Posts Tagged ‘sharing’

Key difference between the “Age of Me” and the “Age of We”

March 26, 2016
wise woman in the forest

wise woman in the forest

This is the gist of the systemic presentation a sleep deprived introvert (moi) shared at the inaugural FutureMe event on March 25, 2016 at The Float@Marina Bay in Singapore.

The “Age of Me” is Form (appearances based on scarcity) while the “Age of We” is Substance (inside us – knowledge, innate gifts and authenticity based on abundance).

We’re in the exciting paradigm shift between these 2 vastly distinct (business) cultures: The competitive “Age of Me” that valued things for what they produced and the “Age of We” that values the application of knowledge through empowerment.

The “Age of We” doesn’t exist yet because our global default culture is still very much the “Age of Me.”

In the “Age of Me”, businesses operate much like a factory assembly line because knowledge is hoarded. Everything is planned (sometimes blindly) from the top and executed by people in departments (usually working in haphazard silos). As firms create, push and sell stuff, value is produced upstream and consumed downstream. Because very few people benefit financially, owning hard assets is seen as a symbol of success.

While the impact of technology maybe exponential, the “Age of Me” thinking tends to be linear: I was born, go to school, start my career, get married, start a family, etc etc. Factory assembly line thinking.

But what if the next 20 years really changes humanity more than the last 300? Our future is highly unpredictable because the challenges are systemic.

Should you choose to remain in the mega competitive Age of Me (yep, that’s also the choice you make for your children and their children), PLEASE remember it’s  how a person with money hires a person without for the lowest possible wage to make as much profit as possible for the one with money. 

Already, automation, artificial intelligence and robotics are replacing many jobs.  There are also too many reports saying most people globally will be jobless in X number of years.

If very few people have jobs or just do gigs, how do we pay for living expenses like food, shelter, clothing, transportation, etc which keep getting more and more expensive?

Some countries like Finland and New Zealand are looking into universal basic income where everyone will receive an unconditional sum of money regularly.

“All problems are either clocks or clouds.” Karl Popper

To fix a clock, you take it apart. Examine the parts before putting it back together. With a cloud, you can only observe it as a dynamic, shifting, morphing whole. But since taking things apart and “breaking them down” gives us a sense of power and control, too many still use clock thinking to address cloud (systemic) problems. Then they wonder why the problems remain or worsen.

To truly prepare for the “Age of We”, I believe we NEED to completely rethink everything and NOT use the same thinking we used when we created systemic problems like poverty and climate change. To get everyone’s best input, we will first need to co create an “Age of We” culture to empower strangers ANYWHERE to DARE trust one another.

True abundance happens when each of us can openly apply our knowledge and our gifts to empower one another to be our best for everyone’s benefit.

Instead of madly competing against another, the only person we try to be better than is the person we were yesterday.

We’re living in potentially, the most fascinating phase of transformation humanity has ever known.  To be able to truly become the best we can be – not for ourselves or our families but for everyone (including your future generations).

There is no magic formula because everyone can do something in our own unique ways.  To unlearn to relearn by creating opportunities for strangers ANYWHERE to build trust with each other.  To show by doing.  Not just talking.

“Authentic paradigm shifts are rare because they entail an entire restructuring of our understanding, and if a period of letting go does not happen, and if we do not go through an experience of liminality, where nothing seems to make sense any more, we will never be able to enter a new paradigm.”                   Simon Robinson

To go from Scarcity to Abundance, the world has to experience an authentic paradigm shift.

What we have in abundance are the gifts we were born with. By embarking on your voyage of self discovery, you (re)discover what they are.  Once you know, develop and give your innate talents to live a more meaningful life:

“Each of us has the perfect gift to give the world. It’s what we were born with … if we’re able to each give what’s so uniquely ours – won’t we be able to create magic for and with each other?”  Betty Lim, 2001

Dare to self discover.  Dare to experiment.  Dare to unlearn to relearn. Start by openly enabling strangers ANYWHERE in the world to openly build trust with one another.  You’re MOST welcome to build on our social experiment.

As we don’t even have our own central engagement platform, please like our page on Facebook.

With your participation, this is the “For us” maximization movement I hope to start about a new way of thinking, doing and sharing.

May our potentials as an authentic human being become visible very soon.

— Betty Lim

Reposted from Linkedin.

The UNSHARING ON-DEMAND economy. Of giving a new name to an old scam…

December 3, 2015

rickshaw 1.jpgI lived through the 2000s’ “new economy”. It was supposed to be wonderful. Internet sales were to sky rocket and expand with no end in sight, very much like the infinite expansion of the universe. It was the time when you could take a company public with a business plan written on a single sheet of paper (single sided). Ah, the good ole’ days.

And it all came down crashing. The NASDAQ had risen to over 5,000…and plunged to 2,500. So did the NYSE index. Trillions of $$ of wealth were wiped out. What happened?

For starter, Internet commerce did not expand at the speed of light. Funny how basic human behavior can come in the way of even the shrewdest marketing scam. Then, as cunning as investment bankers are, there is only so much junk they can push on the market before folks realize that, well, it is junk. By that time, the Wall Street crowd had had a field day. But, sooner or later, the music had to stop. It did. The saddest part of it all is this: 1 – even perfectly legit companies with great offering got hammered and 2 – millions of people got screwed, having bought into the “the New Economy is going to make us all rich”.

rickshaw 2You would think that having endured a man-made tsunami, we would collectively become wiser. Apparently not, because in 2008, more trillions of $$ (most of them entirely speculative) got wiped out in the span of THREE months and the economies of the western nations came close to the edge. What was then the reason? Easy enough: that the real-estate market would expand forever like the universe or even faster.

