KEVIN FLANAGAN: Cooperation and the Commons – Challenges and Opportunities

Share & Share Better Panel


Where: Paccar Theatre


When: 12:00 – 14:00 16/11/14


Social movements today are faced with a paradox. On the one hand, we have the emergence of commons-based peer production in fields such as free software, open design and open hardware, which, while creating knowledge commons available to the whole of humanity, are dominated by and dependent on start-up culture and large multinational enterprises for their social reproduction.


On the other hand we have a resurgence of interest in economic democracy as exercised through worker-owned and cooperative enterprises. However, while internally democratic, the social and community benefit as enshrined in the 7 cooperative principles is often limited or undermined by business models based on intellectual property and market competition. What is needed is a synthesis, an ‘open cooperativism’ that combines the best of both commons-based peer production and the democratic governance and ownership characteristic of coops and the social solidarity economy. Such an approach presents challenges of its own. One solution is a new kind of Commons Reciprocity License. These challenges and the license are the focus of this presentation by Kevin Flanagan of the P2P <Foundation.