Commons-Based Peer Production in the Work of Yochai Benkler

Author : Vangelis Papadimitropoulos

Yochai Benkler defines commons-based peer production as a non-market sector of information, knowledge and cultural production, which is not treated as private property but as an ethic of open sharing and co-operation, and is largely enhanced by the Internet and free/open source software.

This paper makes the case that there is a tension between Benkler’s liberal commitments and his anarchistic vision of the commons. Benkler limits the scope of commons-based peer production to the immaterial production of the digital commons, while paradoxically envisaging the control of the world economy by the commons.

This paradox reflects a deeper lacuna in his work, revealing the absence of a concrete strategy as to how the immaterial production of the digital commons can connect to material production and control the world economy.

The paper concludes with an enquiry into some of the latest efforts in the literature to fill this gap.

URL : Commons-Based Peer Production in the Work of Yochai Benkler

DOI : https://doi.org/10.31269/triplec.v16i2.1009

Commons Praxis: Toward a Critical Political Economy of the Digital Commons

Author : Benjamin J Birkinbine

The concept of the commons has provided a useful framework for understanding a wide range of resources and cultural activities associated with the creation of value outside of the traditional market mechanisms under capitalism (i.e., private property, rational self-interest, and profit maximization).

However, these communities often continue to intersect with capital and the state attempts to appropriate their resources. Recent scholarship has sought to unpack some of the contradictions inherent in the claims made about the revolutionary potential of the commons by offering conceptual frameworks for assessing commons-based projects.

This paper builds upon this research by developing a two-pronged argument. First, by drawing examples from the free software movement, I argue that critical political economy provides the most useful analytical framework for understanding the contradictions inherent in the relationship between capital and the commons. Second, I argue for a commons praxis that attempts to overcome some of these contradictions.

Within this discussion, I build on the notion of ‘boundary commoning’ to understand organisational form, and I develop the concept of ‘subversive commoning’ for understanding various forms of commoning that seek to undermine the capitalist logics of the digital commons.

URL : Commons Praxis: Toward a Critical Political Economy of the Digital Commons

Alternative location : https://triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC/article/view/929