For the past few years, a crop of “new” companies have emerged that want you to think they are “disrupting” existing business models. I think that the Wright brothers, when they flew an airplane for the first time, did actually introduce a disruption worth noting. Reserving an apartment or a cab via an iPhone? Disrupting? Really? Asking groceries to be delivered to my door step via an app? Disrupting? Well, we all have our own notion of what “disruptive” means, right!

Now, here comes a new terminology: the “sharing economy”. Sharing what, if I may ask? Or the “on-demand workers economy”. Hummm…not sure if the folks coming up with these “new” terms realize, but, by and large, we have lived for CENTURIES in the realm of “on-demand workers”. The fellow who has been delivering my favorite Indian food for the past 10 years is very much “on-demand” as well. My ancestors in the Middle Age, in France, were very much “on-demand workers”. I tell you what: it is not because you give your “on-demand workers” an iPhone that you 1 – elevate their status, 2 – increase their wage earning potential and 3 – make them less dependent on your whim.

rickshaw 3I have attached various pictures of“rickshaw” to this posting. Why, would you ask? Why indeed. Simply because the so-called “sharing economy” is very much a derivative of the “richshaw economy”. The Uber and their cohorts are now engaged in the justification of the exploitation of the labor they employ. (Yes, very much like “employees” without the benefits). “We provide opportunities for all these folks to earn a decent income with flexible hour”. How do you spell lie. L- I-E. The likes of Uber control the market their drivers operate in so the Uberites can do as they please…and they do. Surge pricing. Heavy discount. There is nothing. As in N-O-T-H-I-N-G that the drivers can do. Nothing. As for “flexible” hour, it is only as flexible as the amount of money you want to make under Uber Alles. Understand that there is NO difference between a Uber driver today and a poor fellow who pulled a tuk-tuk one hundred year ago.

Now where is the “sharing” in the Uber scam? What is being shared? Certainly not the cost of running a regulated taxi business subject to municipal regulations and taxes. Income? Well, Uber takes 20% of the driving fee. For what precisely? Just think about what exactly they get paid for? And you tell me if it is not a racket. The drivers share what…they certainly share their income with their “employer who does not want to be called an employer but an app”…get out of town! The drivers, however, do NOT share into the insane valuation that Uber’s shareholders are claiming they are worth: $50B…basically to break just about every municipal laws on the books, con the customers, exploit the drivers while showing the finger at everybody in the name of the “sharing economy”. Does it sound familiar? For some of us, it does…it sounds like 2000…2008….and for some us old enough, some scam years before…

rickshaw 4Well, Philippe, this is about technology. No it is NOT. It’s just an app that allows a person to send a message to a driver for a lift. All the other things are just gimmicks.Taxi dispatch via the internet is not new. And the Uber app is not unique. That’s just exploiting the technology developed by a whole lot of other people. But Uber, Airbnb and all the “sharing” economy gigs are NOT technology companies: they are B2C companies who are trying to paint themselves as the “cool guys”…most of them would not recognize a technology innovation if they saw one. They are marketers of the worst kind and have created business models with ZERO innovation and ZERO defensible position. Commodity. Thus they need to spend gargantuan amounts of cash to build market share…market share that has no stickiness to it…but what do they care if they can exit fast and cash out their shares and get handsomely rich in the process. Hey, the “sharing economy”…not sure they will do the “sharing” though.

I saw recently a post on Linkedin by some folks who were all “mesmUberized”:no assets, no cars, no employees (hum not sure about that), no insurance, no regulations, no taxes…and lots and lots of cash. What’s not to like? Amazing. What a new concept! Well, not quite. In the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, this used to be called a name: racketeering. And, if convicted, it would send you to jail. Today, they call it the “sharing economy”…

Amazon recently announced that they wanted “people” to carry packages for delivery. How cool is that? Hey, you do not have a job but you have a cell phone? Got a deal for you! Why don’t you deliver this package on 5th Avenue!

rickshaw 5.jpgThe “sharing economy”. The “on-demand workers”. Give me a big f… break! Call it what it is, please. Scam the consumers. Scam the workers. But please, pretty please, with sugar on top, call it what it is: the UNSHARING economy! Make whatever amount of money you can. But do not try to make us believe that you are doing it “to provide flexible hours and income to workers”. Please this is insulting. We know what you are…you predate on gullible people and displaced workers.Same as folks like you who did it a 100 years ago. Nothing has changed. You did not “disrupt” anything…you called it something else….that’s all!

— 

I have had a very fun life so far, and I am not done yetJ. I am helping high-tech businesses get off the ground and turning around faltering businesses. I am the father of a wonderful 23 years old daughter. I am also a passionate dressage rider. By the way, I do not have a book to sell. I do not want to teach you about the 10 ways to be cool under all circumstances…and YES, I wrote this post myself (for better or worse).

Originally published on LinkedIn.


I am pleased to see I am not the only one to recognise, Uber, Airbnb et al are not the sharing economy.

What we have are serfs working for death star apps.

There is nothing innovative about Uber, we have an unregulated taxi sector unfairly competing with a regulated taxi sector.

Uber is not, as often referred, a technological innovation, disruptive technology destroying an old way of working. It is an unregulated outfit, unfairly competing with legitimate, regulated taxi drivers. From the viewpoint of the Uber driver, working all hours for a pittance, take all the risks, put in the capital investment, meanwhile Uber creams off the profit.

We have, as Paul Mason described at PostCapitalism: Envisaging a Sharing Future, silly money chasing silly projects.

