The idea of a book came up in several variants. These are described below as content variants and as audience variants.

An Oekonux book on topics relevant in Oekonux could have a major impact and certainly would be a good thing.

The problem in fact is to have enough content for an (English) book. May be the Oekonux project has enough content meanwhile or can generate enough.

Also see the 2011 initiative on an Oekonux book.

Copyright / -left

In addition to hardcopies the book needs to be available for download.


Finding publishers seem not to be the problem. In fact a couple of people have contact to publishers (AlanT, AthinaK, Martin, MathieuO).

An alternative to a standard publisher would be a book on demand. However, a real publisher putting the book in its program is probably better.

Structure and authorship

Separate articles

A book could be a collection of articles from various authors. In this case there could be authors

  • who participate in Oekonux
  • who do not participate

Shall the latter be included?

Some quotes from the mailing lists.

Oekonux is a forum and not a political group or party. As Merten himself says: "Oekonux has no "party line"" (3jun09). Differences between participants are often important, even on important questions, as for example on the future possible "social model", see the discussions about Christian's model, especially with S.Merten. Also questions as the inevitability/possibility of a "violent social revolution" in order to expand a PP based society are from a general agreement between participants.

We can have for some chapters a unique text which corresponds more or less to a common agreement and two or more texts in the chapters where differences are too important. It may be stimulative for the reader.

I agree with Raoul that a book consisting of chapters written by different authors makes better sense. The result, of course, need not necessarily be a collection of disjointed, non-connected texts. A 'monolithic' design, in my opinion is not a precondition for logical coherence in the general argumentation; a modular design could also work. The chapters could thus be grouped conceptually based on their theme: for example, in such broad, yet clear, categories as peer production, peer property and peer governance.

Big narrative

An alternative would be to have a big narrative. What could be a story line for such an narrative?


Oekonux aims to disseminate the idea that peer production is a valid alternative to capitalism. A book should do exactly this.

Possible ways to do this include

  • Basic (Oekonux) theory about peer production
  • Outlining the potential of peer production on a theoretical basis
  • Studies of existing peer production projects
  • Relationship of peer production to classical social movements
  • Addressing open questions of the generalization of peer production

Audience variants

The intended audience would have consequences for the structure of the book and also the language used. For the general public it should be not too complicated. Or rather: things need to be explained more.

Scientific book

A book, especially if it is a conference proceedings book, could have its main audience in academia.

A scientific book has a quite limited audience and by some is seen as a waste of time.

Also if we want to reach academia we can probably use the existing connections to existing academia institutions.

Public book

Such a book would have its main audience in the general public such as

  • bookstores,
  • media people,
  • journalists.

Proposed titles

  • Peer Production and Capitalism
  • Peer Production: The missing link from capitalism to a new era

Proposed content

Suggestions for topics / chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction

Content: Short general introduction to book and chapters. Peer production as already existing challenge to capital; but it is also coopted by capital (free content serves to justify the consumption of hardware for example). Need to consider free software / free hardware not just as challenge to copyright but as social / production process with broader potential.

Author: Oekonux

Chapter 2: Peer production as a germ form

Content: Explanation of free software and peer production, concept of "Selbstentfaltung".

Author: Stefan Merten / Oekonux, Stefan Meretz / Oekonux

Chapter 3: Peer production and the Marxist tradition

Content: How does peer production relate to different strands of marxist theory today - German tradition (?), Althusser (?), Callinicos (?), Harvey (?), Negri/Tronti (?), etc.

Author: ?? / Oekonux

Chapter 4: Peer production and labour

Content: Hacking as reaction to boredom, "radical role of hackers in preventing labour market from being sole determinant of allocation of programming resource in society".

Author: Johann Soderberg / Oekonux

Chapter 5: Peer production and growth

Content: Against Left and Right "green capitalism" - need to consider relationship of peer production to productivity and growth.

Author: Oekonux / I could contribute some ideas to this.

Chapter 6: Challenges of contemporary hardware projects

Content: Overview of current projects that exist today that apply peer production principles.

Author: ?? / Oekonux

Chapter 7: A complete social model

Content: How could a peer production society work - Siefkes' weighed contributions, d-pool, stigmergic, etc. Other models?

Author: Christian Siefkes / Oekonux

Chapter 8: Alternative to Oekonux

Content: There has been some disagreement with friends in P2P about issues such as the role of money and markets in a non-alienated way. Rather than excommunicating those we disagree with we should have a dialogue with them. In fact this chapter could be in the form of a dialogue between the two perspectives. This would make the book more self-critical, more reflexive and help it to breathe a bit.

Author: Michel Bauwens / P2PF / Oekonux

Ideas for more chapters
  • expertise / elitism

  • Role of "others", such as women in peer production (not sure about that - maybe just needs to be acknowledged in introduction that there can be barriers to entry and that these should be fought wherever applicable)

  • Art

  • Governance and maintainership

  • Structure of collaboration

  • Relationship of technical and social means of production

  • Volunteers and paid work

  • The political economy of digital things (using mainly marxist theory)

    Author: Andreas Wittel

  • What is a society and how does it work? What is a "social model"? How can we determine functions of a society?

    Author: Stefan Meretz

Other ideas

Oekonux/Project/Book (last edited 2011-10-30 10:26:31 by StefanMerten)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License (details).
All pages are immutable until you log in