The credit commons: : a commoning protocol of monsters

Priftis, Athanasios (Haute école de gestion de Genève, HES-SO // Haute Ecole Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale)

The Commons discussion proliferates on natural resources and material reproduction. When this discussion happens, it tends to distance itself from the “digital commons”, as the latter should be understood as something different: an area of instability, of undefined laws, or even of abuse. We would like to contribute to a law of the commons discussion with an approach that considers the digital, as a potential state of any resource that can be thought and transcribed under a binary process. In this sense, (de)materialization is never definite or stable, it is, primarily, a view of how differentiation and relationships between private, public and common property are constructed. Our starting point is that debt follows this exact line of thinking: it is, at the same time, material and immaterial, local and transnational, private and public.In sociological theory, all money is debt (Ingham, 2004) and for any debt, the collateral guarantees to the lender that if the debt is not repaid the value of what was lent is not lost. We would like to push this idea further by examining mutual credit, as an endogenous money creation process, particularly under the context of Sardex Mutual Credit System: an electronic B2B mutual credit system that has been operating on the island of Sardinia since 2009 as a complementary currency (Dini, 2016). Although mutual credit is not a “comm ons credit” it is view of how credit commons could be. Revisiting an existing mutual credit system is a first step allowing us to understand Law around financial transactions and debt in its current state. Mutual credit does not oppose or change Law it makes it more livable and functional. Repositioning it in an impossible “networked” state where we are not sure of its transactions, support and motivation, governance, communities assemblage, utility, is an another effort that could help us move beyond the existing Law to a situation where a Law of Commons could emerge. Thus, our objective is to move beyond mutual credit with expected, functional, solutions and venture with the monsters of commoning debt and credit. As Dana Haraway (2016) explains regarding “the embeddedness in an infrastructure that makes the global appear as a work-object”, we can consider mutual credit contributing to such a dominant direction: the existing Law (infrastructure) is acceptable as mutual credit provides individually understood and accepted local solutions, alternative ways to apply and live with it. Credit commons with its open design, its community oriented approach destabilizes this process and recasts debt in the unknown area of a global commons potential: this could be crucial as it would makes us forget the work-object understanding of debt and provide us with an opportunity further explore its commoning process.

Conference Type:
full paper
Centre de Recherche Appliquée en Gestion
Zürich, Switzerland, 24th November 2016
Zürich, Switzerland
24th November 2016
14 p.
Host Journal:
Discussion paper for the Workshop Law of the Commons
Appears in Collection:

Note The status of this document is: restricted access

Note: The status of this file is: restricted

 Record created 2017-05-08, last modified 2017-09-09

Download fulltext

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)