P2P Foundation

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Manifesto for a socialist alternative - Introduction

Manifesto for a socialist alternative - Introduction

The following text is a rough draft of the first chapter of a manifesto to be discussed in the labour movement. Feedback, criticism, suggestions… are more than welcome  

The ongoing financial crisis since 2007 and the Great Recession stroke a big blow to the legitimacy of capitalism. The system has lost its self-evidence amongst a growing layer of the population, resulting in the worldwide ‘Occupy Movement’, under the slogan ‘we are the 99%!’ Although this movement has an enormous potential, it is very unlikely that out of it an alternative to capitalism will arise ‘spontaneously’. The old system is breaking down, and although a new, alternative system is waiting in the wings, there is no political force to bring it into place.

There used to be an alternative to the capitalist system, commonly known as “socialism”. However, this alternative has been largely discredited, not only by the failure of the bureaucratic planned economies (known as “communism”), but also by the disappointment in the policies of social democratic reformism and its failure to successfully reform the capitalist system in the interests of working people. The term socialism may have been discredited, but the ideas of democratic socialism are far from dead. They are reflected in the day-to-day actions and activity of the Occupy Movements around the world, especially in the United States and, and to a large extent even confirmed by new findings in social and human sciences.

The labour movement has been historically the main driving force of social progress and emancipation. But in order to continue this role, organised labour has to change. It needs to become more democratic and ‘open’, and above all, it requires a program for radical social and economic change. In the course of the history of the labour movement, most of the official labour representatives in the developed capitalist countries have been fully integrated in the political and state institutions, where they defend and protect the existing social and economic order. In that sense, they are blocking social progress and play a contra-revolutionary role. Under the pressure of major events, however, they can be pushed to the left defending more ‘classical’ socialist positions. Although leadership is of crucial importance, social and democratic change cannot be left over to ‘heroic leaders’, but need the continuous and active participation of citizens. In addition, it is insufficient to repeat mechanically the old formulas of the past.  The ideas of socialism need desperately ‘updating,’ in order to link up with present day movements and struggles.

It is not the purpose of this document to explain the shortcomings and horrors of capitalism, which are self-evident for millions of people. The present crisis and the malfunctioning of a system that is governed by the blind forces of the ‘financial markets’ in their pursuit for profits, speak for themselves. Cuts, closures, home evictions, and the sheer injustice of the system forces people again and again into struggle. But as long as they don’t believe an alternative system is possible, they won’t see the point in joining a movement against capitalism or for a socialist utopia.

On the other hand, it would be entirely one-sided to look at capitalism and only see crisis. Only on very few occasions has capitalism meant an actual decline in the economy and then, with the exception of the depression in the thirties, only for a very short period of time. The normal condition for capitalism is for the means of production to develop. Although production can sometimes decline during a slump, all production and development does not cease even then.

Our main criticism on capitalism is therefore not that this system has not developed the means of production. In fact, it has done so on an unimaginable scale. But it has also created an unacceptable degree of social inequality, suffering and unhappiness and, most importantly, it has brought the world on the verge of ecological collapse and even nuclear holocaust, threatening the very survival of the human species.

In the last 40 years alone, world population doubled, but life expectancy has gone up by about 25 years. It took from the Stone Age to achieve that. Income has gone up for a majority of the world's population and illiteracy has gone down from a half to about a quarter of the people on earth. It is clear that these gigantic technological advances make it possible not only to meet the basic needs of the whole world population, but also to improve substantially the lives of billions on the basis of a more rational management of the natural resources of the planet and a more active and democratic participation of the citizens in the organisations, institutions, communities and societies they are part of on different levels. That means a fundamental transformation from a profit-driven economy based on egoism and self-interest to a rational planned economy based on more ‘noble’ human characteristics such as collaboration, empathy and altruism. This does not mean the extinction of ‘selfishness’ and other less sympathetic characteristics of human nature, nor the establishment of ‘paradise on earth’. But it does mean a break with the economic logic of the profit system and a transformation to a new, more social, higher form of society.

The good news is that this ‘new society’ is embedded in the present one. To a certain extent, it is already there. But it is very unlikely that it will replace the old system ‘spontaneously’, without a fight. The birth of a new system can be a painful process, and there is always the chance of a dead-born. But this possibility can be reduced to a minimum if we monitor and guide the process with the best tools available. The better we understand how the present system works, and the clearer our vision for a future society, the more efficient we will be to realise the much-needed change on all levels in society.


