Eine leuchtende grüne Ampel neben einer roten, die mit dem Wort 'GO' beschriftet ist.

5.1.2007 | Von:
Claudio Prado

"A peer-to-peer society is possible"

The open source model is currently used only for cultural goods or software, that is, immaterial goods. Do you see possibilities for expanding the model to other goods and services? Where would be the limit?

We believe that a peer-to-peer society is possible. What do I mean when I'm talking about peer-to-peer society? I'm talking about access to cyberspace available to everybody as a policy, a public policy. Allowing people to find what they want without having to move geographically. The centre of the world now is the cyberspace. That's the concept that we are working on, one that allows the "glocal" world to become true – "glocal" meaning "glo-" as global, a globalized society, and "local", local issues.

You can stay local and be in the centre of the world, which allows diversity. The guy in the middle of the Amazon, who makes a very fine basketry and now sells them for two cents each – you can get in touch directly with him from Europe and pay – say – twenty Euros. Otherwise, he would only get two cents, and if you go into a shop here in Germany, you will pay two hundred Euros – for the same basket. Now, you can buy it directly from him for twenty Euros. That's peer-to-peer life. And that's only possible using free software solutions.

And that peer-to-peer life seems to me to be the new model for the 21st century, because the old model has been going crazy. The 20th century has produced a world of differences. The world today produces three times more food than is needed to feed everybody and half of the population is starving. This capitalist world is somehow collapsing, not achieving something. What it has achieved is corruption and inequity.

And a new world with a new ethical perspective is going to come with free software. Open Source is an ethical change. People have worked for the benefit of everybody and not for the benefit of themselves. The internet only exists because it's an ethical move. It's the biggest thing in communication – and it belongs to nobody. If somebody would have told you twenty years ago that the biggest thing in communication would be free and have no owner, you would have laughed, you would have said: "That's impossible." Communication was in the hands of very few people then; but they hadn't seen the possibilities. And now, the internet exists and is only the tip of the iceberg of this new, free world in which open source is the basic model of everything.

Is this peer-to-peer society able to sustain itself? To what extent does it still depend on a classic capitalist market society?

Let me explain this the other way 'round: We are bringing 21st century tools to people that are living in 18th, 19th century realities. It's much easier to go directly from the 19th to the 21st century without going through all the bullshit of the 20th century.

The belief that economy is the way to evaluate humanity has failed. In Europe, in the First World, you have to go beyond that paradigm, which is much more difficult for you, because you have to deconstruct 2.000 years of history that you have on your shoulders. Technology has always put some old people out of business, and some new people into business. But now the paradigm is changing – it's a much bigger change. Once we have hydrogen as a source of energy, then you have – together with the internet – the binom for autonomy, for a new kind of digital society, which has nothing to do, cannot be measured through an economical perspective.

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