UN SUSTAINING
THE COMMODITY-MACHINE

COMMONING  PRACTICES IN POSTCAPITALIST  DESIGN

PEER
DESIGNING
OPEN
BLUEPRINTS
MAKER
MACHINES

How to disentangle design from capital? To what extent might commoning practices disrupt the Commodity-Machine? How do we prefigure a resilient and regenerative economy? Is there a postcapitalist blueprint for the rapid and just eco-social transition ahead?

This thesis surveys the ways in which design practices can contribute to a postcapitalist transition. I study several contemporary product design projects that develop everyday tools, building systems, and fabrication machinery. Together, they encapsulate peer production, open-sourcing, and the maker movement.

These trends constitute a coherent methodology of commoning, which manifests itself in three ways: shared creation (designing in common), shared governance (managing designs in common), and shared access (holding the means of production in common). I describe how this shared valorisation of labour, knowledge, and artefacts radically alters the political economy of design practices.

[The manuscript will be fully published online in 2021.]

I

INTRODUCTION
Design of the Anthropocene

II

THE COMMODITY-MACHINE
Sustaining
the unsustainable

A. LATE CAPITALISM
Introducing the political economy of design

B. POSTCAPITALISM
Peaking carbon, growth and capital

III

PEER DESIGNING
Becoming
‘designer-commoners’

A. DESIGNERS
Shared valorisation of design labour

B. PEERS
Redesigning P2P production

IV

OPEN BLUEPRINTS
Instituting the
‘Wikipedia of things’

A. BLUEPRINTS
Infinite reproduction for digital fabrication

B. OPENNESS
Freely circulating design knowledge

V

MAKER MACHINES
Providing
‘everything for everyone’

A. MACHINES
The self-production of the means of production

B. MAKERS
Crafting the tools of liberation

VI

CONCLUSION
Designing Postcapitalism,
a Proof of Concept


Selçuk Balamir • selj@selj.net

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