Understanding economic development

Essentially, 'developing the means of production’ means the development of human cooperation. This is the true source of economic development. This is what Marx called the socialisation of production. The myths of capitalist ideology portray the single person -usually a man- who comes with some great new idea. He then makes a fortune by marketing his idea in the face of stiff competition from others. Undoubtedly, individuals do come with great ideas, but they always do so in a context. Hence the difficulty of ascertaining whose idea it was. Increasingly the courts, as in the example of Facebook, have to be resorted to in a vain attempt to separate out who the “owner” of an idea is. The other end -moving from an idea into mass production– present an even greater problem with finding the “great individual”. To most people it is obvious that this cannot be done without many people cooperating.

But there is also a ‘socialist’ myth about economic development, in the form of the development of huge factories with big, technologically complicated machines. This vision misses the point entirely. Without the development of factories, machines, railways, the telephone, and the Internet, human cooperation would obviously be limited. The more advanced human cooperation is, the more it is dependent on machines and technology. But the development of human cooperation is the primary driving force of economic development – the main reason for making and using machines. Besides, machines and technology are not only the means for developing human cooperation, but they are themselves an expression of human cooperation. A forklift truck concentrates the labour of many workers into lifting one heavily loaded pallet with ease. The cooperative labour of many workers, so to say, continuous to live on in a dead object and do useful things. A factory or office building is also the product of human cooperation and enables human cooperation within its walls. A fetishist view of machines and buildings has been the norm, as if in and by themselves machines had a meaning and a value.


Elementary socialisation

The most elementary form of production was individual production. The worker had his own tools, which he possibly even made himself. He sat in his workshop, perhaps with a few apprentices, and produced a pair of shoes or whatever. Production started to become socialised when individual workers were moved into factories. It got even more socialised when the employer supplied machines and it took a group of workers to produce even a single pair of shoes. People became dependent upon each other in order to produce something, but their dependency also meant that they could be a lot more productive. Socialisation has developed in many different ways since these early days of capitalism; therefore this can be called elementary socialisation.

In an individual workplace cooperation is done according to a plan, worked out by the owner or by somebody employed by him. This is rather problematic, as can be experienced at most workplaces. All kinds of conflicts arise. True human cooperation cannot be based upon force – the boss forcing you to do what he has decided by using the threat of being demoted, pay reduction or sacking. Real human cooperation cannot be based upon a hierarchy, where each layer can force the layer below it to do what it wants and where everybody is competing to climb the hierarchy. This is very destructive and if things get completely out of hand, which they can easily do, for example when one gets the non too uncommon feature of a psychopathic boss, a whole department or even the whole company can be destroyed. Yet normally, even that inefficient form of cooperation, based upon fear, is more efficient than individual production.

Within the field of managerial science, there has been a long-running debate between those who recommend controlled, “incentive-compatible” business models and those who advocate the so-called “human side of enterprise.” The fact that companies like Toyota, Southwest, and others representing the latter view are more successful than their rivals proves that success in any business isn’t achieved through rigid corporate hierarchies or astronomical CEO pay packages, but by fostering an inclusive, social, and collaborative workplace where performance is intrinsically rewarding. These companies also know that continuous learning and innovation can’t happen in an organization that treats its members like mindless robots. It can only happen in a company that welcomes and taps the diverse insights, skills, and talents of every human being it employs. Therefore organizations that motivate employees intrinsically, and engage them in the enterprise as a community of shared interests and common purpose, often thrive far better than old-style hierarchical organisations.

But even these “success stories” of companies, that are more human, values-driven, fair, trusting, and trustworthy from the top down, have their limits under capitalism, once the economy turns from boom to slump. Somebody has to sack somebody else and maybe worsen others wages and working conditions. And all the hard work put down to get people to cooperate, risks getting torn down. And a sense of alienation returns. This is an elementary expression of the contradiction between the socialisation of production and private ownership.


General socialisation

That is not the end of the story. Small-scale production in one factory develops into giant global companies that approach monopolies in their branch. As capitalism moves along this trajectory of growth another form of human cooperation is created, an unconscious one - that between rubber plantation workers in Malaysia, tyre producers in Italy, steel workers in Sweden, and car workers in Belgium. All of whom cooperate to produce a car, that is then distributed throughout a large part of the world. This can be called general socialisation.

