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<nettime> Michel Bauwens: The Ten Best P2P Books of 2010
nettime's avid reader on Tue, 4 Jan 2011 14:05:02 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Michel Bauwens: The Ten Best P2P Books of 2010


4th January 2011

This year, the crop of books on p2p related themes has been so overwhelming 
that I find it impossible to limit myself to the classic list of just ten 
books. I therefore have organized the list as a series of 10 clustered 
themes. The order of the listing is influenced by the quality of the book 
(either read by myself, by people I trust, or through general 
recommendation) and the importance of the broad theme they are addressing.

For comparison, here is the list from last year. For more information on 
each book, click on the (*) sign after each title.

* 1. The Theory and Practice of the P2P Counter-Economy

Marvin Brownâs book is simply the most important book I have read this 
year, for its reconceptualisation of how to view the economy, no longer as 
an economics of property where labour, land and money are seen as 
commodities themselves, but as an economics of provisioning where those 
three inputs are seen as subjects (labour and nature), and as âcommonsâ. 
Itâs weak on how to get there, but itâs important to know thatâs where we 
need to get. By contrast, the equally important book by Kevin Carson is 
really all about, how do we get there, and examines in detail the 
transition to an economy that combines relocalized distributed 
manufacturing with global open design communities.

1. A. Civilizing the Economy. A new economics of provision. Marvin T. 
Brown. Cambridge University Press, 2010 (*)

1.B. The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto. By Kevin 
Carson. (*)

* 2. The New Forms of globalized P2P Governance and Enterprise

The David Ugarte / Las Indias trilogy consists of a history of respectively 
enterprise forms, governance forms, and network forms, each culminating in 
the distributed format era, and which have recently been translated in 
English. But in this context our primary attention should go to this key 

2.A. Phyles: Economic Democracy in the Network Century. by David de Ugarte 

David de Ugarte and the colleagues at lasindias.net fill in the missing 
piece of one of the more important ingredients of a new globalized 
infrastructure of value creation, by highlighting the importance of the 
concept and practice of the Phyle, a transnational value community linked 
to enterpreneurial entities that have as primary aim the creation of 
sustainability of the new value communities.

See also:

- From Nations to Networks. by David de Ugarte, Pere Quintana, Enrique 
Gomez, and Arnau Fuentes. (*)

- The Power of Networks. David de Ugarte. (*)

* 3.The New Forms of Sharing and Collaboration in the Economy

Shared consumption is just as important as shared production, and both 
Rachel and Lisa have uncovered the new landscape of shareable use of goods 
and infrastructures.

3.A. Whatâs Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, by Rachel 
Botsman and Roo Rogers (Fall, HarperCollins), 2010 (*)

3.B. The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing. By Lisa Gansky. 
Portfolio / Penguin Group, FALL 2010 (*)

3.C. All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons, by Jay Walljasper. 
New Press, 2010 (*)

Special mention: Jennifer Sertlâs book is indicative for the new attention 
in business for redesign around communication and cooperation, and new 
styles of leadership.

- Jennifer Sertl & Koby Huberman. Strategy, Leadership & the Soul: 
Resilience, Responsiveness and Reflection for a Global Economy.

* 4.Logics of Natural and Cultural Abundance against the artificial 
engineering of scarcity

Motto: as we have passed the biological regeneration capacity of the 
planet, it is imperative to stop creating artificial scarcities, and stop 
impeding natural and cultural flows where they can occur.

While we are waiting for the more theoretically grounded work in the 
upcoming book of Roberto Verzola, these two books do the groundwork of 
popularising this very important idea, that while there are objective 
âscarcitiesâ in the natural world, most of those we experience are actually 
manufactured by the existing global system. People go hungry not because 
there is not enough food, but because of the way, food production is 
currently organized, while the natural abundance of natural cycles is 
destroyed through attempted developments like GMO foods, terminator seeds, 
and cultural, scientific and even commercial innovation is impeded and 
slowed down through excessive protection of monopolies through patents and 

4.A. Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth. By Juliet B. Schor. 
Penguin, 2010 (*)

4.B. Wolfgang Hoeschele. The Economics of Abundance: A Political Economy of 
Freedom, Equity, and Sustainability. Gower Publishing, 2010 (*)

* 5. Protecting our P2P Internet

Rushkoff and Ryan have written very accessible books highlighting the 
importance of defending the p2p nature of the internet against poltical 
control and commercial exploitation.

