A Conceptual Framework for Co-Manufacturing Within the Economic and Social System

A Conceptual Framework for Co-Manufacturing Within the Economic and Social System

Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 43
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7089-9.ch004

Abstract

This chapter proposes three theoretical reflections on three themes of relevant importance for framing and understanding an economy based on principles of exchange, collaboration, and division. In fact, this seems to disagree with the prevailing orientation of the Western capitalist economy, based on concepts of competition, individualism, asset protection, and hypercompetitiveness. The first reflection, therefore, concerns the relationship between crowdworkers and the capitalist system. The second reflection concerns the type of organization that is typical of crowdworkers, based on the concept of community. The third reflection concerns the classification of all those services mutually provided by the members of the shared work spaces and how such services can be effectively classified as non-economic services of general interest, resolving a common misunderstanding regarding the lawfulness of professional exchanges not regulated by monetary transactions.
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Artisans And Crowdworkers In The Capitalistic System

Crowdworkers are Cultural Agents, Social Agents and Economic Agents. They are people who choose and promote a specific lifestyle, based on freedom, self-realization and the predominance of quality of life over money. These people are self-employed and they are reluctant to frame their professional profile in precise patterns. However, as already seen, they propose an idea of entrepreneurship which is strongly linked to the idea of “Making”, and they share and evolve many traits of Artisans and an economic model based on the idea of Sharing and collaborating, instead of the mainstream idea of competing. So, talking about emerging economic trends and models can’t leave out discussing how they interact and relate with the mainstream economic system, which is Capitalism.

Artisans have existed long before capitalism existed and are often attacked by capitalist companies, which on the other hand can also represent interesting job opportunities for the craftsmen themselves. As crowdworkers incorporate many traits of artisans, it is useful to understand the historical reasons for this ambivalent relationship between artisans and capitalist companies and understand how crowdworkers can effectively capitalize on the experience of artisans and propose an alternative model to the capitalist model, but at the same time can collaborate with capitalist companies.

Capitalistic Companies and Capitalistic Systems

Capitalism is an idea that begins in the 17th century, is shaped in the 19th century and then evolves over a period of two hundred years over dozens of Countries all over the World. It’s no surprise that there is no clear and univocal definition of Capitalism and under the same undefined umbrella many different ideas can actually coexist.

This is not the place to depict and compare all the different interpretations of the idea of Capitalism, and it’s easy to find out different perspectives just by looking at mainstream thinkers like Marx, Keynes, Schumpeter or Friedman.

Nevertheless, it’s useful to briefly underline under which conditions, as intended in this work, it’s possible to claim that a Company is a Capitalistic Company, or not.

The capitalistic way to intend a Company, as it evolved in the past century, is based upon division of labor in many small tasks performed by different people and the separation of workers from means of production, which means a separation between the labor force and those who own the means of production.

The Capitalists, who own the “Capital”, invest a huge amount of money to buy means of production, and to set and run a Company with the final goal to produce and sell goods and services in order to get a profit and to increase their Capital.

In a capitalist market economy, these Companies are more or less free to decide on their investments and to compete on the market, as the price at which Companies exchange goods and services is mainly the result of a negotiation between the different needs of the economic agents that take part in the transaction.

From this basic point originate many different models of capitalism, as many other elements can interact, like the role of State in controlling and limiting the degree of competition on markets to address other kinds of social needs and issues.

However, apart from any variation and corrective action, in general every capitalist system is based on some main elements: Capitalists, Capital, Private property of Means of Production, Wage Labor, Free Market, Profit, Capital Accumulation, and the way they interact.

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