Inventions speed up this form of the socialisation of production. An early example was the railways that tied the economy of a country together. A more modern example is the use of the Internet for so called Business-to-business (B2B) transactions. One of the main economic gains of the Internet so far is not a better supply of books, YouTube or even open source programming. It is Internet trade between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer. The volume of B2B transactions is much higher than the volume of business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions. This in turn allows for the development of much larger manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers as they are given access to larger and cheaper suppliers. Over the last couple of hundred of years the whole physical production and distribution system of the world has been more and more tied together. Many parts of the economy have become dependent on each other. What happens in one place or one branch has a major effect on the others. This more developed form of socialisation is initially mediated by the market and it is not consciously planned, unlike socialisation within an individual workplace.

This kind of socialisation brings with its own problems – the investment cycles as described above. That is the classic boom slump cycle. Big resources are squandered in times of boom through speculative ventures, and even bigger ones during slump when unemployment leaps up. This is another form of the contradiction between the socialised nature of production and private ownership of the means of production. However, as generalised socialisation increases in scope, it begins to chaff at the limits to conscious cooperation imposed by the market, in an attempt to overcome this conflict.

Initially, towards the end of the 19th century, this took the form of trying to achieve a monopoly in a field and thus more or less dictate the price and conditions for the production and sale of a particular commodity. An alternative strategy was to try and control production vertically, that is by controlling everything from the production of raw materials to distribution of the final product to consumers. The traditional command economy was rooted in these old strategies. It was a simple extension of them into one big vertically integrated monopoly controlled from the top. These strategies proved untenable, partly as a result of government legislation, but mainly because it is almost impossible under capitalism to guard against competition from other big companies entering a field if the profits are sufficiently high there.

During the fifties and sixties, yet another strategy was developed - horizontal integration. It was the time of giant conglomerates producing everything from television to turbines. The idea behind this was that if the production of one commodity was going well it would compensate for another going badly. Typically some commodities went better during economic crisis while others fared worse. However, these conglomerates proved unwieldy, as they grew truly gigantic. And as the world economy went into a less stable epoch from the mid-seventies they had to be ditched. The worst performing companies within a conglomerate risked pulling down the whole group.

The history of the development of the means of production under capitalism can therefore be reduced to: first creating conscious, but dictatorial, cooperation within a workplace; then unconscious cooperation through the market; the expansion of conscious cooperation through the expansion of individual companies; followed by attempts to overcome the limits imposed upon conscious human cooperation by the market through monopolies, oligopolies, and vertical and horizontal integration.


Advanced socialisation

In the last thirty years capitalism has made once again new attempts to overcome the limits imposed by the market. As a consequence, there has been a big restructuring of the working class in the advanced capitalist countries. Manufacturing jobs have declined steeply, but new jobs have arisen. Much has been said and written about industrial jobs moving from Europe and the US to China and other developing countries. But the fact of the matter is that every single year in the past twenty-five years the number of jobs in the EU has risen in absolute terms. The claim that Foreign Direct Investment is creating jobs in China instead of the USA is false. The largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment is the United States. And nobody is complaining about industrial jobs disappearing from Europe, Japan and China to the US.

Of course, many of the new jobs are low paid service jobs that have reappeared to look after the rich, because the rich have become vastly richer. Other jobs have arisen in the parasitic financial sector. But these are far from all jobs. Many jobs actually represent a development of the means of production away from the old dirty repetitive jobs in huge factories to a higher level.

In the eighties the watchwords of capital became concentrate on the core business, outsource and just-in-time production. Components and services that were outsourced made it possible to create big companies for the production of components that are a small part of the final product. A car company can outsource production to over one thousand other companies. The company that produces the batteries or the plastic bumpers or the seats can be partially or completely dependent on supplying to one or a few car companies. Things are not freely bought and sold on a market, but regulated by longer-term contracts. These contracts specify exactly what should be produced and when. This is the beginning of conscious cooperation rather than a market economy.

Outsourcing also has the consequence of reducing the number of workers defined as industrial workers. In the past a factory employed cleaners, drivers, canteen staff, repairmen, janitors and so on. They were all considered industrial workers; nowadays they are considered service workers.

The development towards smaller workplaces (although not smaller companies) is also part of the 'scaling-down' that enables better human cooperation. People cooperate better when smaller groups are linked together, than when there is one all encompassing group controlled from the top.

