Peer Production Promotes Good Virtues

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From Humanitarian-FOSS Project Development Site

The rise in peer production inspires virtue and promotes positive energy throughout the world. Peer production involves the collaboration of many people, unknown to one another, to make advances in technology and other areas. On an amazing level, people are sharing ideas and skills, often for the sheer joy of helping others or humanity. Benkler and Nissenbaum "have argued that participation in commons-based peer production fosters important moral and political virtues."[1] They argue that involvement in peer productions lead to, and are also lead by, increases in virtues such as:

  • autonomy
  • independence
  • creativity
  • productivity
  • benevolence
  • charity
  • generosity
  • altruism
  • cooperations
  • friendship
  • civic virtue
  • sociability
  • camaraderie

The act of seeking to help others produce something great is selfless. Imagine if suddenly everyone contributing to a project met. There could be people with horrible biases towards others of a certain country, political affiliation, even race or sexual orientation--but chance are they are working with them for the good of mankind, and don't even know it. What happens if an extreme Republican meets an extreme Democrat--but they have been working together for years on the same project? Or someone in Iraq is working with a pro-war government official on another project? Would it help foster a sense of community of the whole world? The answer seems obvious. Could it prevent wars? Probably not, but it might help lessen the anger. Peer production implies that at some level, the entire world is working together for the good of humanity. At the same time, bombs keep dropping, bullets keep shooting, and fires spread. If people knew who they were working with on these vast projects, would they stop because of bias, or continue working toward good of humanity--in more than one way?

Peer production has the potential to promote such positive virtues and help build a more virtuous community around the world.

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