recognize the challenge in creating a legal system capable of balancing these issues. A bit of a tangent, but before we invoke "legal systems" as solutions, we should consider their own propensities toward centralization and hierarchy. I am not conversant in the operation of the european civil law system, but in common-law jurisdictions the availability of criminal enforcement systems strongly precipitates hierarchy. Tort law less so, though the P2P community must consider developing truly P2P norm-enforcement capabilities. Within our present, state-centric legal systems, we also need to ask if the side effect of property-rights-enforcement (that is, the centralization and hierarchy-supporting functions of the state) outweigh the benefit of property-rights enforcement to P2P ideals.
Thank you Jeff, I will relay this to Ryan,





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