what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Understanding the mess we're in

The left-right scale has a long history – labelling people on the basis of their attitude to the economic role which the state should play in society. Since, however, the late 50s and the arrival of a more “self-expressive” spirit, an additional dimension was needed to indicate attitudes to the hierarchy/participation dimension (ie political power). The political compass website – which allows you to take your own test – labels these additional dimensions “left authoritarian” and “left libertarian”

Last year I came across a couple of diagrams from the Commons Transition people which I found very useful correctives to the normal simplifications we get about what is going in the world….  
It uses six dimensions – which it labels “politics”, “the economy”, “work”, “citizens”, “conscience” and “consumption” to identify a dozen key concerns which have surfaced about recent global trends. We can certainly quibble about the logic of the dimensions - and the labels used for the trends - but the diagrams are thought-provoking and worthy of more discussion than they seem to have obtained in the couple of years they have been available.

The first of the diagrams details the “Current Capitalist Paradigm” but, for my money, could be improved by adding some names of illustrative writers. I have therefore taken the liberty of producing a simpler version of the diagram which includes about 20 names – with hyperlinks in each case to key texts. Readers who are frustrated by the tiny lettering of the names around the perimeter should therefore simply click on the link (NOT the diagram above) and then click the particular name whose material they want to access.

The second diagram is entitled Beyond Capitalism and does include illustrative names. This too could, in my view, do with some additions (and deletions) and I hope to include an amended version in a future post. For example, it is a bit light on robotisation…..
For the moment, however, let me simply offer my readers the diagrams as a better way of mapping the literature to which we should be paying attention…..  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Memorable Messages

I’ve set myself a rather challenging task – to sift through the 200 plus books which have popped up on my blogposts over the past eight years which relate to what we, rather egocentrically, call “the global crisis”; and to identify those which I would recommend to those members of the younger generation struggling tomake sense of the mess….
It’s challenging because I’m finding that I was too hasty in my reading the first time round – or, if I’m totally frank, that I was too lazy or distracted to do much more than flick the pages….But a trawl like this offers the great advantage of ……."compare and contrast"…

Plus .....I now know (or think I know!) what I’m looking for. A previous post set out some of the prerequisites I now look for in any book and, the more I skim the material I’ve collected, the more ruthless I feel about exploring the question of whether a book has the qualities required to change the way the reader looks at the world…..  
Bear in mind that I bring to the task no fewer than 60 years of quite intensive reading while trying to make sense of (those bits of) the world (I feel I should be making an effort to understand)…..When we do these lists of the century’s “key books”, I often wonder how many the compilers have included from a sense of duty – rather than from a sense of its felt impact…..
And so I did a little test – I asked myself which books had actually so impressed me that I had given them as presents to others or used in my project work of the past 25 years …..The common factor in the resulting list was "typologies" - the books all had a way of simplifying the complexity which faces us...


The typology
Author; source
Further detail
3 incentive types
Etzioni (1971)

Carrots, sticks, norm compliance

8 Roles in any effective team

Belbin (1981)
Plant, resource investigator, coordinator, shaper, monitor, teamworker, implementer, finisher, specialist
10 Rules to stifle innovation

Rosabeth Kantor (in her 1983 book “The Change Masters”
See later
7 Habits of Effective People
Stephen Covey (1989)
See later
Full book available on internet
4 Gods of Management
Charles Handy/Roger Harrison in Gods of Management (1984)

Zeus (boss culture); Appollo ((hierarchy - role culture); Athena (task culture); Dionysus (individual professional)
4 basic interpretive stances

Mary Douglas grid-group theory (1970s); Chris Hood’s “The State of the State”  (2000)


Hierarchical, individualist, egalitarian, fatalist
48 ways to gain power

Robert Greene in “The 48 Laws of Power” (1998)

Link gives access to entire book
6 global threats to capitalism
Susan George in “The Lugano Report – on preserving capitalism in the 21st century” (1999) – a powerful critique in the form of a spoof report produced by consultants for the global elite
Strongly recommend the new Introduction she wrote – accessible on the googlebook link