And then, in the interstices of capitalism, not least through the development of the Internet, there has been the development of communities of self-organising groups of people that exist outside of capitalism, but are connected to it. They are used by capitalism, but also influence it. They are encouraged by capitalism, but at the same capitalism tries to control them. These new method that are developing are revolutionising the way in which corporations invent, design, develop and distribute products and services.

The old mentality of planning and implementation is being replaced by a new, dynamic economy of collaboration and common development. The old monolithic multinational organised in a closed hierarchical structure is under attack. Open source and other forms of peer-to-peer production are partially tearing down the walls between competing corporations. Self-organising communities on the Internet such as Wikipedia, Linux (but there are at least 200 000 other successful examples on a smaller scale), or sharing platforms like Flickr, YouTube… show again and again that they can develop things more effectively than hierarchical organisations.

The same ‘principles’ should be applied on the shop floor. In Western Europe, many parts of Asia, North America, and Australia, business needs more and more to rely on the creative skills of their workers. Routine, rule-based ‘left-brain’ work, certain kinds of accounting, certain kinds of financial analysis, certain kinds of computer programming, has become fairly easy to automate.

In order to ‘motivate’ the workforce, the old methods of sticks and carrots don’t work. This is proved over and over again by scientists, who come to the conclusion that there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. Management consultants develop new theories concerning ‘intrinsic motivation’ that are very close to the old ideas of self-management. Intrinsic motivation is based on understanding that people have the desire to do things because they matter, because they like it, because it is interesting, because they are part of something important.

Some modern management schools suggest a new operating system, based around three elements: autonomy, the urge to direct our own lives; mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters and purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves. The bottom line of the thesis of this motivation theory is: the main driving force for people is “doing things that matter”, not “doing things for profit”.

This mismatch between what science knows and what corporations do, can be seen in a wide variety of examples, provided by thousands of studies on human motivation, on happiness, on ‘sharing’, alternative business models, etc. They show how in fact not only businesses (private and public), but all the institutions under modern capitalism are completely outdated and are in fact to a large effect a fetter on the free development of what is possible today. All these examples are very inspirational and add to a clearer understanding of how a future society, superior to capitalism, could look like. These new developments can be called advanced socialisation.


A more complex social structure

The slogan “we are the 99%” of the worldwide Occupy movement expresses the consciousness that only a small elite of the top one percent, that owes nearly half of the world’s richness’s, in fact rules the planet. They control the politicians and international institutions, own and therefore control the commanding heights of the economy, decide on all investments and make a mockery of ‘democracy’. But it is also clear that the so-called 99% are far from a heterogeneous group politically. There is what Chomsky calls the ‘manufactured consent’ produced by the mass media, the education system, the public relation business etc. to accept the present system as the only one possible, but contradictory to Marx’ expectations, the working class has become also more heterogeneous, holding “contradictory locations within the class relations.”

Society cannot be neatly divided into two basic classes: capitalists and workers.  For instance, managers and supervisors have the relational properties of both capitalists and workers and thus occupy “contradictory locations.” Professionals and highly skilled technical workers also occupy contradictory locations through their control over credentials. According to Olin Wright, somewhat less than half of the labour force in most developed capitalist countries occupies such contradictory locations. In that sense, the class nature of a modern capitalist society is more complex than in the past. At the same time, from the point of view of the economic position in society, the class composition has become in fact simpler. The main income of workers and the so-called ‘middle class’ (including public servants) are wages. 90% of the population of the Unites States consists of wage earners; in Europe the figure is 80%; the rest is ‘self-employed’ (farmers, small businessmen, professionals, freelancers, etc.), although as a result of the crisis and downsizing, this segment of the population is in many capitalist countries growing (the 0,01 super rich are statistically unimportant). Most of small firms and independent self-employed persons are in various ways subordinated to large corporations, but nevertheless they are quit distinct from the working class.

Despite the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a small group of super rich, an increasing proportion of wage earners have also some corporate or public ‘investments’, either in the form of investments in stocks or government bonds, or in contributory pension funds. This adds complexity to the class structure of capitalism. Another important development over the last 40 years was the large-scale entry of women into the labour force. That also adds to the complexity of the class structure of society since in two-earner households, family members are linked to the class structure through two jobs, not just one. However, non of these forms of complexity in class relations mean that class is of lesser importance in people’s lives, or that class structures are becoming less capitalist in any fundamental way.


