- The World’s 25 Most Colorful Cities
|"Gamla Stan" in Stockholm is ranked the 9th most colorful city of the world|
This sounds like the kind of book I would have loved to have written if I had skills.: "The Diary of Amy, the 14-Year-Old Girl Who Saved the Earth" by Scott Erickson..."A home in Harmony With Nature? What, that's illegal!" Continue reading...
|Det er nesten så man sovner bare ved synet. Klikk i bildet for en forstørrelse.|
The practical result of government promotion of monoculture development is that for most of us there are two communities: a community in which we work and shop, and a bedroom community in which we are stored. – Kevin Carson
|Når man ikke sover i sovebyen er man gjerne på CC og shopper|
Here we can see the radical nature of Berry’s vision. Our entire economy, our very culture of work, leisure, and home is constructed around the idea of easy mobility and the disintegration of various aspects of our lives. We live in one place, work in another, shop in another, worship in another, and take our leisure somewhere else. According to Berry, an integrated life, a life of integrity, is one characterized by membership in a community in which one lives, works, worships, and conducts the vast majority of other human activities. The choice is stark: “If we do not live where we work, and when we work, we are wasting our lives, and our work too.” – Wendell Berry and the New Urbanism: Agrarian Remedies, Urban Prospects
Our present society is based on the absurd idea that material resources are abundant and immaterial ideas are scare. We behave as if the planet is infinite and exploit the earth in a way that endangers survival of the human species. On the other hand, we are building artificial walls around human knowledge to prevent and impede sharing as much as possible.Additional information:
The peer-to-peer model of Wikipedia (knowledge), Linux (software) and Wikipspeed (design), inspired by open source, wants to turn this logic on its head. According to Michel Bauwens, the sharing economy, P2P-networks, open source, crowd sourcing, fablabs, micro-factories, hackerpsaces, the makers’ movement, urban agriculture… all new phenomena forming patterns that lead us towards a post-capitalist society, in which the market will be subsumed to the logic of the commons.
Just as feudalism developed within the womb of the Roman slave society and capitalism developed within feudalism, we are witnessing the embryo of a new form of society within capitalism.
In order to save the world, we need a relocalisation of production and an extension of global cooperation in the field of knowledge, code and design.
How does deep social change and a phase transition from one system to another start? It starts with a cultural revolution. It starts with a new system of values being born, a “transvaluation”. The feudals and the Christians did not have the same values as the elite of the Roman Empire. If you were a member of the Roman Empire work was bad, it was for the slaves, but if you were a Christian monk work was good. You were supposed to work, you were creating God’s word on earth. So feudalism was not just a continuation of the Roman empire, it was a value revolution, of course it took something over but it was really another system. This new system of common production, the commons-based peer production, is not just a continuation of capitalism, it is not just a marginal rearrangement of the furniture, it is basically a revolution in values. For us openness, sharing and commons are the core of our value system. We are still entrepreneurs but we are a different type of entrepreneurs.
What do you do if you have a bunch of people with new values?
Let us go back to the end of the feudal system: the serfs escape the countryside and go to Florence and Venice where they meet up with the merchants and because they do not fit in the guild system they have to work for the merchants. What happens in that situation? This new segment of population demands new things and new social charters are established (the Magna Charta, the free city charters). What is a GPL, a General Public Licence? It is a social charter that says: we, the community, tell you, entrepreneurial coalition (of course it is often the same people, the developers working for Linux are the same that work for IBM or that own small companies developing Linux services), that if you want to collaborate with us you have to abide by five rules and if you don’t you do not play.
Next step: we are embedding those new values and those social charters in new open infrastructures. Think about BarCamps, a new way of meeting where the people collectively decide how the meeting will go. It is a new way and it has a new value embedded in the infrastructure of meetings. These are co-working spaces, hackers’ spaces, new infrastructures of cooperation based on different values.
Open manufacturing like Arduino is another example. Or the eCars project in Finland … if you are interested I have on p2pfoundation.net a list of over 300 project that are emerging among which about 25 open-source cars being planned and developed. The first one, Local Motors, based on crowdsourced design, is already on the road in the United States. ECars in Finland has made its own first shared design to transform Corolla into eCorolla, the “common” car in the Netherlands is headed for production in 2011. This is not a utopia. We are talking about real projects that are advancing at a pretty fast speed, faster than open software. These open charters, open infrastructures become new practices. You are doing open designs, you are doing open currencies, open funding, crowd funding which you apply in your own domain, so now we have open science, open education, open politics which create products. Then you have people like me who think that this is exciting and we talk about it and try to put a little grease in the system.
This is what I am trying to say: the old system is obviously crumbling and the alternative is not going to be centralised state planning, I think most people today agree on that. So what are the new alternatives? I would argue the alternative is being built. You may not see it; it depends on where you are in the system. I have a good friend who has been working for IBM for 3 years and it was really frustrating because I was excited, I am an evangelist so I always see the good side of things but he would say: “Michel, I do not see these things happening, I do not know what you are talking about”.
