The fourth sector squared the circle

The twenty-first century will be indelibly marked by the digitization and digitization of all societal activities. From the generational point of view, the baby boomer community will transmit the witness to the screen and mobile Internet community in all its technical variants. In this transformation, the cyberhumans of generations Y and Z (born in 1980 onwards) are more creative and transnational, in a disciplinary sense, because they have largely relinquished a sense of ownership and acquisition to adopt concepts or categories of shared and collaborative access and service. They live and work in more simulated societies and environments than in real societies and physical environments. They belong more to the world of servers and users than they belong to the world of sellers and buyers. They are people and individuals who increasingly work in a system of participatory financing and co-working, that is, they are constantly connected and use their creativity to add value through the intangible services they provide through different platforms. Add the preventive and curative aspect of smart societies, as we cannot forget the toxic side of digital networks and the danger of alienation they entail. This lack of a collaborative and solidarity culture must be filled quickly, as it is essential to establish a strong social movement if we are to establish an ethic of the common good in support of grassroots capitalism for small platforms that go beyond mere digital business.

One of the great transformations of twenty-first century society is the transformation that relates to the formation of the fourth sector consisting of four main elements that will be presented in space and time in a differentiated manner. First, a variable engineering workweek (STV) that takes into account telecommuting, digital nomads, four days a week and organizing work time by goals. This changing architecture, responding primarily to the formation of the digital society, opens up many options for other forms and modalities of multiplicity of activities and multiple incomes. Second, the emergence of the Collaborative Commons (BCC) that brings together distributed intelligent communities, platforms and networks in many areas of activity, social, community, technical, scientific and cultural, and in various modalities of co-production, co-management and shared consumption. Third, consider the intermittent factor case (FTE), which responds, specifically, to intermittent interruption, which in principle gives greater safety to the professionals involved and opens the way for many activities with variable, intermittent and irregular incomes as they are many mentioned above. Last, and perhaps most difficult, is the creation of a minimum income, a guaranteed basic income (RBG), associated with certain community work obligations and a new type of service provision, both in the scope of common goods and cooperative projects or projects linked to private fourth sector programmes, in order to introduce active employment policies In this large sector and make it less formal.

Post-industrial capitalism understood this radical upsurge very early on and transformed itself into cultural and creative capitalism, or the so-called cognitive capitalism (Boutang, 2008). In this cognitive capitalism, simulated and virtual environments where there is arguably more lateral than vertical power, are terrains where labor productivity is no longer measured by hierarchies, chains of command, and disciplinary regulations, but by emotional intelligence, shared feelings, and creative contributions to teamwork. In a way, it’s a return to an ethic of community work and peer-to-peer collaborative intelligence. The rule of the commons, well described by Elinor Ostrom (1990), now has a second life. Imagine, for example, the collaborative potential and collective intelligence that inhabits business networks, research and development networks, social innovation networks, environmentally friendly networks, and community service networks, among others.

In this context too, there is talk of the resurgence of the commons (Coriat, 2015), not only of the concrete commons, but above all, of the cognitive commons, culture and social solidarity of riding technologies and collaborative platforms. If we want, it is the emergence of a fourth sector, the sector in which the shared benefits of the information and knowledge society play a decisive role in the interaction between the social and solidarity economy and the knowledge economy. I give some examples where the government of the commons can be ideally represented: combating climate change, managing protected landscape areas, protective forests, village condominiums, communal irrigation, communal irrigation, inland water management, managing soil banks, time and volunteer banks, proximity services to clinics Foreign, Senior Village Administration, etc.

In this interaction and in this return to the commons, the government of rules and the social benefit of respect, a weighting of 4 days a week can be, for example, a breath of fresh air to correct inequality and social progress and, as well as the co-production and co-management of so-called knowledge capitalism and co-operative economy . Indeed, the changing work week and all that revolves around distributed and decentralized networks and rules will greatly facilitate the emergence of countless manufactured community platforms that have an implicit philosophy of the commons and their benign expression with public and private goods. Here are some of the emerging characteristics of these common commons:

– return to the values ​​of collective use and benefit,

– priority of access and service over ownership and possession,

– bear transaction costs in the face of large predatory middlemen,

– Apologies for being short and close.

– freedom of self-organization and self-organization,

– Responsible and shared consumption and the fight against waste,

– Apologies for merit and its role in the socialization of relationships,

– the effectiveness of institutions, networks and rules according to the measure and on a case-by-case basis,

– plasticity and openness in new collaborative business models,

– Participatory finance and the economics of collaborative platforms.

In terms of the common good and the economy of the common good (Tirol, 2018) there is, of course, a long way to go. Suffice it to say that there are still many blind spots between the economics of public goods, private goods and public goods. Moreover, the topic of blind spots will be one of the strongest topics in public debate in the coming years, particularly regarding the nature of the coexistence of the three types of public goods. In this virtuous coexistence enters the formation of the fourth sector, which includes the sector of science and technology, art and culture, but also social solidarity, the fight against inequalities, public health and active aging. It is time to do away with compassion, poverty, public health and old age, but also to boost the economy of social innovation and employment in the name of human dignity and the ethics of the commons.

Final notes

Having arrived here, it is necessary not to confuse two analytical plans. On the other hand, there is undeniable collaborative progress and highly diverse collective intelligence in modified and simulated work environments, in shared spaces of artistic creativity and social innovation, and in intranet areas, as a result of organizing online communities, networks and collaborative platforms.

On the other hand, it is necessary to recognize that these developments still do not translate into substantive improvements of a cooperative nature in the political community in general. First of all, in promoting digital literacy and protecting intermittent employment. Then, we witness the outbreak of hostility in the public space, both in the more traditional corporate world and the more aggressive social networking that can bring with it the tribe of network behavior. Finally, the orderly formation of the fourth sector, the sector of the co-operative commons, in a rapidly aging society, is a true categorical duty, a true cry of warning against the tragedy of the commons, which is why the great priority of this decade is the alignment of the changing working week, and the addition of co-operative common goods , recognizing intermittent worker status and releasing guaranteed basic income, in the name of combating social inequality and poverty, through an ethic of care, respect for utility and the cause of human dignity, where smart communities and proximity management play an essential role.

* Emeritus Professor at the University of the Algarve

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