The sharing economy, is people working together,  open co-ops,  collaboration, sharing of knowledge and skills.

PostCapitalism: Envisaging a Shared Future

November 3, 2015
St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral

Paul Mason signing PostCapitalism

Paul Mason signing PostCapitalism

Paul Mason discussing PostCapitalism, the conclusions of a shared economy not the analysis, at St Paul’s in the City of London, under the auspices of St Paul’s Institute.

St Paul’s within the heart of the City of London. Does capitalism have a heart?

A couple of years ago, Occupy were camped outside offering a different narrative.

Capitalism is a complex system. Every complex system adapts to its environment, and in doing so, modifies its environment. There comes though a point when it can no longer adapt, it breaks downs, flips to another state, dies and its niche occupied by another complex system.

Below St Paul’s, lies a Roman Temple dedicated to Diana. St Paul’s is built on the site of a medieval cathedral.

The Roman Temple was built by military occupiers, probably using slave labour. The medieval cathedral by a feudal system. Wren’s St Paul’s built by mercantile capital.

Capitalism is not set in stone, though the City of London would have us believe so. Mercantile capitalism was followed by industrial capitalism, now we have financial capitalism.

Capital used to finance innovation, invest in productive systems, this generated wealth, from which we all benefited. Now we have financial capitalism, money is invested to create money, silly money chases silly projects like Uber and AirBnB.

Post-WWII we had growth through the 1950s and 1960s. It came to an abrupt end in 1973.

We are seeing boom and bust, bubbles, but no real growth. Crisis follows crisis. We are not seeing innovation.

Marxist Theory of Value, land, capital and labour, determines price. We now have a fourth factor, knowledge, intellectual property.

We have global monopolies, the like of which we have never seen. Companies like Apple. It costs 99 cents to download a track, because that is what Apple says it will cost. It is not determined by the market. Same applies to an iPhone. Apple uses its monopoly position to determine the price.

But this is not sustainable. Knowledge is free, it can be freely reproduced.

Check out FairPhone, or One Plus One or One Plus Two. Contrast with the latest offering from Apple or Samsung.

The price of stuff is tending to zero. Price is a signal on which the market functions. If the price is zero, the market can not function.

We need to move to open co-ops, a sharing, collaborative, gift economy, where we all contribute to the global commons, and draw upon the global commons.

Linux was created by collaborative effort, as was Apache. The internet runs on Linux and Apache, on Open Source Software, the world’s supercomputers run on Linux.

We can achieve more through collaboration, sharing, cooperating. Hierarchical systems are not efficient cannot easily adapt, networked systems are efficient, can rapidly adapt.

The share of wages of the global economy is declining. It is being driven by credit, confected money. If workers lack money in their pocket to spend, we are heading to crunch time.

Many jobs are robotic in nature can and should be replaced by robots. Freeing people to pursue more productive lives. This would necessitate a Basic Wage, sufficient to live on.

Agora is a bar in a quiet plaza in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife. It is difficult to sit on ones own, people draw one into their conservations. These are externalities, which makes Agora an interesting place to be. Agora benefits because sells more drinks. Contrast this with facebook, we all contribute, we are the product, we produce the content,  facebook then profits, it captures and privatises the externalities.

Ann Pettifor gave a synopsis of PostCapitalism, but in her criticism, showed she had read but not understood. She confused Uber and AirBnB with the sharing economy. A common mistake.

Uber is a cowboy, unregulated taxi operation which offers unfair competition to legitimate taxi operators. The drivers take all the risks, Uber creams off the profits, and pays no tax.

Uber is often used as an example for what is referred to as the sharing economy, but in reality, and and there are many other examples, we have surfs working for apps.

Ann Pettifor is correct to raise her grave concern at this rapidly growing sector of the economy, but should not confuse it with the sharing gift economy, collaborative commons.

Phillip Blond seemed to have completely lost the plot. He talked of morality, bringing justice and fair play into the world. He did not understand the concept of artificial scarcity, monopoly, which forces up the price of what should be freely available. He talked of expensive art. His point though that all could be producers, was relevant. In the sharing, collaborative commons, we all have the opportunity to become producers and consumers, often making our own unique contribution.

Elizabeth Oldfield chaired the meeting. One of her rare interjections was to ask Ann Pettifor the meaning of rentier economy. Earning money from money, not from hard graft, getting your hands dirty, not from labour or the land.

Why is your book not free?

A good question. When we create, we draw upon what went before. Working for the Channel 4 and before that the BBC, public money has paid for the work.

We could also ask, why Penguin, why a big corporate publisher? Why not Zed Books, a small publisher, a co-operative, is that not more in keeping with the ideals of PostCapitalism? The Global Minotour is published by Zed Books, as is Change Everything. Or why not publish Unbound Books, which crowd funds books? It could be argued exposure, Penguin gets books on the shelves. But does not a book like PostCapitalism spread by word of mouth?

A hardback, a real book, real costs, paper, trees, shipping, warehousing, shelving, booksellers. With an e-book, the costs are zero. The costs of the servers written off years ago. Robots convert to appropriate download formats. Any publisher that charges more than a pound is blatantly ripping people off.

hardback

  • Foyles — £16-99
  • Guardian Live — £15-00
  • Penguin — £14-00
  • Amazon — £11-89

e-book

  • Kindle — £9-99
  • Kobo — £9-99
  • Google Play — £9-99

A couple of years ago, Paulo Coelho offered his entire back catalogue at 99 cents an e-book, a book for the price of a song. Downloads shot up by several thousand percent.

Jeremy Rifkin received a lot of stick for the high price for the e-book of The Zero Marginal Cost Society, a book the entire thesis the collaborative economy and the cost of stuff tending to zero.

