I’m fresh back from the first OuiShare Summit in Paris – that has been held in the wonderful coworking space“La Mutinerie” – where I had the amazing opportunity to gave a talk entitled “Towards a cooperative, small scale, local, p2p production Future” in which I really tried to connect the dots over a bunch of topics, amazing authors and also writings that I’ve done on my own, especially the latest three on the blog.
OuiShare initiative was born in Paris during 2010 mostly thanks to the energy and sociablity of Antonin Leonard following the global wave of interest around two seminal books that have been published those days: Rachel Botsman’s and Roo Rogers’ “What’s mine is yours” and Lisa Gansky’s “The Mesh”.
For those not really familiar, Collaborative Consumption concept is about a new way of consuming goods, considering access over ownership: sharing what you own and don’t use 100% of the time with other members of your community helps reducing the overall consumption and is really some special idea. Many great ideas embody collaborative consumption principles: among the most well known is ride or car sharing,couchsurfing or room renting, tool lending, and many many more.
Collaborative Consuption has a really huge merit: having put the idea of co-ownership and access under the spotlight, triggering interest for the collaborative, peer to peer models stlll very marginal at that time probably except for what p2p paradigm achieved in the music industry, making music actually free to circulate beyond gates and copyright holders.
Oui Share Sketch Panel by Silvia Robertelli http://www.silviarobertelli.it/
Ouishare therefore, was born with “collaborative consumption” at the very heart: amazingly enough – since it’s really easy to get stuck with your root ideas – the team noticed that cooperation and collaboration represent something that is well beyond being just a different consumption pattern, and so they decided to invite me for giving my talk.
The paradigm of cooperation is, indeed, one – probably the only one – credible alternative that our global society should tackle in pursuit of a future of some kind.
That’s more ore less why, at the summit as in general on the internet, two – not necessarily conflicting, but surely different – souls coexist.
The first one is, with no doubt, legitimate but a little bit superficial (and listen, there’s absolutely no moral judgment in my statement) and looks usually for short-term business opportunities, that often lay on a dangerous path to kinda coll-washing (a little bit like we saw with greenwashing).
On the other hand, we have those looking for a more deeper investigation that goes beyond the search of newbusiness models, and aims to understand the real implications that cooperative models adopted by worldwide hacking, DIY and p2p communities have on things like Freedom, economy, education, politics and other key aspects of our lifes.
When researching on these topics you can’t really close your eyes and pretend not to see the deep sense ofindividual liberation and empowerment that comes from this way of cooperatively tackling the problems that our society lives today.
“Together we know everything, together we own everything”
The change that we expect therefore, is not only social, governmental or of the business structures: it is instead a cultural change, a mindset revolution that relates much more to the individual and her pursuit of autonomy .
The lifestyles we are accustomed to, our own society, the very same trajectories that sociey has made available so far to us as western citizens (education-job search-competition-consumption) are obviously and soundly, falling apart along with the debt bubble that has held this system together for decades, hiding the quite obvious flawns in thinking of society as a collection of individuals competing rather than cooperating.
This separation between our personal goals and the general public ones was mostly the result of industrial, capital intensive production that has always, since the early days of the industrial revolution, sought for the massification of products and centralization.
The search for scale economies and profit accumulation created, quite obviously, a perverse mechanism ofnegative externalities generation at the expense of the community.
Now that the tools of production democratizes, and that the scale is no longer necessary as it once was, we are on the verge of a potentially huge change: what the Economist called recently “the third industrial revolution“ or “the manufacturing garage revolution”, as Joe Justice told me during an interview a few days ago on meedabyte.
That revolution though, mind you, is just at its inception, and will likely cover the entirety of the production ofgoods, from food, energy, creativity to everyday objects.
Regaining an independent (DIY) and creative (make a job, don’t take a job) approach to life means freeing oneself, and one’s mind from the stereotypes the consumer society created ad-hoc, and prepare ourselves to face and build a more equitable and participatory future.
To me, honestly, is really difficult to think all this as yet another business model.
Image Credits: Silvia Robertelli
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