P2P as Contested Term
"Peer production" is an excellent example of such a contested term. Here, via his P2P Blog, is an essay by Michel Bauwens on the dialectical nature of peer-to-peer practice as it currently functions within the global economy: "P2P and the Corporation."
In a sense corporations have become thoroughly inter-subjective in their nature. But the ownership structure of corporations does not reflect this social and cooperative nature of contemporary production....
To protect its ultimate aim of making profit corporations are organized on a feudal basis. Corporations are not democracies, but feudal organizations whether in the older bureaucratic format of the industrial era or the management by objectives of the cognitive era. Objectives are produced in a top-down format.
In the current neoliberal and deregulatory phase capitalism has created a hypercompetitive environment based on speed.... It has tremendously increased the pressure on individuals with its elusive search for zero time (no wastage of time). Stress and related illnesses are growing by the day and working hours have increased in the United States. Production and productive behavior has left the factory and office to infiltrate the daily lives of everyone. Learning has to take place 'after hours'. The safe heaven of a fixed salary is increasingly being replaced by precarious and short-term contracts.
A corporation is not based on the common good, unlike P2P processes.
This is why the relationship between peer to peer, which it needed by the system to function effectively, and capitalism, is inherently problematic and rife with tensions....
P2P and Open Source production processes are increasingly making new and better 'products' than their for-profit counterparts.... This is why I argued that the corporation, beholden to its shareholders, is not the cutting edge of social change, but rather a field of tension and contradiction between the cooperative nature of work and its private appropriation, between the demand for cooperative and synergetic working practices and the feudal nature of its power structure.