Stranded Technologies
Stranded Technologies Podcast
Ep. 75: Commons & Contracts, The Evolution of Peer-to-Peer and Community Governance w/ Michel Bauwens and Max Borders

Ep. 75: Commons & Contracts, The Evolution of Peer-to-Peer and Community Governance w/ Michel Bauwens and Max Borders

In this episode, we debate with two major thinkers with different philosophies but also commonalities about governance and social evolution.

Max Borders, author of “The Decentralist,” "The Social Singularity," and “After Collapse,” (a previous guest on the show) and Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation and author of “The Political Economy of Peer Production”.

The definition of “commons” is already a challenge, but we typically refer to inherited and collectively created goods, like air, oceans, and wildlife and shared institutions such as libraries, public spaces or scientific research.

In Michel Bauwens definition, what is peculiar about commons is that they are governed by a community - not by market-only or state-only mechanisms.

Michel is critical of both the market and state-led suppressions of local governance solutions to commons problems, where Max Border has a more proprietarian approach. These differences evolve into a deep discussion.

To Michel, proprietarian solutions aren’t necessarily bad - they can be enabling solutions for commons governance, especially empowered by the internet and blockchain technologies. Max Borders replies that this is a feature, not a bug - proprietarian / libertarian solutions are meant to enable pluralism.

Michel’s vision is one of "cosmo-local" dynamics, depicting a globally connected yet locally optimized system. As an open value network, co-production became pivotal in reallocating value from old systems to new ones through peer-to-peer capacities.

We discuss the role of cryptocurrency for community-focused economic networks, the paradox of "trustless" systems and the importance of peer-to-peer exchange. We also talk about the right "exit strategies", the concept of network states and the importance of building societies that benefit local communities. 

All of us want to encourage more governance experimentation. Experimentation allows us to try out different ideas, and technology empowers us to scale those solutions that work from the local to the global level.

More about Michel’s work:

More about Max’s work:

Stranded Technologies
Stranded Technologies Podcast
Niklas Anzinger talks and writes about his experience as a VC based in Prospera Honduras, competitive governance and how it can unblock "stranded technologies" that are held back by bureaucracy and overregulation.