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"What do you think you are doing" - two cases of building a commons


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Talk at "Infrastructuring the Commons?" at Aalto University, 7.11. 2013

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"What do you think you are doing" - two cases of building a commons

  1. 1. ―What do you think you are doing?‖ - two cases Tere Vadén Infrastructuring the Commons, 7.11. 2013
  2. 2. Background – FOSS and peer production • The Protestant ethic strikes back: Open source developers and the ethic of capitalism Teemu Mikkonen, Tere Vadén, and Niklas Vainio First Monday, Volume 12, 2007 • Community created open source hardware: A case study of ―eCars — Now!‖ by Tiina Malinen, Teemu Mikkonen, Vesa Tienvieri and Tere Vadén. First Monday, Volume 16, 2011 • 3D printing community and emerging practices of peer production Jarkko Moilanen and Tere Vadén. First Monday, Volume 18, 2013
  3. 3. Entrypoint - A need for a common(-resource pool) - Some resources and capacities exist, but a key element is missing (money!)
  4. 4. Two projects of ―infrastructuring‖ - with two shared problems 1. - OS and ―commons-based peer production‖ projects are sustainable collectively (as projects) but not individually (for participants) - Bauwens 2009 - OS career path - compare science, research
  5. 5. 2. ― … radical projects tend to founder, or at least become endlessly difficult, the moment they enter into the world of large, heavy objects: buildings, cars, tractors, boats, industrial machinery. This is in turn is not because these objects are somehow intrinsically difficult to administer democratically; it’s because […] they are surrounded by endless government regulation, and effectively impossible to hide […]‖ - David Graeber, Revolutions in Reverse
  6. 6. Laitoksen nimi 7.11.2013 6
  7. 7. Vertaisrahasto – ―peer fund‖ The goals: - democratisation of research funding - implying the one donation, one vote rule - leveling of the institutional & expert hierachies of doing research - implying anonymisation and limitations to the size of the application - a more direct link between researchers, research topics and people not affiliated with research institutions. 7
  8. 8. How was it done? • • • • • Core group of volunteers First round of donations Launching a co-op (for the next step) Collaborative design project at Launching a non-profit (ry)  At least 3 layers of heavily bureaucratic org (co-op, demola project, non-profit) for the bootstrapping  At least 3 years of intermittent volunteer work 7.11.2013 8
  9. 9. Laitoksen nimi 7.11.2013 9
  10. 10. Robin Hood Minor Asset Management The goals: • Democratization of finance • “counter investment cooperative of the precariat” • Create non-wage income • New forms of organisation • What brings people together? What is a precarious community? Solidarity? • Investigate financial/semiocapitalism • “Is this art?” 7.11.2013 10
  11. 11. How was it done? • Research community on economy and art (Akseli Virtanen) • Sakari Virkki working on observing Helsinki Stock Exchange • -> core group of volunteers • Launching a co-op • Future Art Base, Aalto University • Discontinued  At least 3 layers of persistent and/or heavily bureaucratic org (research community/activity, co-op, university res center) for the bootstrapping  Tens of years of volunteer labour 7.11.2013 11
  12. 12. Principles? • Opt-in community • the community is elsewhere?! • Nested action & governance (Ostrom 1990) • Layers of different types of activity • Most people want the action, but access to governance a condition • Transparency • People want/need more info than you have • Friction with entities not keen on transparency • Rules (Hess 2008) and more rules… • for all the layers (different types of participants, co-op, non-profit) • “the right to devise rules respected by external authorities”(Ostrom 1990) -> the devising of rules not (obviously) improper in view of external authorities - Compare Stadin Aikapankki and the tax authorities Department of Art 7.11.2013 12