Alexandros Pazaitis

Title: Towards a Network Theory of Value: The Cases of Backfeed and Sensorica

Supervisor: Dr. Vasileios Kostakis

Opponent: Ass. Prof. Dr. Indrek Ibrus

Defense: 9 June 2017


Abstract: The current thesis explores the concept of value in the way it is perceived and interpreted in commons-based peer production. The theoretical investigation begins with a historical review on the concept of value in the history of economic thought to identify the interplay between the perception of value and the dominant mode of production. Next, the article explores how changes in techno-economic conditions influence value production and in this view the context of the information economy is analysed. A theoretical framework is synthesised to explore a new theory of value comprising three layers: (a) production of value; (b) record of value; and (c) actualisation of value. The main research inquiry is illuminated through two case studies, namely Backfeed, a blockchain-based protocol that facilitates operations in decentralised productive communities; and Sensorica, a productive network that develops open hardware solutions utilising sensor technologies. The main findings of the cases are discussed in relation to the formulation of a tentative new theory of value. Finally conclusions are drawn and future research hypotheses are indicated.

Keywords: theory of value, network collaboration, commons-based peer production, Backfeed, Sensorica.