The problem of unequal access to meanings and ideas negatively affects the development of science and society. Thus, the peer-to-peer concept was born from the awareness of that. Derived from the popular P2P concept, the term refers to an architecture of distributed computer applications, which divides tasks or workloads between peers. Working parallel with this architecture, a social practice was developed. Equality of the participants' rights to access information and the core of the product, responsibility, and mutual assistance are the main values of the practice.

This concept inspired the adaptation of a new philosophy to various areas of human interaction within programming, developing IT products, mutual training, volunteering, and searching for solutions to global challenges; Wikipedia is the largest knowledge project based on the concept.

The authors of the P2P concept believe that open knowledge and free access to software, scientific research, and scientific papers and books would help our civilization to make a qualitative leap forward. According to the P2P philosophy, barriers to the use of other people's intellectual property are unethical; they put some people in a privileged position in relation to others and increase inequality. P2P additionally criticizes authoritarian and centralized social structures. Under the current system of elitism towards knowledge, people cannot work together as equals, nor can they share all information as well as enabling access to intellectual property. A P2P network promotes its political and social program under the belief that collective efforts will help in solving environmental problems and will be able to revive politics, production, and labor relations.

There are several fundamental aspects of social P2P processes:
  1. Social production. Collaborative production can be open for participation and use by as many people as possible. Yochai Benkler, who studies resource management in networked environments, suggests that this process should be described as "commons-based peer production." He argues that modern information networks provide great opportunities for cooperative creativity and product development, with great consequences for society and the economy. Two good examples of this include the free operating system Linux, and social networks. Users create content for YouTube or on Twitter, which attracts audiences to these websites while spreading certain ideas or cultural content.
  2. Collective management. Production is regulated by the community of makers and not by the market distribution or corporate hierarchy. When creating articles for Wikipedia, every author of the project can approve the article or complain about its quality, edit it, or reject it. This approach assumes a collective responsibility to make the product better, more interesting, and more accessible to the user.
  3. Equal ownership. According to P2P, the value of ownership can be publicly available; peer-to-peer services and products are distributed through the new forms of ownership that are not considered exclusive, although their individual authorship is recognized. The non-profit organization Creative Commons, used by Wikipedia to license its content, is a demonstrative example. Creative Commons operates on the principle of equal and free access to the created product. While the authors may retain some rights, they are often interested in allowing free copying of their work among their fans and subscribers.

According to P2P, one should not produce goods solely for the exchange value nor use a pricing mechanism or corporate hierarchy to allocate resources. P2P is the common property of makers and users, as well as of all humanity. Its basic practice involves approaching property as beyond any hierarchy, without considering objects as belongings to private or collective ownership. Because of that, P2P's economic methods differ from both corporate production standards and state planning methods.
Universal Problem
Most systems built in the contemporary world are based on authoritarian, centralized management systems. One of their priorities is to preserve the information they created, to protect it from copying, and respect for copyright. Nations and companies have a hierarchy that has several levels of the participants' different rights and responsibilities: different access to information, different decision-making powers, and different salaries. Hierarchies in organizations provoke inequality, whether it be from inequality in the access to meanings or from economic inequality. Public welfare decreases when each system is closed and operates hierarchically, by specifically making it difficult for information to proceed beyond its limits. Hierarchical closed networks in economy, in science, and in IT facilitate unequal access to information, cause obscure decision-making mechanisms, and provoke difficulties in creating and implementing innovations. The artificial scarcity, a result of intellectual property being withheld, hinders cultural exchange and the dissemination of free knowledge.
There needs to be a network of communities and movements which self-organizes around the collaborative production of knowledge. While maintaining personal privacy, the focus would be on open manufacturing and management processes. After all, the idea of peer2peer is to help society create an equal approach through open manufacturing, knowledge sharing, and the creation of a sustainable interrelation among people. Peer2peer implies an introduction of a peer-to-peer, decentralized approach to organizing social institutions, moving away from authoritarian and centralized structures. It is also based on open access to intellectual information, whether that be software, industrial and cultural works. Assuming that if all the world's universities opened their scientific achievements, many of the problems of humanity would be solved, and open code would make the lives of millions of people more comfortable.
Target Image
In the future, a peer-to-peer management method will be introduced at the global level.

All members of society can exercise the right to follow their own identity and culture; diversity is preserved and gender equality is ensured.

The labor system is based on the well-being of citizens. Stable networks with open information have been designed in order to create ethical markets that are minimally harmful to society and nature.
Experiment Framework
The P2P Foundation experiment is conducted as an "organized network" that facilitates the creation of networks around, or an incubator for an ecosystem of peer-to-peer organizations in all areas of human activity. This kind of approach to systems creates connectivity among communities and supports initiatives around it, in order to bring people together while increasing integrated understanding of how to operate in such a world.

Information around the P2P method is collected on an open-access Wikipedia page, with current events covered in a daily blog. The Commons Transition website combines a platform for policy proposals with a magazine that publishes specially selected stories and interviews. The P2P Lab research network tries to ensure its viability in real-world conditions by empirically exploring and extending theoretical works conducted in the field of production, management, and ownership, which focus on the public domain.
Tools and Technologies
  • Open Software
  • Free culture, free exchange of information
  • Open Hardware
  • Open access to education and science
Scaling Plans
The goal of P2P is to implement a peer-to-peer management method at the global level; the global market will be even more dependent on the management practices with the participation of many stakeholders.

This creates a new public domain – an information space which should be protected and expanded, especially in the area of shared knowledge creation. Many areas require fundamental changes in the understanding of rights, as reflected in the new forms such as the free software movement or equal ownership regimes.
Standards and Values
  • Improvement of societal sustainability through management, economic and technical changes
  • Open access to knowledge; knowledge and skills sharing
  • Employees integration into the cross-employment in projects
Communities and Leaders
The P2P Foundation is the main community of the P2P practice. Its founder is Michel Bauwens. The P2P Lab community is a laboratory for the development of technology. The Common Transition is a social and economic change community.
  • Creative Сommons – a community of open licenses.
  • Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia edited by participants from all over the world
  • Linux – a family of Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel
  • The Venus Project – a peaceful, stable, and steadily developing global civilization experiment
What you can do to join the peer2peer practice now:
join the P2P community, start to communicate with those who share the peer-to-peer philosophy;
join a training circle near you or create your own.
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