In one of my blogs I referred to the pleasures of the lists – the Seven Deadly Sins; Seven Habits of Effective People (Covey); Ten Commandments (God); and Ten rules for stifling innovation (Kanter) seem just about manageable. When I was working in Central Europe in the 1990s I used to buy multiple copies of the Covey book in the local language - Hungarian, Slovak and Romanian – since it was one of the few books I knew in English which was also available in the local language and was useful as a means of professional conversation. I know that the book is rather frowned upon in intellectual circles but I still think it's got something.....including the famous sketch of a woman which demonstrates so powerfully our disparate perceptions.....
The principles were/are -
- be proactive
- begin with the end in mind
- put first things first
- think win/win
- seek first to understand : then to be understood
- synergise
- "sharpen the saw" - ie keep mentally and physically fit

When I moved to Central Asia and Caucasus in 1999, I found that presentation of Rosabeth Kanter’s “Ten rules for stifling innovation” was a marvellous way to liven up a workshop with middle-ranking officials. 
She had concocted this prescription as a satiric comment on the way she discovered from her research that senior executives in US commercial giants like IBM, General Motors were continuing to act in the old centralised ways despite changed structures and rhetoric.

1. regard any new idea from below with suspicion - because it's new, and it's from below
2. insist that people who need your approval to act first go through several other layers of management to get their signatures
3. Ask departments or individuals to challenge and criticise each other's proposals (That saves you the job of deciding : you just pick the survivor)
4. Express your criticisms freely - and withhold your praise (that keeps people on their toes). Let them know they can be fired at any time
5. Treat identification of problems as signs of failure, to discourage people from letting you know when something in their area is not working
6. Control everything carefully. Make sure people count anything that can be counted, frequently.
7. Make decisions to reorganise or change policies in secret, and spring them on people unexpectedly (that also keeps them on their toes)
8. Make sure that requests for information are fully justified, and make sure that it is not given to managers freely
9. Assign to lower-level managers, in the name of delegation and participation, responsibility for figuring out how to cut back, lay off, move around, or otherwise implement threatening decisions you have made. And get them to do it quickly.
10. And above all, never forget that you, the higher-ups, already know everything important about this business.

“Any of this strike you as similar?” I would cheekily ask my Uzbek and Azeri officials.

Robert Greene’s 24 ways to seduce; 33 ways to conduct war; and 48 Laws of power are, also, tongue in cheek. The first to hit the market was the 48 Laws of power and I enjoyed partly because it so thoroughly challenged in its spirit the gung-ho (and unrealistic) naivety of the preaching which characterised so many of the management books of the time – and partly for the way historical examples are woven into the text. I’ve selected a few to give the reader a sense of the spirit of the book
• Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies
• Conceal your intentions
• always say less than necessary
• Guard your reputation with your life
• Court attention at all costs
• Get others to do the work, but always take the credit
• Make other people come to you
• Win through your actions, never through argument
• Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victims

I found a Russian translation of the book in Baku and gave it as a leaving gift to the Azeri lawyer in the Presidential Office with whom I had worked closely for 2 years on the project to help implement the Civil Service Law. He obviouly made good use of it as 3 months later he was appointed as Head(Ministerial level)of the new Civil Service Agency my work had helped inspire!

Luther’s 95 theses on the wall of the Wittenberg church may seem excessive – but, given the success of his mission, perhaps contain a lesson for the media advisers who tell us that the public can absorb a limited number of messages only!

Sarah Bakewell suggests in How to Live – or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty attempts at an Answer that Montaigne’s life can usefully be encapsulated in 20 injunctions –
• Don’t worry about death
• Read a lot, forget most of it – and be slow-witted
• Survive love and loss
• Use little tricks
• Question everything
• Keep a private room behind the shop
• Be convivial; live with others
• Wake from the sleep of habit
• Do something no one has done before
• Do a good job – but not too good a job
• Reflect on everything; regret nothing
• Give up control

At the very least, when I see such lists, it suggests we're in for some fun!
 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The End of Work?