5.A. Douglas Rushkoff. Program or be Programmed: Ten Commands for the 
Digital Age (*)

5.B. A History of the Internet and the Digital Future . Johnny Ryan. 
Reaktion Press, 2010 (*)

Special mention for this more extented scholarly treatment of the threats 
to the end to end internet:

- Internet Architecture and Innovation. Barbara van Schewick. MIT Press, 
2010 (*)

* 6.The emergence of a P2P Left

People on the left are critiquing the embeddedness of much of free software 
and free cultural practice to the dominant modalities of capital 
accumulation, but doing so by offering constructive alternatives that makes 
use of the new technological affordances as weapons in the struggle.

6.A. The Telekommunist Manifesto. Dmytri Kleiner. Institute for Network 
Cultures, 2010

6.B. Wikiworld: Political Economy of Digital Literacy, and the Road from 
Social to Socialist Media. Juha Suoranta â Tere VadÃn.

Special mention go to 2 new studies of digital activism, and Joss Handsâ 
book will likely be a candidate for our list next year:

- Joss Hands.  {AT}  Is For Activism. Pluto Press, 2010

- Digital Activism Decoded, Ed. by Mary Joyce. Idebate Press, 2010

* 7.The work of the scholars

Bot the books of Marcus Boon and of Lewis Hyde, which I have yet to read, 
has been widely hailed not just for its scholarly but also for its literary 

7.A. Common as Air. Revolution, Art, and Ownership. Lewis Hyde. 2010 ;

7.B. In Praise of Copying. Marcus Boon. 2010

A special mention must go to non-monographical essay collections that 
benefited from excellent editors, such as the following two books. The book 
on A2K has an absolutely amazing collection of essays on the movement for 
free access to knowledge, while master editor Daniel Araya has collated the 
best essays on peer to peer learning.

- Education in the Creative Economy: Knowledge and Learning in the Age of 
Innovation. Edited by Daniel Araya & Michael A. Peters. Peter Lang, 2010

- Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property by Gaelle 
Krikorian and Amy Kapczynski (eds.). Zone Books, 2010

* 8.The spirituality of P2P

The struggle against spiritual authoritarianism and exploitation is an 
important part of the p2p sensibility, and Jeff Meyerhoffâs work, though 
written before, has only found a publisher this year. Itâs a brilliant 
deconstruction of the major faults in the integral theory of Ken Wilber and 
its authoritarian aspects. Bill Gibson reminds us of the importance of de-
hierachising and peering in our relation with nature and its beings, and of 
the importance of a renewed understanding of the sacred, including by the 
secularly inclined.

8.A. Bald Ambition: Critique of Ken Wilberâs Theory of Everything. Jeff 
Meyerhoff. Inside the Curtain Press, 2010

8.B. James William Gibsonâs âA Reenchanted World: The Quest for a New 
Kinship with Natureâ (*)

Special mention: should have been on our list, but we have received no 
confirmation that it has actually been published yet. But, given his 
previous Ascent of Humanity book, it should be a really important 

- Charles Eisenstein. Sacred Economics.

* 9.Emergent P2P and Commons Urbanism

If 2009 was the year of emergence for open manufacturing, then 2010 was the 
year for the emergence of a robust community around the notion of p2p 
urbanism. While we are waiting for the official publication of the book of 
readings by Nikos Salingaros, here are two treatments, one on Vancouver, 
and the other a very practical guide to the sustainable life in cities.

9.A. Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future. 
Matt Hern. AK Press, 2009.

9.B. Towards Radical Urban Resilience: Toolbox for Sustainable City Living. 
Scott Kellog

* 10.Other Important Books

Joseph Hanlon show the benefits of welfare state politics in Latin America 
and the global South, instead of the current model of neoliberal corporate 
welfare and bailouts for the speculators. Shirkyâs essays are always 
stimulating for the neurons, even if they are rarely grounded in a 
structural understanding of society.

10.A. Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the 
Global South. By Joseph Hanlon, Armando Barrientos and David Hulme.

10.B. Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. Clay 
Shirky. The Penguin Press, 2010

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