Contrast with Sacred Economics, available for free download, pay what you wish, accept it as a gift from the author. What will you gift in return?

Or Europe after the Minotaur, an update of The Global Minotaur, available as a free download.

Phillip Blond spoke of friendship.

In the sharing economy, everything has a story, a social interaction involved. Not an anonymous purchase in exchange for cash.

I gave a friend a special 25th anniversary limited edition of The Alchemist. I have never before seen someone jump for joy. She did, when she looked inside and saw it was signed, not only signed but signed to her. She could not contain her joy, she ran across the road to tell her mother.

Would she have had the same joy had she bought a copy for cash? Yes, she would have had the pleasure of reading but one copy would be no different to another, replaceable if you have the cash.

If I go away, I do not load a Kobo Reader (far better than Kindle), I take real books. When I have read, I give them away.

I have bought four copies of PostCapitalism. I gave my orignal copy away to my friend. Ten days ago, on my way to Yanis Varoufakis in conversation with Paul Mason, I bought a copy of PostCapitalism to replace the one I had given away. At the venue I bought a copy, then a second copy, of The Global Minotaur. Sadly I did not get them signed. This evening, I brought along my copy of PostCapitalism, and bought two more. One signed for me, two to be given away as gifts.

Having bought four copies, should I not be entitled to free e-books?

Every book should have a unique code, use it to download the e-book. You have already paid for the book, the only difference is the format within which you read the book.

If I give my work away free, should others profit from my work?

Michel Bauwens, founder of P2P Foundation and leading advocate of the sharing economy, has suggested a new type of  licencing agreement. Contribute to the commons, from which all can freely draw, but if for-profit draw then they pay a contribution.

Those not familiar with the sharing, collaborative economy, are dismissive, think it will not work, they often give music as an example, people will not pay they will abuse the system.

Bandcamp shows they are wrong. Musicians will release their work, often at low price with people opting to pay what they think it is worth. Fans will willingly pay more than the asking price.

Sita Sings the Blues was released without the usual copyright restrictions. People can show, they are trusted to pay the producer.

In the spirit of the gift economy, tickets were free. Less than one hundred tickets still available the day before. On the night, not a single ticket left, 2,500 people. What will be their contribution to the gift economy, having accepted a gift? Mine, you have just read.

An ideal follow up meeting would be Paul Mason in conversation with Michel Bauwens discussing the sharing, collaborative economy.

Paul Mason is author of PostCapitalism and economics editor of Channel 4 news.

A Library of Things Puts Frome On the Map as a Sharing Town

June 17, 2015
Share Library of Things

Share Library of Things

Imagine going to a shop, borrowing anything you like, and returning it when you’re finished. This is the idea behind SHARE: a Library of Things. Opened in late-April in Frome, a town in southeast England, the aim of SHARE is to enable people to spend less, waste less, and connect more. The first of its kind in the U.K., SHARE has already sparked interest from other communities.

“We have daily positive comments about the idea [and] the community seems to be in full support,” says Charley Murrell, one of the project managers of SHARE. “We have also been contacted by various people from over the country wanting to replicate a similar project and asking for advice.”

Murrell, along with seven other young adults, planned, researched and created the shop in eight weeks as part of an intensive program designed to teach them about social enterprises. The brainchild of Anna Francis, Frome town council’s energy and recycling officer, SHARE was catalyzed by Edventure, a “social enterprise supporting young adults to take initiative and create viable, sustainable futures for themselves and their communities.” It was also supported by local community members who contributed expertise, time, and donations.

At SHARE: a Library of Things, you can borrow anything you like, including instruments, sporting goods, and household items.

At SHARE: a Library of Things, you can borrow anything you like, including instruments, sporting goods, and household items.

In just over a month, SHARE has had over 300 items donated or lent to the shop, welcomed 60 new members, and loaned over 30 items, including a leaf blower, a record player, a projector, a PA system, toys, and musical instruments, all on a donation basis. Murrell says the number of loans is steadily increasing as everyone gets used to the idea.

The shop is run with the help of 15 community volunteers. The SHARE team is preparing to hold their first open business meeting, where anyone in the community is welcome to help shape the project.

SHARE is the latest addition to a growing network of local sharing projects that are transforming Frome into a sharing town. Frome already has an electric car sharing program, a recently-purchased 34-acre plot of community-owned land, and FRECo, and a community-owned energy cooperative.

“The shop contributes a huge amount towards Frome becoming a sharing town,” says Murrell. “It provides a physical hub for people to share items, ideas and skills. And we will be promoting sharing further through other promotional ideas and projects and a sharing festival planned for autumn.”

Organizers also hope to host the Happy Nappy Library, which promotes the use of reusable diapers, and they are talking with other sharing projects including a maternity clothes sharing scheme and a musical instrument recycling and sharing project.

While Frome doesn’t yet have a formal town sharing program, Francis says this is something they’d be interesting in exploring. Sharing already fits nicely within Frome’s adoption of One Planet Living principles, which include sustainability, health, happiness and local equity. She adds that the town council is now led by Independents for Frome, a group of “passionate local people who decided to stand for doing things that are best for the town rather than towing party political lines.”

Cat Johnson

Reposted from Shareable.

This was Frome, a small town in Somerset.

But it was only a start.

The activists went on to seize control of the town council.

It shows why social enterprises, open coops, open commons, are so important.

Get people active, cooperating, sharing.

Talk to each other, raise social and community awareness.

Then seize political control.

Then use resources of town council for the benefit of all.

Town councils should be controlled by local people, not political parties.