Well, luckily his wife got a really nice job and now he is not working but being a house-dad, he is in Alicante and I just skyped with him yesterday and he said: “Michel, for the first time in 3 years I am starting to think that you were right”. He is no longer working for IBM so he sees things differently, he is starting to see that young people today have no future, there is generalised insecurity. So if you are faced with a crumbling mainstream system, what do you do? You look for alternatives.
A little anecdote and then I close. The chairman has been very kind to give me some more time. I was in Tampere in Finland one month ago. There was in the audience a lady who is a start-up entrepreneur. There is a new subjectivity being born. Young people are building their identity based on their contribution to this common projects. So more and more identity is going away from “I am working for IBM” to “I am doing Linux”. It is the combination of their engagements which creates a reputation, association networks and their happiness in life. I have seen that many times, for example in Amsterdam. What the lady said was: “I am creating this company and I want to hire people. Finland is in crisis, you know, there is unemployment also in Finland. And you know what? I cannot find anybody who wants to work more than 3 days a week for me”. Now, why is that? According to a study in the city of Malmö, 52% of the population is engaged in peer production. 52%! And this is why Google did it, Google is a pioneer in leaving one day a week for people to engage in their own projects. This has become the reality for young people in Finland. They are not just victims of job insecurity, they also need it in a way because they want to be engaged in their passionate projects. This is what gives meaning to their lives and this is why we have a new culture and why we are building all these new alternatives. - Michel Bauwens
You may not believe this when you hear me talking but I have been in business for over 30 years and you know how that works. If you are in business you spend half of your money making a good new product, innovating and then you spend the other half of the money making sure that your competitors are not going to copy it, making sure that your TV breaks down after 10 years so people buy new ones. The game is rigged. You cannot really make real high quality products that last long and are sustainable because you would lose the competitive game. - Michel Bauwens
In other ways, New Age thinking was an heir to utopian socialism. Given the difficulty of changing society in radical ways at the macro level, people began to change their own lives by abandoning blind trust in the mechanistic approaches to the human body that were espoused by Western medicine; and by leaving aside the knowledge-stuffing, rote-learning style of education they were fed in order to treat children as whole persons. These changes have made the world unrecognizable from thirty years ago.
Whatever the negative features of the neoliberal age, many institutions have become more humane, more egalitarian, more respectful, and more attuned to the whole individual. People have changed, institutions have evolved, and many small-scale communal experiments have yielded valuable learning experiences even if they have failed to change the bigger picture.
At a time when the left was disintegrating and many social gains were undone, New Age thinking provided a banner under which millions of people continued their concrete efforts for personal and social change. Nevertheless, this thinking was also reactionary in its exaggerated rejection of 'cognicentrism' - the Western focus on the thinking mind alone. It went too far in dismissing the role of critical intelligence.
Instead of being integrative it was often regressive, a 'liberation' where selfish desire could reign unchecked. It fell prey to cults, mindless anti-modernism and extremism in the fields of diet and medicine that refused to see anything positive in western science. Spiritually, it had a romantic, rosy-tinted outlook that served to compensate for a life of dreary reality in which hyper-competition was degrading the quality of human relationships.
Finally, being born in an age of hyper-commerce, New Age thinking took on the trappings of the market, and it started functioning in ways akin to market logic. It encouraged people to behave like consumers in picking and choosing what they wanted. It became too focused on the individual and neglected processes of social change. Many of these trappings, which sometimes verged on exploitation by scumbag cults and gurus, were incompatible with authentic spirituality, which must be open-ended and participative, not based on a market model of paid experience.
In pre-modern times, people lived as members of communities with roles that were largely externally defined; in modern times they live as atomized but autonomous self-directing individuals who are bound together through social contracts and institutions. Post-modernity, seen as a critique of neoliberal capitalist structures, sees the individual as increasingly fragmented, and it has developed a strong critique of all the forces that have shown us that we are not nearly as autonomous as we think, including language and power. But this process has also left us stranded as fragmented individuals without much sense of a direction, forever deconstructing realities but rarely reconstructing them with much success. Therefore it is time for something new.
Today, individuals are no longer defined only by their membership in traditional communities or rigid roles. In my world, for example, an increasing number of people see themselves as contributors to open-source software systems like Linux rather than employees of Microsoft or Google. In this context, the key to an integrated self is to construct a rich identity of contributions that stem from active participation in many different communities. No longer New Age or Old Age but building on elements of both, a relational spirituality could form a cornerstone of the contributive societies on which the twenty-first century will be built. - Michel Bauwens
As Bradford wrote: ‘‘And no man now thought he could live except he had catle and a great deale of ground to keep them all, all striving to increase their stocks. By which means they were scattered all over the bay quickly and the townes in which they lived compactly till now was left very thinne.’’ You might say that private property rights in land were the beginning of suburban sprawl. - David Bollier
|Pathetic! Photo: Brendel|