P2P and Virtue
P2P, or peer-to-peer, production and distribution is exactly what it sounds like- cooperating and sharing content among peers directly, without the mediation of a central apparatus (like a central server). It's currently most well known for P2P distribution systems like BitTorrent and direct content production systems like Wikipedia.
They're pretty much one of the most amazing things around these days, and every aspect of their functioning draws out radical implications.
Anyway, I'm too sleepy to be be very smart about this on my own, but let me paste the section of the entry I linked above just to give y'all an idea of what sort of thing is going on these days:
"Peer to peer modes, because they rely on voluntary contributions are sustainable collectively, but not on the individual level. Projects can sustain themselves if they maintain the level of volunteering, but no individual can permanently maintain him or herself outside of the monetary system. P2P projects are essentially ‘agnostic’ as to the individual situation of the volunteers, as they rely on the surplus and abundance that they are able to mobilize through self-aggegration. It has no answer to the individual who cannot mobilize such resources (though it does create vast wealth in a commons mode which is universally available); and it has no mechanisms to monetarily sustain the volunteers, beyond the creation of satellite economies around the commons.
This poses not just a problem for the individual, but for society, as it creates a ‘crisis of value’ for present market society. Indeed, as increasing numbers of individuals choose for passionate production, and the infrastructure for peer production continues to improve, the ability to directly create use value increases exponentially, but the ability of the market to monetize such social utility only rises linearly, creating a huge gap between the desire and potential for peer production, and the ability of individuals to sustain such choices. This is, in our opinion, one of the constitutive causes of precarity and precariousness amongst the new generations.
Society therefore needs a new mechanism of solidarity, but which cannot be a monetization based on profit-sharing, as this would simply ‘crowd out’ the willingness for non-reciprocal contributions. The solution then, would seem to be very similar to the one familiar to the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, when nearly one quarter of the male population was supported in their spiritual production, through gifts to the Church. In contempary terms this would mean a unconditional form of support in the form of a basic income.
Such a basic income should not be seen as welfare, but as recognition by society and the market that social innovation has become the primary vehicle for value creation, and it would, in a transitory period, allow citizens to move more easily in and out of the market sphere, and manage their careers over the longer term, so that periods of peer production can be more easily inserted. Europe is already moving in that direction, through transitional labour market policies being developed in various countries, but it is still based on the premise that transitional periods are less productive than formal labour, while the new emerging realities point to the opposite, namely that value creation is highest through peer production, and not in the market sphere, which is becoming increasingly derivate vis a vis social innovation in the P2P sphere."