Peer Pools

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Max Borders:

"DISCs, therefore, would have peer pools and peer juries.

These mechanisms mean that people can join communities of contributors, but each member of the community is accountable to every other member. That you’re accountable to the other members means you always have incentives to do what’s right so as to keep your membership privileges intact so as to enjoy future potential benefits of the DISC. I am fond of social theorist Marshall McLuhan’s saying “We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us.” Elsewhere I add: “We shape our rules, and then our rules shape us.” This is no truer than in the social support systems we create, which can help us to rediscover a sense of responsibility to others (or lose it).

Peer pools are the internal mechanism of DISCs’ mutual aid support systems. These collect dues on a periodic basis as a condition of membership, although the dues might be as low as pennies a month. People can be members of multiple DISC cooperatives, which means you might be a member of a pool associated with healthcare, and another pool associated with unemployment. In any case, every member contributes based on his or her ability to contribute. I realize this sounds vaguely Marxist, which is fine. I prefer to think of it as a form of distributed social insurance that includes some members who are more likely to be net contributors, and some members who are more likely to be net beneficiaries. (I assume enough high-income people will become members, as we’ll discuss. In this way, pools are neither purely transactional nor purely charitable, but rather a hybrid.)" (