P2P Foundation

The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives

I work as a host at The Hub London (www.the-hub.net) and am interested in developing this exciting role further with others in this forum.

At The Hub I have the role of setting the culture and 'delivering' The Hub Experience within a hosting team.

Hosting to me is cultivating the conditions for meaningful encounters, conversations, collaborations and innovation.

Personally I got very inspired by Ivan Illich's De-schooling society and Michel Bauwens visit to us in November 2007.

According to Illich, the new educational forms - beyond schooling - would benefit from peole (he didn't give them a name) who would have this role:

- help people find the path to reach their own objectives faster
- facilitate encounters between people and with models
- putting ourselves and other people out of the way if we are not needed
- create services
- advice, assess
- advice on methods for peer learning
- advice on other learning sources, places, people, books
- support people's initiatives and initiate some themselves

This is what hosting means to me.

What inspires you in relation to hosting P2P initiatives?

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Replies to This Discussion

Cultivating the conditions for meaningful encounters, conversations, collaborations and innovation requires at least space, and probably tools.

My hosting inspiration is in how the "we" can treat property ownership of some space and tools so goals similar to Illich's can surface.

The primary problem I see is how originators that purchase space and tools accidentally retain too much control while newcomers cannot gain a foothold.

Space and tools have real and recurring costs that must be collected from the participants in some manner - a kind of 'tax' or 'rent' needed to cover the expenses of operation so hosting can continue.

The solution I propose - to insure ownership flows as the organization grows - is to understand all "price above cost" (or what is commonly called "profit") is a plea for growth from the user who paid it, and must be handled as an investment from that user toward more space and tools.

As those investments vest to the user who paid them, ownership of the space and tools needed for effective hosting are shared among the participants in a self-balancing manner.

Users who pay more than cost slowly gain ownership.
Users who pay exactly cost retain current ownership.
Users who pay less than cost slowly lose ownership.

Does this seem relevant, or would you say the ownership of hosting facilities is an unimportant detail?
Hi, sorry for taking ages to respond. Your comment is very interesting and has a lot in common to conversations we have inside our hosting team (we run The Hub London). Our core business is spaces for social innovators - anyone with a great idea for a better world and what it takes to realize it.

I see that what we are doing - separating service from ownership - follows an interesting trend in society towards a more efficient way of producing and using. For example the car sharing schemes in many places, the shared bike schemes in Paris..., public spaces are all initiatives that show that you don't need to own everything you use.

I like your take on ownership and believe the first premise: "Users who pay more than cost slowly gain ownership" is what I believe in and work for. We do need to be more effective in involving our members in deciding how to best improve the tools and services offered but that's where we are heading.

Is this trend something you see too?
Hi Maria,

I wish I could say I see more of this - especially in the agriculture sector considering the current world food crisis.

What I see instead is massive agribusiness owners consolidating ever more control while small farmers continue to struggle and finally succumb to the debt they attempt to hold by themselves.

If bunches of consumers (say about 1000 per bunch) could "get together" to buy small, organically diverse farms with the expected return being product instead of profit (notice only consumers would settle for product instead of profit), then those consumers would collectively hold that debt - and would have a very good chance of paying it off. In some cases they might just be able to fund it directly without even taking out a loan.

In doing this, the consumers would be their own 'hosts'. The people working on the farm would likely also be consumers from it, and could pay their costs from part of their labor while also receiving a very good wage.

I would like to write more but am feeling scatterbrained right now. Let me know if what I am saying makes any sense to you, and steer me back to your discussion if it doesn't.

I also wanted to mention some of the strange economic effects of this "self-hosting".

In a 'normal' business the owners are working against the consumers in that they are attempting to keep the price of the goods above the costs of production. In other words, they are trying to "make profit".

Keep in mind that wages paid for work are calculated as a cost and are on the opposite side of the equation from profit.

But when the consumers of a product are the owners of the sources of those products (in just the right amount*) - in other words, when the business is "consumer owned" - there is no desire and indeed no possibility of keeping price above cost.

In this bizarro economy profit is 'undefined'. The product is available "at cost" and is not even 'sold' in the traditional sense because those that intend to use the product own it even before it is produced.

As an example, imagine a small group of nut-lovers own an almond tree. If they hire someone to care for the tree and to harvest and store the nuts they would pay those wages as a cost of production, but they can't pay profit unless they were to pay it to themselves. So they get the product "at cost" and they own it even before it is produced.

(*) A consumer has "Just the right amount" of source ownership when it is sufficient to produce exactly the amount of product he desires before the next round of production.




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