Editor-in-chief Pim Kemasingki sits down with Belgian Michel Bauwens, a world theorist who lives right here in Chiang Mai.
Michel has been talking and writing about as well as working in, technology, culture and business innovation for many years, his insights are at times controversial, but always thoughtful. Bauwens founded the P2P Foundation, a global organisation of researchers working in open collaboration in the exploration of peer-to-peer production, governance, business and property.
Michel is also listed 82nd on the (En)Rich List, which “celebrates a wealth of inspirational individuals. Collectively, the people highlighted […] present a rich tapestry that points to globally prosperous and sustainable futures.”
Unlike the Forbes rich list of billionaires, this lesser-known list spotlights the endeavours of people who look towards the future – thinkers, economists, philosophers, journalists, sociologists, religious leaders – people whose ‘richness’ are not defined by their bank balances, but by what they can offer back to humanity. Belgian Bauwens’s name sits alongside such icons as Mahatma Ghandi, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Dalai Lama, as well as being amongst equally obscure, but no less impactful individuals from a variety of fields.
He has spent the past few years consulting with governments, from Ecuador to the EU to China, building up peer-to-peer networks including hundreds of thousands of members.
“Commons centric society and civilizsation, that is what we need at the moment. Embed the markets and states with the logic of maintenance of the planet.” He goes on to talk about creating a template for the future within our current decaying system and sees the current social collapse as preceding an environmental collapse.”
Michel’s formidable knowledge of history peppers and anchors various references of this fascinating conversation, as he draws anecdotes and parallels from 16th century Japan to 10th century Germany; 13th Century Mongolia to the Roman Empire as key examples to apply and learn from today.
This conversation may oscillate from antiquity to the immediate future, from one continent to the next, from one society to another, but it is frightfully relevant to today’s challenges.