Every now and then in my everyday life, I’ve had the sudden feeling that I was being granted a flash of insight into the future. In the late 1960s I had access to the writings of Americans such as Donald Schon and Warren Bennis who were beginning to sketch the flexible organization of the future - the title of Alvin Toffler’s 1971 book caught the spirit of the age to come – “Future Shock”.
Personally I was rather excited by the new organizational possibilities - exemplified in Charles Handy’s 1978 book Gods of Management which contrasted the familiar hierarchic or “Zeus” (club) culture with the Appollonian (role), Athenian (task/matrixh) and Dionysian (existential) ones.
Roger Harrison was a great organizational consultant who actually beat Handy to the idea of organizational cultures but Handy packaged it better. Harrison left us a superb set of “parting thoughts”
I had established a pioneer matrix structure a few years earlier in a very large organization -. Strathclyde Region – and our Member-officer groups broke from the conventions of municipal decision-making in various ways -
· its members (middle-level officials and councillors) were equal in status
· noone was assumed to have a monopoly of truth - by virtue of ideological or professional status
· the officers nominated to the groups were generally not from Headquarters - but from the field
· evidence was invited from staff and the outside world, in many cases from clients themselves
· they represented a political statement that certain issues had been neglected in the past
· the process invited external bodies (eg voluntary organisations) to give evidence
· the reports were written in frank terms : and concerned more with how existing resources were being used than with demands for more money.
· the reports were seen as the start of a process - rather than the end - with monitoring groups established once decisions had been made.
I had another flash of insight when I read an article in the early 1980s from an American economist(Alan Schick?) about the prospects for the privatization of the National Health Service – so much so that I sent the opposition spokesman for Health a warning note……..And it was Charles Handy’s 1984 book “The Future of Work” which convinced me that the familiar contours of our world were moving under our feet – it was this book which warned us that the notion of life-long jobs was gone for ever and which introduced us to the term “portfolio life”…
There’s a nice little video here of Handy presenting his (more recent) idea of the “second curve” during which he reminds us of the discussions he had in the 1970s about the purpose of the company - and the casual way people such as Milton Friedmann and his acolytes then introduced the idea of senior managers being given “share options” as incentives. Handy regrets the failure of people to challenge what has now become the biggest element of the scandal of the gross inequalities which disfigure our societies…..

A few years after Handy’s Future of Work, I vividly remember the impact on me of Zuboff’s In the Age of the Smart Machine (1988) - which drew on the evidence of the new information technology industries to underline the threat the future held to our notion of a normal working life….(she’s just producing another fascinating book on Surveillance Capitalism)

We have all subsequently taken advantage of the speed, choice and capacity with which we have been richly endowed by the new information facilities - but perhaps been a bit slow to recognize the scale of its consequences. Google's driver-less car and the speed with which companies such as Uber and Airbnb have scaled up brought it all home to us….But people like Frithjof Bergmann and Jeremy Rifkin – the latter with his “the End of Work (1995) were amongst a few at the time who appreciated what Handy was onto……Since then there have been quite a few books with the title “The Future of Work” – Thomas Malone (2004), David Bollier (2011),  Jacob Morgan (2014) to which I should have been paying more attention…..
But, very suddenly it seems, the scale of the impact of IT and robots on jobs previously thought safe from automation has hit people and the prospect of the majority of people living without paid work is now beginning to both excite and frighten….Race against the machine (2011) is perhaps the most famous of the books about this....
The air is thick with talk, for example, of the necessity of a Basic Income; and of the writings of both Keynes and Marx on this subject…..

It’s a book which has attracted a lot of attention and I shall give some excerpts and comments in future posts….

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

the concerned citizen is very badly served

You would think that, after the last decade of the global crisis, it would not be difficult to find a few impartial books clearly written by those familiar with the huge literature and which help the concerned citizen understand how exactly the crash happened; and whether any measures could realistically rekindle hope….  
We have thousands of books about the causes of the global economic crisis of 2007/08 which pin blame, variously, on banks, speculators and a score of other explanations - but few have actually been written which satisfy the five preconditions which the previous paragraph specifies - in relation to purpose, audience or knowledge ……Almost all are rather produced to argue an existing (partial) viewpoint; are written for students (to pass exams) or for other academics – rather than for the concerned citizen; and cover only those parts of the literature which the author’s job and/or inclinations require him/her to pay attention to…. (the last therefore excludes, for example, work which comes from the political economy (eg Susan Strange; Mark Blyth); or sociology (Wolfgang Streeck) fields…

I have a simple test for whether a book on the crisis is worth buying - go the Preface/Introduction and check how many of the key points are covered (award one point for each)–
- Does it say why yet another book is needed to add to the huge pile we already have?
- Does it argue that the book has something distinctive to say?
- is anything said about the audience the author is aiming at?
- Does it hint that there are different schools of thinking about the issue?
- No book can be comprehensive – does the author list what subjects (s)he has excluded?
- Is there an annotated further reading list in an annex?