An economy of ‘peers’

Since the near collapse of the financial system and the economic crisis, the idea that pursuing selfish interest is actually beneficial to society, as defended by neo-liberalism and monetarism, has suffered a major blow. There is a revival of neo-Keynesianism, represented by economists as Paul Krugman, but more importantly, ideas defending ‘the commons’ and of the benefits of cooperation and sharing is on the rise. These ideas don’t fall from the sky, but are rooted in major developments that are taking place in the real economy. The emergence of social production on the Internet has given us countless newer, cheaper, easier, and more rewarding platforms for collaboration than we ever had before.

Capitalist corporations have always organized themselves according to strict hierarchical lines of authority. However, according to the authors of “Wikinomics - how mass collaboration changes everything”, profound changes in the nature of technology, demographics and the global economy are giving rise to powerful new models of production based on community, collaboration and self-organization rather than on hierarchy and control. So within the present system, a new human dynamic is emerging: peer-to-peer (P2P). A prominent example is Wikipedia. The fundamental principles of organizations based on the Wikipedia model are not only simply non-capitalist; they are thoroughly anti-capitalist. They involve non-market relations: voluntary, unpaid contributions and free access; there is full, open, egalitarian participation, direct and deliberative interactions among contributors and democratic governance and arbitration. The designers of Wikipedia didn’t set any official rules or regulations. They relied entirely on a (initially) simple set of norms, and on the community to keep the project in line. But as vandalism and other mischief intensified with the growing notoriety of the encyclopaedia, a kind of quasi-administrative structure was instituted which enabled users to acquire different levels of organizational responsibility and roles in resolving conflicts.

This is one of the most interesting aspects of the design of the Wikipedia-model. It offers an example of a system that governs itself primarily through conversation and self-regulating norms rather than by market mechanisms or a formal and authoritarian management structure. It is a remarkable example of how people can cooperate, even on an international level, and of how they can solve problems, resolve conflicts and produce actual outcomes. The question is: can the model of Wikipedia be used in designing other systems and institutions, including political ones? People follow more readily norms when these are self-imposed or freely chosen. In terms of system designs, even if some rules or norms are set from above, the more mechanisms for self-governance, and the more opportunities for people to participate in reviewing and revising the rules, the better the system (and the happier the participants).

Self-regulating and collaborative systems are not confined to the Wiki-model. Elinor Ostrom’s ‘Governing the commons’ (1990) describes systems of self-regulated commons that have functioned very well, sometimes for centuries. Her study set the background for the explosive growth in common-based practices in the twenty-first century. In today’s knowledge economy, the most valuable resources –information and knowledge- are themselves a public good, and the best way to develop and maximize this good is through millions of networked people pooling that knowledge and working together to create new products, ideas and solutions. The Internet makes it indeed possible for companies and non-profit organizations to harness the collective insights, ideas, and contributions not just of the people within the organization, but also of the millions of people outside it. According to the authors of Wikinomics, this kind of mass collaboration represents the emergence of a new mode of production. Companies are beginning to conceive, design, develop, and distribute products and services in profoundly new ways. With the costs of collaboration falling sharply, enterprises can increasingly source ideas, innovations, and uniquely qualified minds from a vast global pool of talent. Therefore, corporations may be going through the biggest change in their history.

Another important development according to the ‘Wikipedians’ is a shift in the advanced capitalist economies from an overwhelmingly industrial economy to an economy that is more based on services and “knowledge”. They claim that it will become more and more difficult for owners of capital to dominate economic activity. The reason is that intellectual property is inherently more difficult to monopolize than physical capital. In addition, the production of knowledge and information is most efficiently done as a collaborative, cooperative social activity. The imposition of capitalist property rights on these processes is increasingly becoming a fetter on the further development of the forces of production. Capitalism will therefore become more and more vulnerable to the challenge of non-capitalist ways of organizing the production and distribution of information and knowledge. In our opinion, the same is true for the property rights of the traditional commanding heights of the economy, including the financial sector.

It is probably true what Tapscott and Williams write in their book in Wikinomics, namely that a new economic democracy is emerging and that, as with all previous economic revolutions, the demands on individuals, organizations and nations will be intense, and at times traumatic, but the authors do really draw political conclusions from their analysis. Also digital pioneer Howard Rheingold, who claims that the participation revolution now underway opens up new possibilities for billions of people to play active roles in their workplaces, communities, national democracies, and the global economy at large, is very vague on the political alternative. According to Rheingold, twenty years from now we will look back at the early twenty-first century as a critical turning point in economic and social history: We will understand that we entered a new age, based on new principles, worldviews, and business models where the nature of the game was changed.  Peering succeeds because it leverages self-organization  - a style of production that works more effectively than hierarchical management for certain tasks. Is greatest impact today is in the production of software, media, entertainment, and culture – but there are a few reasons for peer production to stop there.”