The Real Junk Food Project Brighton

April 20, 2015

How much would you pay for food in a cafe which does not have any prices on the menu? And how would you decide what the price should be, if you knew the food you were going to be served was originally destined for the bin? That’s the dilemma facing customers of a new wave of cafes opening around the country. — Juliet Stott, The Guardian

Following on from the success of Skipchen in Bristol and Transition Community Cafe in Fishguard the idea is spreading.

The concept is simple, intercept food that would otherwise go to waste and serve up as delicious food on a pay-what-you-like basis. Even if you pay nothing, you have still contributed as you have stopped food going to waste.

Real Junk Food Brighton is currently in an embryonic stage, they serve up fresh crushed juices at the farmers market in Churchill Square (to be replaced by a second pop up café), a pop up café in a church, but they need something more permanent.

They are using crowdfunding to raise the funds, but sadly it has been very illthought through in what they are offering as incentives. One obvious would be a meal when open.

They would have been wiser to use StartJoin or FairCoin, both of which support support community projects.

FairCoin and Robin Hood Hedge Fund are looking for projects like Real Junk Food Brighton to give money to.

Where will it be? They do not say. The obvious location would be in North Laine, as there are lots of visitors, and they would carry away the idea.

I would hope if they serve coffee, they source high quality coffee beans, and employ a skilled barista. Look to Taylor St Baristas.

I would question why the famers market is held in Churchill Square, where it is tacky High Street chains. North Laine would be a far superior location.

Russell Brand has recently opened the Trew Era Cafe in Hoxton (Hackney).

The concept of social enterprises is spreading, grass-roots, community owned and run, serving the needs of the local economy. We now need to see them network with each other. The gift, sharing ecenomy, collaborative commons in action.

Real Junk Food Brighton will not be the first zero-waste restaurant in Brighton. That accolade goes to Silo in North Laine, for which The Guardian had a highly pretentious review.

Pay what you think it is worth is not restricted to restaurants and intercepted food turned into delicious meals. It works in music too. Many of the artists on bandcamp operate on a pay what you think it is worth, with the fans having the option to pay more. And it works, the artists do not get ripped off.

Co-ops – sharing – commons

January 13, 2015

It is the convergence between commons and co-ops that will create a new economy and a new society. — Michel Bauwens

As we have seen with the financial crash, austerity and global warming, the existing system is not working, not only is it not working, it is broke beyond repair.

Labour tries to sell to the highest bidder. But it is time limited. If not sold today, it cannot be sold tomorrow.

Capital on the other hand, if not sold today, ie usury, can be sold tomorrow. Capital does not vanish at midnight like Cinderella’s coach and horses.

Global capital roams around the planet, footloose and fancy free, looking for lack of regulation, lack of environmental standards, the cheapest, dirtiest location.

The economy is built on debt. Even if we are not in debt ourselves, we are servicing debt, as the products and services we buy are built on debt. Built on debt in China, then shipped at high environmental cost to market. The Chinese ironically, when the rest of the world cuts public services, has spent our money on infrastructure to ship to market their products in huge container ships.

Global capital is extractive, it extracts wealth, it externalises its costs, and cons us into buying junk we do not need or want.

If we put to one side the lies we are told, we can all see the economy has flat lined. Yes, austerity and the greed of the banks is to blame, but it pre-dates both. And the reasons are simple and fundamental, cannot have continuing growth within a finite word, at least not as measured by GDP.

But that is not to say we do not have growth. We do not have growth as measured by GDP, which is increasingly seen as a meaningless measure of anything, and certainly is not a measure of the health of an economy.

We have growth in two areas, both a reaction to austerity and Shock Doctrine

  • growth in food banks
  • growth in sharing economy, collaborative commons

Crisis stimulates innovation.

The internet exists because people are willing to collaborate, give their time and expertise free.

Gary Alexander sketches out possiblites in eGaia, as does Charles Eisenstein in Sacred Economics.

Networked co-ops, people work as they choose, not competition cooperation, innovation not for greed for need, innovation not to seek competitive advantage innovation share.

Innovation in Big Business is to seek a conpetitive advtabbage, to maximise greed.

Classic example is oil and gas industry. Innovation is leading to ever more hazardous extraction, tar sands, fracking, deepwater, Arctic. We know to restrict global temperature rise to 2C, we must limit the CO2 released into the environment, the limit means 80% of known carbon reserves have to stay in the ground. Why therefore innovate to extract more?

If I lend or give away a book, I can no longer read it. On the other hand, I can give away e-books, I still have a book to read.

I can share music.

Copyright stifles innovation.

An excellent example, Sita Sings the Blues. Annette Hanshaw, a well know jazz singer from the 1920s, and yet not known today, because Big Record Labels own the copyright and they see no money to be made on release. The film can be shown by anyone, pay the producer Nina Paley some money to say thanks.

When we innovate, we do not operate in a vacuum, we build on all what went before.

Marginal costs today is zero, or as close as. Artificial scarcity by means of copyright.

Sharing benefits everyone. Share music, more get to hear, more likely to buy, attend concerts.

Monsters sold for £25, £20 over the asking price.

Monsters sold for £25, £20 over the asking price.

Bandcamp encourages sharing. Artists are quite happy to see their music shared, they have lost nothing, a minimum price for download, the option to pay more, many do, often a lot more.

In Brighton, Infinity Food, a co-op, a pleasure to shop.

In Aldershot, TechStart, the only innovation. A community run refurbishment of old computers. Located in a dereclict shopping centre. Probabaly too ambitious, but one of the large empty units could be used to establish a FabLab.

