Title: Transforming the Productive Base of the Economy through the Open Design Commons and Distributed Manufacturing
Author/s: George Dafermos
This policy paper explores the important role that the knowledge commons could play in the development of a social knowledge economy, focusing on the transformation of the secondary sector of the economy. Based on a discussion of two case studies on the open-source RepRap 3D printer and the Wikispeed car, which are paradigmatic of how the open design commons enable distributed and collaborative manufacturing structures, the paper derives several general principles for the development of public policy and puts forth a set of recommendations for kick-starting the transition process.
cognitive capitalism, distributed manufacturing, distributed entrepreneurship, open design commons, peer production, social knowledge economy
Title: Transforming the Energy Matrix: Transition Policies for the Development of the Distributed Energy Model
Author/s: George Dafermos, Panos Kotsampopoulos, Kostas Latoufis, Ioannis Margaris, Beatriz Rivela, Fausto Paulino Washima, Pere Ariza-Montobbio, Jesús López
This policy paper explores the model of distributed energy as a viable alternative to centralised models. To illustrate the model, which is characterised by (a) the use of renewable energy sources, (b) the empowerment of consumers through the democratisation of the means of energy production and distribution, and (c) the communal management of the relevant infrastructure, we look at four case studies, which suggest that energy production could be more effectively organised as a Commons, rather than as a commodity. This, we conclude, should be the fundamental principle underlying all public policy proposals aimed at the transformation of the energy sector.
P2P energy, distributed energy, renewable energy, open source technology, appropriate technology, microgrids
Title: Public Policy for a Social Economy
Author/s: John Restakis
The rise of interest in the social economy as a sector with a significant role to play in the changing dynamic of state/private sector relations has engendered a wide range of policies and practices that seek to both clarify and amplify the strategic role of this “third sector”. In Ecuador, this issue has recently become linked with the attempts of the state to promote the notions of a social knowledge economy and Buen Vivir as new references for a type of political economy that is oriented around service to the common good. This paper examines the particular relation of the social economy to these two notions, and also what this relationship implies for new forms of governance and the idea of the Partner State as a new form of state/civil symbiosis. Particular attention is paid to the unique role of the social economy with respect to the provision of social goods. The paper explores key principles associated with the proper functioning of the social economy in this new context, and proposes a public policy “ecosystem” geared towards maximising both the efficacy and autonomy of the social economy as a driver of new forms of social and economic production, and as a template for the reform of government itself.
buen vivir, Ecuador, partner state, social economy, social knowledge economy
Title: ICT, Open Government and Civil Society
Author/s: John Restakis, Daniel Araya, Maria José Calderon, Robin Murray
This paper explores the rise of ICTs as instruments of government reform and the implication of their use from the vantage point of the relations between democratic governance, the aims of Buen Vivir, and the role of civil society. We discuss some of the contradictions inherent in the nature and organisation of ICTs, particularly in connection to such e-government projects as “smart cities” and participatory budgeting, and focus on the centrality of social relationships, political agency and the operations of social capital as elements that determine the success of these initiatives in the promotion of democratic practice. We also examine the relevance of social capital and user control to organisational structure and the ways in which structure relates to social innovation and the access, transfer and diffusion of knowledge as a common good. The paper concludes with a discussion of the significance of ICTs as instruments of civil empowerment and introduces the notion of “generative democracy” as a means of re-imagining and realigning the role and powers of the state and civil society for the social production of goods and services.
buen vivir, ICT, generative democracy, open government, smart cities, social economy
Title: Towards a New Reconfiguration Among the State, Civil Society and the Market
Author/s: Michel Bauwens, Vasilis Kostakis
This essay tries to outline the general aspects of a political agenda for a gradual transition to a commons-oriented, social knowledge economy. In doing so, we first articulate some transitional proposals concerning both the micro-economic and the macro-economic levels, shedding light on the concept of the “partner state”. Next, a discussion follows that attempts to argue why our proposals would imply post-capitalist developments, as well as to explain the role of the capitalist sector in such a scenario. We, then, conclude by addressing some issues for future research and action.
partner state, open cooperativism, ethical market, post-capitalism