Can the story of a historical change and its consequences be told in 10 minutes? We think we can at least give the headlines of a new world.
We just arrived back from Inteligencias Colectivas Bilbo. We had ten minutes, and I think we were at least able to get the basic ideas across. You can download the presentation, but since it’s made up almost entirely of images, we’ve copied the script in below.
The script we followed went more or less like this:
- Slide 1
- The great symbol of industrial capitalism is the automobile industry
- Applying state-of-the-art technology, intensive capital, a new organization of labor (“Taylorism”), large-scale production and market achieved something implausible before that time: turning the automobile — a sophisticated machine — into a consumer product that was affordable to the middle class masses.
- Slide 2
- Today, we can build more efficient, cheaper, and nicer cars, free from intellectual property, in any small workshop by joining a project like Wikispeed.
- What’s changed?
- Basically, two things:
- Slide 3
- In the first place, productivity has multiplied,
- which has drastically reduced the optimum scale of production… which leaves the state capitalism of the Eastern countries right out of the picture, but also puts European and U.S. Big Businesses in check.
- Slide 4
- Secondly, the communication structure
- We’re moving from a decentralized world (the world of the telegraph and of nations) towards a distributed model of communication (the world of the Internet).
- Slide 5
- By bringing both changes together with the removal of commercial barriers in the Nineties, the result has been a constant increase in commerce based, above all,
- on the emergence of new, smaller-scale agents, that are less capital-intensive and exist at the periphery
- The direct consequence has been the greatest reduction in poverty in human history, but also a remarkable growth in inequality and a growing economic instability. Why?
- Slide 6
- Capital, far from adapting to the reduction of scale, has continued increasing it, turning to “financialization” and “securitization,” separating itself from the productive system and regularly creating bubbles.
- Its strategy of forcing scales has meant, to assure rents, restricting intellectual property, needlessly “redefining” the Internet to make sense of recentralizing infrastructures (Google, Facebook, etc.), and above all, multiplying the pressure to capture the State.
- This strategy can only result in the simultaneous destruction of the market and the state, a phenomenon we call “decomposition,” and which parallels the destruction of productive capacity by the crises and wars that precede and accompany it.
- Slide 7
- But, at the same time, with free software, a new mode of producing and distributing has appeared, whose focus is not on the accumulation of capital, but on the “commons,” which is to say, on abundance, on which the market eliminates rents — on intellectual property, position, etc. — to focus on remunerating labor and rewarding the innovation and customization that further enrich the commons.
- It’s what we call P2P mode of production, and just as it works to produce software, it works to produce material objects and all kinds of services.
- Slide 8
- In the last three years, there’s been a large increase in the number of industrial manufacturing projects based on the possibilities in high productivity on a small scale based on a commons of technical knowledge.
- The “Open Source Ecology” project alone is working on the design of 40 free basic industrial machines: from a wind generator to a tractor to a brick-making machine.
- Slide 9
- We “indianos” think that these technologies, while still a bit green, can be a solid base to confront the effects of the financial crisis in the traditional local productive sector and in micro and small industrial businesses, from neighborhood workshops to component factories.
- Slide 10
- Starting with professional training centers, giving training on new products to businesses and organizing workshops on the commons oriented not to prototyping or experimentation, but to the productive community and existing demand at the local level
- Knowledge, processes, and simple business models waiting to be put into practice…
- …and we encourage you to do just that, and we also offer to support any P2P initiative for local production that you undertake.