In Ecuador, FLOK, reorganising society into Open Co-ops and Open Commons, where knowledge is freely shared in the commons.

Steve Lawson on books, music, communication and sharing

April 22, 2012

A somewhat rambling and poorly recorded talk, nevertheless well worth watching and listening to what Steve Lawson has to say.

A book is a book. A Kindle is not a book.

We can share a book, we cannot share a Kindle, we even have difficulty (or at least it is made difficult) to share the contents of a Kindle.

Nothing is as good at being a book as a book is

We like to share books. We give them away, we lend them to friends, we donate them to charity shops.

Monday 23 April 2012 is St George’s Day. Monday night is World Book Night. A million books, 25 titles, are to be given away.

We take book sharing as part of our book reading culture. We even established institutions to encouraging book sharing enacted legislation, they are called libraries.

If book sharing is an accepted part of our cultural life, why is such a fuss made of music sharing, or at least a fuss is made by corporate music companies and the lobbyists who whore for them?

Last Friday I was at a concert by The Sixteen at Croydon Minster. I would love to be able to share the music I heard, but I cannot, as The Sixteen have not made it available for sharing. It is not as though The Sixteen do not wish to share their music, that is why they are embarking on a Choral Pilgrimage, but not everyone has the privilege to attend one of the cathedrals where they are playing.

The Sixteen – Croydon Minster – Choral Pilgrimage 2012

That is why I love bandcamp. It makes sharing easy, it makes it possible to listen on-line, and if you wish to buy some music you can do so with the assurance that the money you pay goes straight into the pocket of the musicians, not to enrich a greedy global corporation.

It is through bandcamp that I came across two excellent albums 11 Reasons Why 3 is Greater than Everything and Believe in Peace by Steve Lawson. I then found he had an excellent blog. It is through Steve Lawson I came across Lobelia and her excellent album Beautifully Undone.

I have had a presence on the web for well over a decade. A long time ago. At the time I did not even have an e-mail address. There were few of us there in those days.

It is a long time since I looked at the site, but visitors to the site were averaging around 300 a week. Only visits to index pages are being counted, not to individual pages, thus the real count could be ten times, a hundreds time, maybe more.

For the last few years I have had a blog and been on twitter.

Visits to the blog, and these are unique visits (you are only counted once no matter how many times you visit), were running at 100-200 a day. That was before I visited Bassano del Grappa last month, since then it has been running at 200-300 a month. There are also periodic spikes, the count then slowly drops over the next few days, settling at a usually higher level than before.

The story of the Japanese girl whose dream came true hit over a thousand in a few days.

A Japanese girl’s dream come true

Last week St Cuthbert’s Bible proved very popular. So far almost a thousand visits.

Few people make effective use of social networking which is why the good examples stand out.

Social networking is not broadcast.

  • broadcast one to many
  • network many to many
  • social interaction

And therein lies the clue, interaction.

The number of followers is a very crude measure, and the measure it is logarithmic not linear. That is if the number goes up ten fold, the measure goes up by one point. Steve Lawson has roughly double the number of followers of The Sixteen, thus one point ahead.

Do people respond to what you tweet, do they re-tweet?

If you read something worth reading, then do the courtesy of tweeting to your followers. Maybe one day they will return the courtesy (though most lack etiquette to do so).

Tweetlevel gives a rough idea of twitter influence, but should not be taken too seriously, and certainly do not tweet, never tweet, to effect a metric.

Different sites should link to and interact with each other.

Tweet a link for the article on a blog. Facebook is a walled garden, construct tunnels through the wall. If you have an album of photos of the latest gig, a link to where you wrote about it on your blog, links from individual photos to twitpic, a link from twitter to the album.

I came across this video of Steve Lawson giving a talk via a link on twitter.

Comments are responded to, unless diatribe, then deleted. But NEVER respond to trolls. Ignore, and block as spam.

Search on google

  • Montegrappa The Alchemist

and note occupancy of most of the Top Ten places.

MySpace, I am at a loss why anyone is on MySpace, except as a legacy from days gone by. Masochistic behaviour to put music on MySpace but not on bandcamp. I can only assume you want no one to listen to it.

Writers write to be read, musicians play to be heard.

Unless we share, how do we find new books, new music?

The big global corporations are collapsing because they are not needed any more. The only people who do not seem to have woken up to this are the mainstream media who keep running the same old tired stories about piracy destroying the music business, as though stuck in a groove on an old 78. Maybe the music industry is being destroyed, and good riddance if it is, but it is not piracy, it is merely kicking down a rotten edifice, the industry is self-imploding and the music industry should not be confused with music, music is doing just fine. Oh did I forget to mention that the main-stream media is owned lock stock and barrel by the same media conglomerates who own the big record labels.

Music does not exist to enrich mega-corporations. These mega-corporations could collapse tomorrow, as could the chain record stores like HMV, and it would have no effect on music. In fact, if there was an effect, it would be to plough money back into music.

Steve Lawson @solobasssteve is a solo bass player, he also writes an excellent blog.

Tim Berners-Lee: Don’t let record labels upset web openness

April 19, 2012
Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee

We mustn’t allow record companies’ fear that their business model isn’t working to upset the openness of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee told Wired.co.uk in a press conference at W3C.

The inventor of the web was referring to recent controversial pieces of legislation, including Sopa and Pipa in the US, and Acta globally, which have all sought to clamp down on piracy and have all been strongly supported by record labels.

“Record labels have a very strong voice when it comes to arguing for their particular business model, which is in fact out of date,” he said. “The result is that laws have been created which make out as if the only problem on the internet is teenagers stealing music. The world is bigger than that. The internet is bigger than the music industry. The economic impact of the internet is bigger than the music industry.”

