Network Union

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= “The network union is the antecedent of the network state: a social network with a blockchain, a leader, and a purpose.” [1]


Balaji Srivanasan:

“Here, we describe an abstraction we call the network union, a social graph organized in a tree-like structure with a leader, a purpose, a crypto-based financial and messaging system, and a daily call-to-action.

The network union integrates concepts from traditional unions, startup corporate structures, Facebook groups, crypto tribes, DAOs, and UK-style shadow cabinets. On one level it's a straightforward integration of the new tools offered by blockchains with the existing functionality of social networks; on the other hand it's a way to go from an influencer posting online to a scaled community with digital bylaws, crowdfunding capability, a track record of collective bargaining on behalf of its members, and a numerically quantifiable level of social capital. It is thus an intermediate form between mere online communities and full-fledged network states.”

” What common purpose are people organizing for at that scale, if not work? The answer is that they are organizing to defend their interests as a sovereign collective, as a network union.

A network union is a global, mobile social network with an integrated blockchain and an explicit backlink structure, capable of collective bargaining with giant corporations and states alike. It is a check on the power of both concentrated capital and political capitols. The integrated blockchain gives the network union access to the social technologies listed above: encrypted messaging, crowdfunding, governance, and the like. And the explicit backlink structure gives the network union a social support base with a clear leader, a concrete purpose, and an internal conflict resolution mechanism.



Balaji Srivanasan:

Social networks are entropic, network unions are directed

"The combination is an enormous level up over existing social networks. The blockchain component provides economic alignment, and the backlink component provides ideological alignment. The leader provides clear direction, and the network union has an actual purpose. Compare this to the aimless dunking and entropic time-wasting on current social networks, and you'll see the difference.

Put another way, if we think about crowdfunding, mass migrations, and social media mobs, these are examples of people collectively voting with their wallet, feet, and voice respectively. Today that’s all disorganized. What a network union does is organize people directly, recruit them peer-to-peer, slot them into a social tree, and coordinate them with messaging apps and economic alignment for collective action.

The collective action of a network union

While network unions may participate in politics if laws permit, they prioritize daily action over occasional elections. Like a traditional union, they employ a series of escalating tactics to negotiate with entities of similar size and scale, like businesses and governments. But unlike a traditional union, their point of view on any given issue can be from the consumer, user, producer, or labor side rather than labor alone, depending on the role of their constituency.

One day the network union may bargain on behalf of the collective for cheaper bulk purchases of a high-volume staple like masks. The next day it could negotiate with a payments platform to reinstate a deplatformed member. And the next day it might find a job for a union member down on her luck. In general, if a corporation demonetizes you, unbanks you, deplatforms you, censors you, or otherwise harms you, a network union has your back. If a state doesn’t respect your group’s interests, a network union has your back too. In addition to defense, a network union also takes positive action. It fields teams for e-sports. It organizes collective projects, like shared wikis and open source projects. And it may crowdfund the startup of a union member in good standing – while taking a cut for the network union itself, using its integrated blockchain for both purposes. It is the job of the network union leader to organize these regular calls-to-action, distributed in the (encrypted, blockchain-mediated) news feed for network union members. The network union is thus a much more purposeful and organized online community than a social network, but it can also be founded and scaled to millions of people from a laptop. It is this kind of structure that will let us move from simply inheriting cities and countries to founding them from scratch, from bowling alone to building together."