reading a book, magazine, newspaper, other physical document, or online post
Read Straws in the wind… which future of work are we heading for? - RSA (
Our latest report portrays four alternate futures of work. What clues do current trends give us for the future that awaits us?

I like speculative future scenario planning, as a way of outlining possible alternatives and encouraging agency towards which one we actual want. Peter Frase’s Four Futures is a great book on this, from a general socio-economic view. So I like the idea of doing this from a technological perspective. Cooperatives and mutuals appear in the “Exodus Economy” future, in response to an economic slowdown. (I wouldn’t want the assumption to be that this is the only way they will appear, but I guess that’s not the intention of the authors.)

Read The Player of Games by an author

Just finished The Player of Games (Iain M Banks) – also really enjoyable.  Less cinematic than Consider Phlebas (though still nicely paced), and a bit more to chew on philosophically.  The contrast of the hierarchical Azadian empire and the egalitarian Culture is interesting.  Gurgeh, the main character, from the Culture, finds some appeal in the way things work in Azad.  Azad feels like a caricature of Western society as it is today – superficially advanced and urbane, but with some real darkness hidden away, out of sight.

Read Consider Phlebas by an author

Really enjoyed Consider Phlebas (Iain M. Banks).  It was a rip-roaring read.  Very visual and cinematic, I can still conjure up a picture of a lot of the scenes in my head.  Enjoyed the brief intro it gives to the Culture, too – the post-scarcity socialist society that are featured in a lot more books in the Culture series.  Interested to see how that’s explored further.  I’ve just started reading the next in the series, The Player of Games.

After this I think I’ll try some Kim Stanley Robinson – more speculative socialist futures as far as I understand.

Read Protocol Cooperativism?: Platform Cooperativism by an author (Platform Cooperativism)
To break down capitalism, coops should focus on shared protocols, not platform coops that replicate platform capitalist systems.

Interesting argument that we should view protocols as the digital means of production, more so than platforms. And that ‘protocol cooperatives’ will do more to break down capitalism than platform coops will. I think the main argument being that platform coops are inherently centralised, and that as far as challenging capital goes, we should be striving for decentralised architectures. I think the argument being we should have coops that interoperate on top of a shared protocol; not one coop that dominates an entire market with a platform.

Relates somewhat to the Statebook article, which argued that the state would serve us better if it focused on building and promoting shared protocols, not on building a Facebook alternative.

Read Beyond “Taming” the Tech Giants by an author (New Socialist)
To truly challenge the power of the tech giants, we need more than better regulation. We need class struggle.

If neoliberalism is a class project, then Silicon Valley is the industrial manifestation of neoliberalism applied to technology. Silicon Valley is a class project. To abolish it needs large structural transformation. We need to change the balance of class forces, tipping it away from capital and in favour of labour. Worker organisation from below, with a change in conception of what a tech worker is. Start taking lucrative technologies out of the capital-accumulation process.

“Tackling the problem at the root requires that we *abolish* Silicon Valley.”

Read Disrupting the climate by an author (
Digital technology has an impact on climate change in three distinct ways – all of which we need to radically change if we want a chance of preventing climate chaos.

Digital technology’s effect on the environment.

It uses a lot of raw materials; produces a lot of CO2 in manufacture; and the ‘cloud’ uses a vast amount of energy in use.

“What we really need is a whole new way of thinking about digital technology. In a world focused on ownership driven by conspicuous consumption, in the thralls of a digital revolution, we have created a sprawling global beast that might consume our society as well as ever greater amounts of energy and resources.”

Things we should do: use materials more efficiently; make things more repairable; use renewable energy.

I’d probably also add ‘abolish capitalism’ to the list.

Read What to do once you admit that decentralizing everything never seems to work by an author (Hackernoon)
Lots of tech projects these days, especially crypto-networks, aspire to decentralization. Or their evangelists say they do, because they feel they need to. Decentralization is the new disruption—the thing everything worth its salt (and a huge ICO) is supposed to be doing.

Really good article by @ntnsndr:

I’m intrigued by the idea of where centralisation arises in decentralised systems. Is the protocol by which decentralised apps communicate a point of centralisation? Maybe you need some things centralised to facilitate decentralisation. Is that then a single point of failure?

Personally think it’s healthy to see a plurality of decentralised protocols, and it’s even better to see them bridging to each other. All about the bridges.

Read How solid is Tim’s plan to redecentralize the web? by Irina Bolychevsky (Medium)
The internet and near-costless scaling of digital has allowed the concentration of too much power in too few hands. Our systems for…

I really like the Personal Data Store concept. You own your data, and you choose to let apps interact with it for your benefit. It’s pretty much what the #indieweb is doing (though perhaps for the more limited subset of things that don’t need verified claims).

I don’t like the commercial nature of most PDS offerings (including Solid now).

Either way, some good general food for thought in this article.

Read Fully Automated Green Communism | Novara Media (Novara Media)
How can we secure luxury for all without careering even faster towards climate catastrophe? Aaron Bastani discusses.

“It means saying ‘here is a path to limitless abundance’, rather than calling for civilisation to be placed in a straight jacket.”

Following on the previous ‘degrowth vs accelerationism’ article, a view from what the other article would call the left accelerationist approach.

I wouldn’t call it accelerationism though. Just a harnessing of technology for the aims of equality and abundance. But not blind techno-optimism.