He said that most of the things that are taking place on the internet are social, and downloading and listening to music is just a small part of that. He said that record companies and other organisations seeking these pieces of legislation shouldn’t be allowed to “take away the rule that you should only punish someone after appropriate court proceedings.”

Berners-Lee supports any platform that allows people to pay for music online and said that there should be more ways of “getting money back to the person who creates” content, including paying for music and donating to blogs. However, he said that “this doesn’t necessarily need to be a system created by the big record labels”.

— Olivia Solon

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, talking to Wired.

The major record labels are greedy bullying thugs who are trying to destroy the internet and criminalise sharing.

Tim Berners-Lee wishes to see the means of “getting money back to the person who creates” content. It already exists: Bandcamp connects creative artists directly with those who love music, makes it easy to share, easy to listen, easy to download, and if you wish to pay, easy to pay and the money goes direct to the creative artist, not to a greedy global corporation.

Web freedom faces greatest threat ever
Sharing of data between facebook and third parties
The cultural industry
Slow music
Community supported music
Why I’ve Taken My Music Off Spotify…
A Little “Buy Music With Bandcamp” Primer…
Tweet-Rant #2 : 23 Tweets About Bandcamp
Paulo Coelho featured on FrostWire
Piracy is the new airwaves

Copyright Mafia boss rails against democracy

February 9, 2012

It’s hard to type while laughing. Reading the head of the RIAA complaining about what he claims are abuses of power tends to induce uncontrollable fits of irony. – Lauren Weinstein

RIAA represents the music industry in the US. Think of it as an association of mafia bosses.

Sopa and Pipa was cooked up behind closed doors. It would have led to unprecedented control of the internet. Once people found out, they sent the phones of politicians into meltdown and Sopa and Pipa were killed stone dead.

The cultural industry
Documented@Davos: SOPA Panel
Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea)
Thoughts of Paulo Coelho on Sopa
Stop SOPA

But, if we are to heed the head of RIAA, this was an abuse of the democratic process, bordering on demagoguery! That people lobbied raises questions about democracy in a digital age!

THE digital tsunami that swept over the Capitol last month, forcing Congress to set aside legislation to combat the online piracy of American music, movies, books and other creative works, raised questions about how the democratic process functions in the digital age.

While no legislation is perfect, the Protect Intellectual Property Act (or PIPA) was carefully devised, with nearly unanimous bipartisan support in the Senate, and its House counterpart, the Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA), was based on existing statutes and Supreme Court precedents. But at the 11th hour, a flood of e-mails and phone calls to Congress stopped the legislation in its tracks. Was this the result of democracy, or demagoguery?

The hyperbolic mistruths, presented on the home pages of some of the world’s most popular Web sites, amounted to an abuse of trust and a misuse of power. When Wikipedia and Google purport to be neutral sources of information, but then exploit their stature to present information that is not only not neutral but affirmatively incomplete and misleading, they are duping their users into accepting as truth what are merely self-serving political declarations.

Apparently this demagoguery was the result of dirty tricks by the likes of Wikipedia and Google whipping up hysteria against the music industry.

He goes on to repeat the same old crap peddled by the music industry, dealing in stolen goods, counterfeiting, lost jobs.

What Wikipedia Won’t Tell You

What the boss of RIAA is demonstrating is arrogant contempt for democracy, arrogant contempt for those who may purchase the products of the companies he represents.

Yes there are lost jobs, that is because the music industry is doing its best to destroy the industry. You do not win friends and influence people by criminalising the very folk who use wish to buy your products.

Police closing down a store selling stolen goods is not the same as shutting down a file sharing service!

He claims that old style media did not engage in the battle, because they know the difference between news and views. Obviously he has never watched or heard of Fox News, somehow missed the views of Murdoch, the man who has been repeatedly accused in the UK of heading up a criminal empire.

Apparently we are all ignorant morons who did not know what we were opposing.

We obviously do not understand how democracy works. It is cosy little vested interests (in this case Big Vested Interests) drawing up legislation behind closed doors with politicians in their pocket.

Home Taping is Killing Music

Home Taping is Killing Music

In the 1980s we had Home Taping is Killing Music.

The response of Malcolm McLaren was to release a blank cassette with instructions: record your own music.

In 2005, several hundred colleges were served writs for hosting file sharing servers.

Music Industry Sues Hundreds Of File Sharers At Colleges

There is not a piracy problem. No matter how often the industry repeats the lie it does not make it any more true. Did they all attend the Joseph Goebbels School of Public Relations?

File sharing, no matter how often it is claimed to be, is not theft!

Music sites like bandcamp encourage sharing. It is through sharing, we hear of new music.

Would I have heard of To Leave A Mark or Little Measurements both by Les Étoiles or The Traveler and The King by Stadtmusikantin und Sterntaler (now: Traveler’s Diary) or The Acoustic EP by Grace Mitchell were it not for sites like bandcamp or FrostClick? The simple answer is no. Would others, if I did not share? The answer again is no, or at best highly unlikely.

I like to share music. If that makes me a pirate, then I am proud to be a pirate.

Paulo Coelho, Neil Young, Neil Gaiman, and many others, all recognise the value of sharing. Neil Young calls piracy the new radio, as that’s how music gets around.

Piracy is the new airwaves

Paulo Coelho likes to share. That is why he writes. He recently uploaded The Way of the Bow to FrostWire, free for anyone to download.

Paulo Coelho featured on FrostWire

Before I found bandcamp, I would have to copy a CD or maybe rip a track or two. But now, all I have to do is link to bandcamp. Only bandcamp make it even easier than that.