Mainly as a result of the economic crisis, there is also a shift in “consumption patterns”; a shift from ‘owing’ to ‘sharing’ that is changing our relationship with “stuff”. Sharing is a fundamental human value. People share transportation, wine and food and all sorts of entertainment: sports arenas, public parks, concert halls, libraries, etc. Access to certain kinds of goods and services will trump ownership of them. Secondly, population growth and density into cities (today more than half of the world’s population is living in cities) is forcing us to ‘share’ more and more: carpooling, city bikes, etc. This development towards more “collectivism” is also necessary from an ecological point of view. In addition, there is a recent distrust of global big brands in a bunch of different industries. Research in the United States, Canada and Western Europe shows that most of us are much more open to local companies, or brands that maybe we haven't heard of. The same is true for banks: a growing number of people are redrawing their money from big banks and open an account in small, local banks. Increasing food prices lead to a return to ‘home farming’, even in big cities.  

This ‘return to local economies’ does not however mean the end of globalization. It is impossible to feed 7 billion people and provide them with all the necessities of life on the basis of autarchy. Quit the contrary, we are in reality witnessing the reweaving of the social, political, and economic fabric that binds our planet, with long-term consequences that are probably more profound than those of the industrial revolution. In China ‘innovation cities’ are emerging across the country, where thousands of intermingling companies leverage technology, low-cost structures, and physical proximity to destroy their worldwide competition.  China also leads the way in the field of public investment and control over the commanding heights of the economy. Within its borders lives the world’s biggest proletariat in human history. We could be moving towards a world where the door for a true collaboration across borders, cultures, companies, and disciplines is wide open, but that will not happen without the necessary social and political transformations.

So the main question is: what will the result of technology driven changes within the framework of capitalism be on the working and middle classes, and on the political institutions? These are questions that are left unanswered by most economists and management experts. Their writings are full of declarations of ‘the end of the job’, ‘the end of the traditional career (and pensions!), ‘tomorrow we all be freelancers, etc.” They imagine a world in which everyone lives and think like themselves. They forget that even in a highly developed economy, the majority of the population still have very traditional (local) jobs in very traditional top-down hierarchical organisations. But even if a growing number of the workforce will enter the new world of peer-production and distributed networks, one very important question remains: how will they get paid? How will they generate an income between jobs if the welfare state cannot be sustained? A society in which sharing and cooperating dominate is impossible without a far more egalitarian income structure. The new generation of workers that grew up with the new technology want to be treated fairly. Studies show that they have a strong ethos, and that they want to share in the wealth they create. They have a strong sense of the common good and of collective social and civic responsibility. For all those reasons, it seems practically unavoidable that technological and managerial revolutions need to be accompanied by social revolution.


Another vision on human nature

Finally, the advantages of sharing and cooperating have also been confirmed by the work of hundreds of scientists, we have began to see mounting evidence in psychology, organizational sociology, political science, experimental economics, and elsewhere that people are in fact more cooperative and selfless, or at least far less selfishly, than most economists and business men assumed. Even in the study of human biology, evolutionary biologists and psychologist are finding neural and possible genetic evidence of a human predisposition to cooperate. Out of hundreds of experiments, about 30 percent of people behave as though they really are selfish, as the mainstream commonly assumes. But fully half of all people systematically, significantly, and predictably behave cooperatively. It is impossible to tell to which extent the egoist behaviour of the minority is inherent to their character, or shaped by the social (capitalist) environment. But from those experiments follows without doubt that most of the existing social and economic systems are based on and designed with the wrong concept of who we are and why we do what we do. To motivate people, we need systems that rely on engagement, communication, and a sense of common purpose and identity. Wither we call these systems socialist or not, is of secondary importance. But what is clear is that they are superior to the traditional capitalist models.


Main sources:

Wikinomics (Don Tapscott & Anthony D. Williams)

The Penguin and the Leviathan (Yochai Benkler)

Envisioning Real Utopias (Erik Olin Wright)

Articles by Michel Bauwens (P2P foundation)

Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Daniel H. Pink)

TED Talks by Rachel Botsman, Howard Rheingold, Lisa Gansky and Tim Jackson

Discussion document Tanit conference London September 2011 by Jonathan Clyne




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