I can’t say I was greatly helped when I googled phrases such as “best sellers in the global crisis” - I got a list of 100 books – but nothing to help me make a selection. I did, however, find this annotated list of 12 from someone who was writing his own book and recounted how difficult it was to get past the book buyers of the major companies, And there was a rare annotated list of 25 “must read” (mostly American) books on the crisis on an interesting website Planning beyond Capitalism - but its selection was understandably a bit light on books from other ideological stables…

I’m currently sifting all the references I’ve made in my thousand plus blogposts about the issue – to see if I can come up with a commentary which might help others in my position…The names which figure are the following (in no particular order) – Michael Lewis, Michael Hudson, Martin Wolff, David Korten, Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Mason, Will Hutton, Paul Hirst, Andrew Gamble, Herman Daly, Susan George, Mark Blyth, Wolfgang Streeck, David Harvey, Michel Albert, Colin Crouch, David Marquand…

If asked to make a single recommendation, I would plump fairly confidently for Mark Blyth’s Austerity – the history of a dangerous idea But I’m sure there is another book out there which I could recommend to the concerned citizen?  

At least, people are now prepared to call the system by its name – “capitalism” – before the crisis, this was a word which rarely passed people’s lips. Now the talk everywhere is not only of capitalism but “post-capitalism”…….And an encouraging American initiative The Next System had an initial report – The Next System Report – political possibilities for the 21st Century (2015) which contains extensive references to writing I had not so far encountered and to good community practice in various parts of the world.  It has since followed up with a series of worthwhile papers.

Update; there's a useful bibliography here - if a bit outdates and American

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bucharest's English bookshop closes its doors - hopefully temporarily

Tens of thousands of demonstrators on the Bucharest street are still hoping to shame the new Romanian government into wholesale resignation and it therefore hardly seems an appropriate time to devote a post to the closing of an independent bookshop - but the Anthony Frost English Bookshop in central Bucharest is no ordinary bookshop. It has been called “one of Central Europe’s best” – has been delighting bibliophiles for almost a decade and belongs to a very small number of places to which I have dedicated the phrase “oases of civilisation” or sanctuaries of originality
They are generally galleries or bookshops whose owners have a real art of creating an atmosphere in which people can quietly explore - whether by flicking, viewing or chatting.

All is hopefully not lost, however. The catalyst to the decision seems to have been the rent – the Orthodox church which own the premises clearly doesn’t understand the spiritual value of culture – or, more precisely perhaps, all too well understands the threat of foreign ideas…..
So Vlad will be exploring other locations and premises and I, rashly, promised to send him some ideas for broadening the shop’s appeal. I well understand that the focus on English-language books rather limits its clientele…..presumably it is only the passing foreign journalist who will drop in - not your typical (British/Commonwealth) tourist! 

Oscar Wilde, of course, got it right when he said - "I always pass on good advice.....it's the only thing to do with it…!!" In that vein, let me repeat what I have written to Vlad - 
There was apparently quite an emotional reaction to the news of the closing - confirming just how much we value the “experience” we are offered when we enter….the friendship, the range of books on offer, the music, the conversation, coffee…..Only in private art galleries in Sofia do I have this “elevated” experience ….
People only notice such things when they are gone…..Now that your customers have realized their loss, they have the chance to do something to bring it back….so let’s ask what THEY can do.
Your customers deserve a note thanking them for their custom – with an indication that you are hoping to open up elsewhere and an invitation to help shape a strategy….Perhaps Survey Monkey could be used to design a simple questionnaire?  
Perhaps key academics in the various cities in the country might be visited who are in a position to recommend key English texts – whether in language or management courses – for their students to buy from you?And reading circles are another good way in which those wishing to improve their English could help you boost the sales of selected books…..Britain these days needs all the friends it can muster – perhaps the British Embassy can be persuaded to get involved in a new strategy (clearly you would have to prepare very carefully for such an approach)  
This blogger mentions his feelings – touching on some public events in your bookshop which I hadn’t been aware of – so obviously data bases and social media are important. I had always wanted to come to an event – even contribute…….I realize that any display of paintings takes wall space you otherwise need for book shelves – and well appreciate that you’re in a zero-sum situation here….But linking up with some vineyards could be another way of attracting custom. There are not so many wine shops in central Bucharest….(I speak as an expert!).
Our Irish friends have a nice saying for such an occasion - "May the wind be at your back"!!