Good article.

Read Repair Day: No One Should Be Punished for "Contempt of Business Model" (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Repair is one of the secret keys to a better life. Repairs keep our gadgets in use longer (saving our pocketbooks) and divert e-waste from landfills or toxic recycling processes (saving our planet). Repair is an engine of community prosperity: when you get your phone screen fixed at your corner...

Great piece by Cory Doctorow on the importance of repair.

“This is the golden age of repairs, a moment made for a renaissance of shade-tree mechanics, electronics tinkerers, jackleg fixit shops, and mom-and-pop service depots. It has to be: our planet, our pocketbooks, and our neighborhoods all benefit when our property lasts longer, works better and does more.”

Read Radical municipalism: demanding the future (openDemocracy)
‘Municipal politics’ may raise new types of demands crucial in organising powerful social movements and improving material conditions, while orienting us towards new understandings of what is possible. 

Some good musings on the relationship between post-nationalism and post-capitalism.

Hypothesis: “that the ‘municipal’ – whether we’re talking about towns, cities or city-regions – might be a fundamentally important scale at which, and through which, to generate progressive movements towards post-capitalism”

Some good thorny issues that need examining in the ‘Our questions’ section.


Read Everything for everyone: Michel Bauwens interviews Nathan Schneider - Commons Transition (Commons Transition)
An interview with Nathan Schneider by Michel Bauwens, on this very interesting book about the past, present and future of the cooperative movement and how it intersects with the revival of the commons.

“I regard cooperatives as a kind of commons, a mode of commoning that has made itself legible to the industrial-era state and market. […] But I wouldn’t claim cooperatives are sufficient. They’re a starting point, a gateway to more diverse and widespread commoning.”

Nathan Schneider interview by Michel Bauwens.

Everything for everyone: Michel Bauwens interviews Nathan Schneider

Read Mondragón and the System Problem by Gar Alperovitz (Truthout)
Politics & Elections Native Vote Could Determine Outcome of Senate Race in Montana Human Rights New Senate Bill Would Allow Indefinite Detention of Migrant Families Human Rights New Legislation Gives Access to Medication Abortion at Public Colleges War & Peace Bernie Sanders to Pompeo: Yemeni Lives ...

Interesting read about some of the issues faced at the system level as cooperatives get large and embedded in global markets. As experienced by Mondragon.

Read The making of the CommonsCloud - technical choices | Free Knowledge Institute (

Interesting article on the tech choices behind CommonsCloud.

(CommonsCloud is a platform coop combining Discourse, NextCloud and Phabricator. They’re trying to build an online collaboration platform for the solidarity economy.)

Read Blockchain could reshape the world – and the far right is one step ahead | Josh Hall by Josh Hall (the Guardian)
Crypto technology is coming to a crossroads. Plenty want to use it to radically redistribute wealth – but plenty don’t, says writer Josh Hall


I think the article could explain better what it is specifically that both the left the far-right are doing with cryptocurrency. And in what way the far-right is one step ahead.

Read Next, the Internet: Building a Cooperative Digital Space (The Internet of Ownership)
Originally published in the Cooperative Business Journal’s winter 2018 issue. For a sizable portion of the people running the established cooperatives in the United States, I’ve found, the in…

Really nice article by @ntnsndr on the possibilities of coops in the digital space (and what they’re already achieving).  Quality rather than unnecessary growth; data privacy; federation rather than centralization; harnessing ideas like blockchain for trust; and funding new ventures through cooperative means. Exciting times. (h/t @Matt_Noyes)

Interesting to see a reference to “municipal” socialism from JC. Also interesting to see the top-level intervention when a local authority is doing something dodgy. I agree with the sentiment of the intervention but how municipalist is it?

Read Paradigm shifts for the decentralized Web (
As separate markets for data and apps emerge, Web development needs to adopt a new shape ◆ Most Web applications today follow the adage “your data for my services”. They motivate this deal from both a technical perspective (how could we provide services without your data?

Interesting article on the Solid (Social linked data) platform.  It describes a lot of the decentralisation concepts that are explored and implemented in the indieweb movement (surprised the article doesn’t mention indieweb, in fact, given the W3C link), but comes at it from a Linked Data angle.  The language around markets and competition doesn’t really appeal to my personal politics, but good to see the philosophy of moving away from centralised silos being explored in different ways.

I’m not clued up enough to know what the final result of the blockchain hype vs antihype ping pong match will be. Ditto UBI. This article is about both. Nevertheless, regardless of the means, I like the ends they’re aiming for: decentralization, degrowth, reinvigorated local communities, post-capitalism.

Read Newco Shift | Our Consumption Model Is Broken. Here’s How To Build A New One. (Newco Shift)
Imagining a better consumption model is key to a good future. On August 2, 2017, we started using more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year. Every natural resource we used from t…


  • Our consumption patterns have huge environmental, social and health impacts.
  • Consumption is a corporate strategy.
  • We need a systemic change, not just tweaks to consumerism.


Good article, backed up by plenty of stats.  But it’s stronger on the “our consumption model is broken” part, a bit weak on “here’s how to build a new one.” The plan for system change doesn’t feel very fleshed out, with some loose suggestions, and not much as to how we actually achieve the suggestions.  Maybe that’s explored further elsewhere.

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