I cannot repeat often enough the words of Andrew Dubber (see Hear / Like / Buy):

Music is pretty much unique when it comes to media consumption. You don’t buy a movie ticket because you liked the film so much, and while you might buy a book because you enjoyed reading it so much at the library, typically you’ll purchase first, then consume … But music is different — and radio proves that. By far the most reliable way to promote music is to have people hear it. Repeatedly, if possible — and for free. After a while, if you’re lucky, people get to know and love the music. Sooner or later, they’re going to want to own it…whether it’s a pop tune, a heavily political punk album, or an experimental, avant-garde suite — the key is very simple: people have to hear music, then they will grow to like it, and then finally, if you’re lucky, they will engage in an economic relationship in order to consume (not just buy and listen to) that music. That’s the order it has to happen in. It can’t happen in any other order. There’s no point in hoping that people will buy the music, then hear it, then like it. They just won’t. Nobody really wants to buy a piece of music they don’t know — let alone one they haven’t heard. Especially if it’s by someone who lies outside their usual frame of reference. And a 30-second sample is a waste of your time and bandwidth. It’s worse than useless. That’s not enough to get to like your music. Let them hear it, keep it, live with it. And then bring them back as a fan.

But the music industry and Hollywood, very often the same global corporations, do not like sharing, they wish to criminalise sharing. The tried with Sopa, cooked up in back room deals with corrupt politicians on the take and failed miserably. They are trying again with Acta, an international treaty that will criminalise sharing, would disconnect from the net those who share. We killed Sopa and we must kill Acta.

We have stopped Sopa and Pipa, but there is worse to come, Acta. Acta is an international treaty to control the internet. Cooked up in secret behind closed doors with corporate interests. National governments and parliaments are being bounced into ratifying Acta. Acta seeks via an international treaty what Sopa sought through national legislation.

Say NO to ACTA

Top Story in Piracy Daily (Friday 10 February 2012).

Bandcamp

February 8, 2012

A few months ago, we began tracking the starting point of every sale that happens on Bandcamp. In the course of looking at the data (which we’re using to help us plan out what to do next), we’ve noticed something awesome: every day, fans are buying music that they specifically set out to get for free. — Bandcamp

I’ve said before that people hear music, then they like music, then they buy music. It’s important to realise that you need to go a step further than just allowing that to happen. You have to remove all the friction in between. — Andrew Dubber

It takes a lot to impress me. To say I was impressed by bandcamp would be an understatement.

I first came across bandcamp through Shadowboxer, who I came across through Stewart Warwick. Both have albums on bandcamp.

I came across Stewart Warwick a few years ago when down in Brighton I picked up the excellent Unlimited Art by Jacob’s Stories from Resident Records, having heard in Brighton Books. This led to Mechanical Bride and a couple of years ago The Ordeal by Stewart Warwick.

Through Stewart Warwick I came across the Surrey University live sessions and studio sessions by Shadowboxer.

Shadowboxer – Chase and Status – Time
Shadowboxer – Scott Matthews – Elusive

Bandcamp is the place to listen to, download and buy music.

Each creative artist has a page. On what is effectively their home page you will find their albums, notes about the artist, lyrics, links to other sites etc.

I like to share music. If that makes me a pirate, then I am proud to be a pirate.

Before I found bandcamp, I would have to copy a CD or maybe rip a track or two. But now, all I have to do is link to bandcamp. Only bandcamp make it even easier than that.

Click on share. You can then tweet, post onto your own or a friend’s facebook wall an entire album, copy the embed code and embed the album onto your blog.

With bandcamp you have a virtual on-line music collection.

Where else can you download an album for $1, an album not a track? Where else can you download an album for free? Well yes, ok there is FrostWire and sites like Pirate Bay.

Paulo Coelho has recently made The Way of the Bow available for free download on FrostWire.

Paulo Coelho featured on FrostWire

Often a minimum price is suggested, which could start at zero. The strange thing is, people often pay more, on average 50% more, than the minimum.

Cheaper than Free

When you download an album you have high quality audio, not the low quality, lossy compression highly compressed mp3 files which are the norm elsewhere. [see mp3 v FLAC]

Yes you can still download mp3 but it is mp3 320, or you can choose a lossless mp3. Even when you listen on-line your are listening to mp3 128.

You are not though restricted to mp3. You can choose FLAC (large file size). To play FLAC you will need VLC Media Player, as will not play in the bog standard Windows Media Player.

And why would anyone wish to listen to lofi when hifi is available?

I found you need the mp3 and FLAC download (yes, you can download both) as with the mp3 you get the lyrics. I assume they are there with FLAC but at the moment not showing with VLC Media Player (could be I need to change the settings).

Albums outsell tracks 5 to 1. The industry norm is tracks outsell albums 16 to 1.

Through featured albums on the bandcamp blog I have come across music and artists I have never heard of before. For example Where are the Arms by Gabriel Kahane and Les Sessions Cubaines by Philémon Chante recorded at the famous Studio Egrem in Havana, Cuba.

Bandcamp connects the creative artist with those who wish to enjoy what they create. It bypasses the greedy music industry. The money you pay for a download, or a real album that (hopefully) arrives in the post, goes straight into the pocket of the creative artist (with a small cut going to bandcamp).

I am amazed at the money that is flowing through bandcamp straight into the pockets of the creative artists. To date, artists have made $13,971,838 using Bandcamp, and $1,042,618 in the past 30 days.

Bandcamp is a virtual company, it exits, but exists on the net.

How We Work, Selling Right Now

Top Story on #GoIndie (Sunday 15 September 2013).