One of the books which I pulled from my shelves as I was scribbling this was a little book which bore the Frost English bookshop sticker - it was "Stop what you're doing a Read This!" - a manifesto from 2011 from a dozen writers about the importance of "gateways to reading" physical books - such as libraries and bookshops. However difficult in these populist times, this is the argument we need conducted........

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Brexit Update

I have been busy this past week or so trying to edit my writing of the past 15 years about “the global crisis” into a better shape  - it now carries the title "Dispatches to the post-capitalist generation" and can be accessed here in its current, still unfinished, version.

I realised recently that one of the draft's distinctive features was its analysis of various books - which needed a typology to help the millions confused by all the writing make more confident selections about their reading.....
A few years ago I offered this simple classification but I knew that I needed a more sophisticated one - such as that of grid-group (or cultural) theory.  This places the literature into one of four quadrants – hierarchic, egalitarian, individualist and fatalist.
But, so far, the best diagram I know is this one from the P2P Foundation. Of course, half of the names are unknown to me but I will now try to use the same structure and add such key names as David Korten, Ronald Douthwaite and David Harvey….

Meannwhile……something very strange is going on in the land that brought us modern liberty – free speech is being muzzled……and those who would question the benefits of Brexit are being labelled “enemies of the people”. 
Such is the tyranny of the majority in post-referendum Britain that a “Remainer” proposal for rational debate and persuasion is considered an insurrection. And anyone questioning government policy on Brexit is routinely described as an “enemy of the People,” whose treachery will provoke “blood in the streets.” 
What explains this sudden paranoia? After all, political opposition is a necessary condition for functioning democracy – and nobody would have been shocked if Euroskeptics continued to oppose Europe after losing the referendum, just as Scottish nationalists have continued campaigning for independence after their ten-point referendum defeat in 2014. And no one seriously expects American opponents of President Donald Trump to stop protesting and unite with his supporters. 
But last June’s referendum subverted British democracy in two insidious ways. First, the Leave vote was inspired mainly by resentments unconnected with Europe. Second, the government has exploited this confusion of issues to claim a mandate to do anything it wants.
Six months before the referendum, the EU did not even appear among the ten most important issues facing Britain as mentioned by potential voters. Immigration did rank at the top, but anti-immigration sentiment was mainly against multicultural immigration, which had little or nothing to do with the EU.
 The Leave campaign’s strategy was therefore to open a Pandora’s box of resentments over regional imbalances, economic inequality, social values, and cultural change. The Remain campaign completely failed to respond to this, because it concentrated on the question that was literally on the ballot, and addressed the costs and benefits of EU membership. 
The fact that the referendum was such an amorphous but all-encompassing protest vote explains its second politically corrosive effect. Because the Leave campaign successfully combined a multitude of different grievances, the Prime Minister now claims the referendum as an open-ended mandate.
Instead of arguing for controversial Conservative policies – including corporate tax cuts, deregulation, unpopular infrastructure projects, and social security reforms – on their merits, May now portrays such policies as necessary conditions for a “successful Brexit.”
Anyone who disagrees is dismissed as an elitist “Remoaner” showing contempt for ordinary voters. Making matters worse, the obvious risks of Brexit have created a siege mentality.
“Successful Brexit” has become a matter of national survival, turning even the mildest proposals to limit the government’s negotiating options – for example, parliamentary votes to guarantee rights for EU citizens already living in Britain – into acts of sabotage.
As in wartime, every criticism shades into treason. That is why the main opposition Labour Party has collaborated in defeating all parliamentary efforts to moderate May’s hardline Brexit plans, even on such relatively uncontentious issues as visa-free travel, pharmaceutical testing, or science funding.
 Likewise, more ambitious demands from Britain’s smaller opposition parties for a second referendum on the final exit deal have gained no traction, even among committed pro-Europeans, who are intimidated by the witch-hunting atmosphere against unrepentant Remainers.Sir Ivan Rogers, who was forced to resign last month as the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU because he questioned May’s negotiating approach, predicted this week a “gory, bitter, and twisted” breakup between Britain and Europe. But this scenario is not inevitable.
A more constructive possibility should be to restart a rational debate about Britain’s relationship with Europe and to convince the public that this debate is democratically legitimate.This means challenging the idea that a referendum permanently outweighs all other mechanisms of democratic politics and persuading voters that a referendum mandate refers to a specific question in specific conditions, at a specific time. If the conditions change or the referendum question acquires a different meaning, voters should be allowed to change their minds. 
The process of restoring a proper understanding of democracy could start within the next few weeks. The catalyst would be amendments to the Brexit legislation now passing through Parliament. The goal would be to prevent any new relationship between Britain and the EU from taking effect unless approved by a parliamentary vote that allowed for the possibility of continuing EU membership. Such an amendment would make the status quo the default option if the government failed to satisfy Parliament with the new arrangements negotiated over the next two years. It would avert the Hobson’s choice the government now proposes: either accept whatever deal we offer, or crash out of the EU with no agreed relationship at all.
 Allowing Parliament to decide about the new relationship with Europe, instead of leaving it entirely up to May, would restore the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. More important, it would legitimize a new political debate in Britain about the true costs and benefits of EU membership, possibly leading to a second referendum on the government’s Brexit plans. This is precisely why May vehemently opposes giving Parliament any meaningful voice on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. Presumably, she will block any such requirement from being attached to the Brexit legislation in March. But that may not matter: if a genuine debate about Brexit gets restarted, democracy will prevent her from closing it down.

