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<nettime> To Save the Worldâ Preface by Bernard Stiegler for
Ãrsan Åenalp on Mon, 27 Apr 2015 23:47:34 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> To Save the Worldâ Preface by Bernard Stiegler for

Originally Posted ???

Michel Bauwens, peer-to-peer activist and founder of the Peer-to-Peer
Foundation, has a new book out, in French, entitled Saving the World:
Towards a post-capitialist society with peer-to-peer. In the book
Michel, with his collaborator Jean Lievens, argues that a new
distributed and de-centralised economic model is necessary to shake up
the world and  drive us towards a post-capitalist society. In a
wide-ranging, impassioned and ambitious, perhaps idealistic,
diagramming of a new mode of living and working Bauwens reaches for a
different way of performing economics and the political.

The book has a preface by Bernard Stiegler that has been shared on the
Peer-to-Peer Foundation website and so I have translated it. I have
offered this to the foundation and I would be pleased if it is of use
to them or to anyone else. The copyright of the text remains under the
license attributed to the original book.

Preface by Bernard Stiegler

To Bauwens, M. and Lievens, J. 2015. Sauver le monde. Vers une soci??t??
post-capitaliste avec le peer-to-peer, Editions Les Liens Qui
Lib??rent. [Saving the World: Towards a post-capitalist society with

Over the course of the next twenty years, automation will instigate
the decline of a society founded on salaried jobs: 49% of jobs will
disappear in the United States, 43% in Great Britain, 50% in Belgium,
56% in Italy and Poland[1]. This huge transformation, resulting from
the integration of digital automation, constitutes the horizon for the
argument put forward here by Michel Bauwens. He has studied and
promoted the new model of production made possible by digital
technologies and founded in peer-to-peer relations, which thereby
surpasses the proletarianisation that has hitherto been the basis for
industrial capitalism ??? here, proletarianisation principally signifies
the loss of knowledge.

Like Ars Industrialis and the Institute for Research and Innovation,
the P2P Foundation sets out the principle that digital reticulation is
no longer a model based on the functional opposition between
production and consumption. Rather it is based on the constitution of
communities of knowledge developed through relations between peers ???
that is to say, on the reconstitution of knowledge (of life skills
[savoir vivre], know how [savoir faire], and theoretical knowledge
[savoir th??oriser]) which have been systematically dismantled over the
last 250 years. This discourse affirms the possibility of salvation:
it attempts to save the world. Such claims will no doubt be scoffed at
by sceptics of all persuasions ??? they are deniers, who, like climate
sceptics, are still trying to ???convince the Marquise that everything
is fine??? [2]??? against all available evidence.

The evidence is the profound collapse of social cohesion in every
industrial society on Earth and the devastating effects on those
societies on the margins of industrialisation. Nothing is being done
in the short period of time we have available in the near-future to
address these issues, and this damage will only cascade like an
uncontrollable chain reaction. This situation arises through what we
have called, since the beginning of the 21st Century, the

The Anthropocene constitutes an unsustainable acceleration of entropic
becoming???to the extent to which it perturbs the meteorological,
oceanographic, atmospheric, hydrological and demographic equilibriums
while depleting fuel as well as social, psychic and physical or
cultural energies???which threatens a world which it should, in fact, be

A real salvation implies a radical change in the organization of work,
of social and economic relations, which take into account the changes
already accomplished by digitisation beginning with the emergence of
the World Wide Web and which goes beyond the state of affairs that
these relations have installed, to understand the global domination of
the increasingly sprawling reticular industries, stemming from the
California model of Silicon Valley, so well described by Evgeny
Morozov in ???the rise of data and the death of politics??? [3].

The present model of voluntary or involuntary contribution imposed by
the data economy exploited by the ???Big Four???, and by those prospering
within their ecosystem, is not only unjust but also bankrupt and
hyper-proletarianising: Far from deproletarianising individuals it
remotely controls them, as they increasingly rely on mimetic
technologies driven by an intensive calculation through algorithms,
processing massive data sources in real-time, which form a new kind of
???crowds???, in the sense that Freud discusses the crowd psychology of
Gustave Le Bon [4].

This is possible because bottom-up networks capture value and
hyper-standardise behaviour (they hyper-proleterianise in this sense)
storing and monopolising them through top-down processing of data
produced by the crowds, mobs and other reticulated masses sublimated
by intensive computing. I believe, like Gert Lovinck, that in this
respect the emergence of social networks in the first decade of the
21st century constitutes a dangerous turn as the dynamics of peer to
peer submit to statistical models that perpetuate herding behaviour
through user profiling and our many algorithmic doubles.

