Michel Bauwens Interviewed by Furtherfield

An interview from P2P Foundation

Excerpted from an interview conducted for Furtherfield, by Lawrence Bird on 17/12/2010

It’s a commonplace now that the peer-to-peer movement opens up new ways of creating relating to others. But you’ve explored the implications of P2P in depth, in particular its social and political dimensions. If I understand right, for you the phenomenon represents a new condition of capitalism, and I’m interested in how that new condition impacts on the development of culture in art and also architecture and urban form. As a bit of a background, I’d like to look at what you’ve identified as the simultaneous immanence and transcendence of P2P: it’s interdependent with capital, but also opposed to it through the basic notion of the Commons. Could you elaborate on this?

With immanence, I mean that peer production is currently co-existing within capitalism and is used and beneficial to capital. Contemporary capitalism could not exist without the input of free social cooperation, and creates a surplus of value that capital can monetize and use in its accumulation processes. This is very similar to coloni, early serfdom, being used by the slave-based Roman Empire and elite,

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