Michel Bauwens

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Michel Bauwens (born 21 March 1958) is a Belgian integral philosopher and Peer-to-Peer theorist. He has worked as an internet consultant, information analyst for the United States Information Agency, information manager for British Petroleum (where he created one of the first virtual information centers), and is former editor-in-chief of the first European digital convergence magazine, the Dutch language Wave.


[edit] Biography

With Frank Theys, Bauwens is the co-creator of a 3 hour documentary TechnoCalyps, an examination of the 'metaphysics of technology'. He taught and edited two French language anthologies on the Anthropology of Digital Society.

Although a student of Ken Wilber's integral theory for many years, he has recently become critical of aspects of the Wilber-Beck movement, and is a powerful voice for a non-authoritarian peer-to-peer based integral society.

Bauwens is the author of a number of on-line essays, including a seminal thesis Peer to Peer and Human Evolution and The Political Economy of Peer Production. He is editor of Pluralities-Integration newsletter.

He now lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he created the Foundation for P2P Alternatives. He has taught courses on the anthropology of digital society to postgraduate students at ICHEC/St. Louis in Brussels, Belgium and related courses at Payap University and Chiang Mai University in Thailand.

[edit] Pluralities/Integration

P/I: Pluralities/Integration is an email newsletter compiled by Michel Bauwens, with news and updates on Peer-to-Peer developments and the emergence of a more participative worldview. The title refers to the enduring tension between a multitude of worldviews, and their eventual integration. At the end of 2005, it has been renamed P2P News. It is an emanation of the Foundation for P2P Alternatives.

Preferred themes include: the networked society, cognitive capitalism, empire and its discontents, emancipatory processes among the 'multitudes' and the possible emergence of a peer to peer civilization, truth-building as a collective and 'dialogical' effort, the challenges posed to traditional religions and humanism by spiritual P2P experiencing and technological transhumanism.

[edit] P2P Theory

In The Political Economy of Peer Production Bauwens regards p2p phenomena as an emerging alternative to capitalist society, although he argues that "Peer production is highly dependent on the market for peer production produces use-value through mostly immaterial production, without directly providing an income for its producers."[1] However, Bauwens goes on to argue that the interdependence is mutual: the capitalist system and market economies are also dependent on p2p production, particularly on distributed networks of information processing and production. Consequently, p2p economy may be seen as extending or already existing outside the sphere of free/open source software production and other non-rival immaterial goods.

This idea is explored also in the essay "Peer to Peer and Human Evolution" that expands the P2P meme beyond computer technology. It argues that egalitarian networking is a new form of relationship that is emerging throughout society, and profoundly transforming the way in which society and human civilization is organised. [2] The essay argues that this new form of non-representational democracy is a crucial ingredient in finding the solutions to current global challenges; as well as a new and progressive ethos representing the highest aspirations of the new generations.

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