The transition to a true peer-to-peer economy, however, is, in time,
inevitable for four reasons:

1. In the current system based upon wage labour, stemming from Fordism
and regulated by the Keynsian belief in the redistribution of
purchasing power through employment (despite neoliberalism first
weakening the system by reducing wage redistribution and now through
speculative devices) a massive process of automation will engender a
systematic insolvency and lead to a collapse of consumer capitalism.

2. On top of the destructive effects of the macroeconomic system, the
anthropocene will itself generate telluric toxic effects that may only
be countered by the promotion and maintenance of new forms of
negentropic potential.

3. Thales, ???the first geometrician???, initiated the canon of rational
thought (logos) in the peer to peer model, which Socrates furthered
through dialogic practices, and as the principle of development for
the Greek city, as a process of collective individuation based on the
maximum expression of the possibilities of psychic individuation for
every citizen ??? this installing knowledge and the culture of knoweldge
at the heart of collective being, exactly the opposite of the
decomposition of knowledge that is today pushing towards what some
have called the functional stupidity [5] of cognitive capitalism.

4. Only knowledge has the capacity to produce new negentropic
potential, and only social organisations based on systemic enhancement
and culture made possible through reticular parity will enable a move
beyond the anthropocene, to ???save the world???, and enter into what
would therefore be called the ???neganthropocene???.

At Ars Industrialis and IRI, we think that this requires a new model
for the redistribution of the extraordinary gains in production made
possible by a full and widespread automation, which must be taken as a
template for new ways of organising work amongst peers.

This is why we advocate a [citizens???] contributory income, granted to
everyone, in order to cultivate their abilities (as suggested by
Amartya Sen) and provided that they regularly use those abilities in
contributory projects, themselves supported by mutual credit granted
by contributory banks, and within the most diverse forms of
socialisation: associations, public services and businesses. The
modalities of realising such approaches should be experimented within
the areas which will make the choice [of which economic system to
pursue], in particular in order to maximally expose their younger
generations to the consequences of automation, and the possibility of
producing capacities to exceed it.

Automation, with the failure to appropriate free time in order to
increase knowledge in all its forms (life skills [savoir vivre], know
how [savoir faire], and theoretical knowledge [savoir th??oriser]), can
only drive through a mortifying acceleration of entropy. By contrast,
deproletarianisation is a reconstruction of knowledges, which are
individual and collective capacities and which transform any time
saved through negentropic possibilities.

This is why, for us, it seems essential to confirm and realise the
opportunities created by Michel Bauwens through his extraordinary
practical and theoretical knowledge of the dynamics of peer to peer,
and respond to the ???Web We Want??? initiative [6] launched by Tim
Berners-Lee in March 2014, by proposing a new model of architecture
based on the valorisation of interpretable and incalculable
singularities ??? calculation being the entropic reduction of the
singular into the particular.

1. These figures have been suggested by Jeremy Bowles (Bruegel
Institute), as a part of a study conducted by the Oxford Martin School
by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, and featured in the Belgian
newspaper Le Soir on 19th July

2. I am fairly sure this refers to a comical jazz song, ???Tout va tr??s
bien, Madame la Marquise???, recorded in 1936 by Ray Ventura???s band The
Collegiate Five, in which the Marquise is told over the phone by
various servants that everything is fine at home, excepts for a series
of disasters. It has been suggested the song is a metaphor for
France???s lack of concern for the approach of WWII ???Trans.

3. Evgeny Morozov, ???The rise of data and the death of politics???, The
Observer, 20th July 2014,

4. This has been demonstrated by Thomas Berns and Antoinette Rouvroy
in ???Gouvernementalit?? algorithmique et perspectives d?????mancipation: le
disparate comme condition d???individuation par la relation????
[Algorthimic governmentality and perspectives on emancipation:
disparity as a condition of individuation by relation?] Reseaux v.31
n.177: pp. 163-196 (2013) [
http://works.bepress.com/antoinette_rouvroy/47/ ]. I am developing,
myself, this analysis in The Automatic Society, to be published by

5. Mats Alvesson and Andr?? Spicer ???A stupidity-based theory of
organizations???, Journal of Management Studies v.49 n.7: pp. 1194-1220
(2014) [http://jourhavandesociolog.se/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/joms1072.pdf

6. For information on the Web We Want initiative see:
https://webwewant.org/ ???Trans.

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