The painting is an original Angela Minkova I noticed today in Yassen;s gallery - nice touch of Hieronymous Bosch in the top left corner!

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Progressive Dilemma

The eminent British journal The Political Quarterly has given us for 80 years the most elegant and insightful writing on British politics. 
Given the current desperation of the British left, it is understandable that the journal's current issue focuses on “Progressivism” and contains a fascinating account of the nature and course of that bundle of ideas in America and Britain over the past century 
In the US and the UK, progressivism went badly wrong in its politics: Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalist campaign of 1912 divided American reformers fatally, as did Lloyd George’s postwar Coalition in Britain after 1918.Now, even after Brexit, a progressive alliance seems further away than ever. The story of the ‘Progressive Dilemma’ remains one of unrealistic projects, invariably disappointed.

The article Dilemmas and Disappointment; progressive politics 1896-2016 (paywall) is from historian Kenneth Morgan and is well worth reading – not least for the amazing purchase price of 15 euros for internet access to the journal’s entire archives.
A book on “Britain and Transnational Progressivism” also gives a fascinating picture of the progressive  strand and its impact on, for example, the West of Scotland in the late 19th and early 20th century

A couple of months ago I wrote about various political labels – mentioning that my father had, in the 1950s, been a member of a local political group called “progressives” or “moderates” who sat as overtly apolitical councillors …I saw them as “fuddies and duddies” and myself as the van of a newer. more multi-coloured European Left – although I resisted the siren calls of both the 70s/80s “hard left” and Bliar’s New Labour. 
What a pity that EU membership did not seem to lead to any broadening of perspective as a result - the "single market" was very much a Thatcher-driven issue to which the British left generally had an angry reaction; and the positive stance taken by New Labour to the entry of new member states from the east is a stance now regretted by many in the Labour party.....Quite what the intellectual legacy of EU membership will be for the UK is, for me, a moot question... 

The question I have been wrestling with for some considerable time is where should I be putting my political energies? As I have lost my voting rights, this translates into the question of what vision and programme of politics should I be espousing in my writings?

The P2P Foundation is one which has struck chords recently. Every day my mailbox receives at least a couple of interesting posts from them eg https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/yochai-benkler-on-advancing-towards-an-open-social-economy/2017/01/24 which introduced me to the work of this legal scholar of the internet. 
Their posts have also made me aware of the potential of what they call “platform cooperativism” about which I have some reservations - which are well reflected in another of their posts https://lasindias.blog/platform-cooperativism-a-truncated-cooperativism-for-millennials
One of the problems I have is their language – and the feeling that they are unaware of the wider experience of “mutuality” expressed in the work, for example, of Paul Hirst.

So bear with me......I’m hoping to write about this shortly……….

BARGAIN OF THE YEAR - The Political Quarterly online (with the entire archives) can be accessed for as little as 13 pounds a year