UN SUSTAINING
THE COMMODITY-MACHINE

COMMONING  PRACTICES IN POSTCAPITALIST  DESIGN

PEER
DESIGNING
OPEN
BLUEPRINTS
MAKER
MACHINES
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To what extent could design be disentangled from capital and prefigure a fair and sustainable basis for production? Are commoning strategies disruptive to late capitalism? How postcapitalist politics concieve a rapid eco-social transition and provide pathways towards a sustainable future?

This thesis surveys the ways design practices can contribute to a postcapitalist transition. I study several contemporary product design projects that develop everyday tools, building systems and fabrication machinery that are emblematic of peer production, open-source and maker movements.

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

[The manuscript will be fully published online in late 2020.]

I

INTRODUCTION
Design in the Age 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
Designs for digital fabrication

B. OPENNESS
Freely circulating design knowledge

V

MAKER MACHINES
Providing
‘everything for everyone’

A. MACHINES
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