Talk:Peer Trust Network Project

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Each contributor should "tag" their response by name in bold before and a signature after so this page isn't one huge flowing text.

Patrick: The Non-rival aspects of any good must always be hosted by the Physical Sources of space/time, mass/energy. There is no exception to this rule.

Creation: A keyboard; a camera; paint and canvas
Storage: Paper and printer; a CD or Hard Drive; eggs, seeds, spores
Transmission: A telephone line; a satellite system; air, wind, water
Expression: A TV; a complete computer, soil

This list concentrates on the required mass, but implicitly includes the space (land), exclusion across time, and the energy required.

Use of anything is always limited, and always has some cost because of the finite nature of the goods required to 'host' the nonrival aspect. There is no exception to this rule.

My approach is to simply require all design and lifeforms types be put under the GNU General Public License - which I think will not conflict with your ideas of a service model.

Stan: It may be simple to say "require all design be put under the GNU GPL," but how does one actually do that? I don't think it can reasonably be done; not everything will be under it, just the majority, and eventually, that will be effectively everything. At that point the concept of sharing for mutual benefit may be as obviously moral as not murdering someone is today (to most, at least!). I have a small gripe with your use of "require" here, because I like to focus on the voluntary principle of it all. To be feasible, people must add to the GPL "pool" voluntarily, and for them to add to it voluntarily, it must be of obvious benefit them. I think the components of my system meet these requirements. --S Rhodes 00:16, 30 January 2008 (PST)

Patrick: I'm worried the banktrust will grow into an uncontrollable 'State'. What will we do to avoid that? Ownut

Stan: "Banktrust" is a name for the design--the purpose--of the node, like "bank," or "fire department." The trusts (such as a banktrust) exist at a local level, run by local people, locally visible, and locally accountable. I am not sure how many members each would have, perhaps around 10,000. I'm taking this number from the villageforum group; I'm not sure how they arrived at it. These form a network, much like VISA was created from a network of banks. The overall network would basically be a democratic republic of these banktrusts, but with little governance of any sort at that level; committees would be assembled and dissolved as needed. Using the banks as nodes is beneficial because it decentralizes power, removes the inefficiencies of hierarchy by keeping local accountability, and ensures quite a bit of resiliency should natural disaster strike some part of the network. As for bank governance, they must follow the basic principles established as a framework. I've attempted to outline a start of those principles, and a code of conduct, as a sort of opt-in constitution honored by the banks. There is undoubtedly a ton of work to do here, but mechanism design theory is of great help in finding the optimal methods for agreement at this point in time (range voting versus instant run-off, for example). We have much of the knowledge we need to make far better systems, we're just not using them in our communities, corporations, and governments yet. --S Rhodes 00:16, 30 January 2008 (PST)

Stan: All rival goods (property such as land, material resources, water, air, spectrum) are in a resource trust model. This model is bootstrapped into being voluntarily by the public because of demand for the benefits of the components and network; it comes into being with the full consent and effort of those who agree with its merits. --S Rhodes

Stan: Peers share control of the monetary transaction system through a network of trusts. --S Rhodes

Patrick: This sounds interesting, and I hope it is correct as struggle to understand how to fully implement the currency I call GNUrho.

Stan: The banktrusts are essentially local, accountable credit unions that only handle accounts: essentially, tracking and transferring credits. They can also be seen as nonprofit paypals that you can actually trust to do a good job. I think of currency, in my proposed system, as "credits." I think it's actually a good term, so I may use it from now on. Future money in science fiction is always credits anyway, right? I must admit I hadn't seen the concept of GNUrho before now. I do not understand how it would work in a practical sense, so I'm going to put the burden on my own view of money, which I think has the "spirit" of the GNUrho even though we might call it "stupid," or maybe "dumb" like a dumb-fire rocket.

Fundamentally, "money" is no more than a representation of value for the sake of exchange. I do not see money as a problem, so I don't see any need for a solution; I see the current system as the problem. In particular, inequity. The problem of monetary inequity seemed threefold: first, wealth needed to be redistributed regularly; second, wealth needed to be redistributed in a way that was "fair;" third, wealth needed to grow through effort. The missing piece is now the forth concept: use of material (rival) goods must have a proportional cost. This is accomplished through making all exchange occur within a service economy that charges for use of resources, and then evenly distributes that wealth to all members. With those mechanics in place, money becomes an expression of value. The customer and service-provider attempt to reach an optimal exchange. Money beyond the "optimal price" is an investment, and that investment is actually the person or group of people receiving the money. From the customer's perspective, that investment is likely toward something the service-provider does, or will do, or is considering doing. However, no additional regulations are needed. The market is actually a free market, but with key differences in selective pressure: wealth is redistributed; use of material goods reduces wealth. Wealth and property dominance are decentralized.

Money "working" is a happy side effect of these other changes. Originally, I thought maybe I could incorporate the concept of local currencies, but given what I see as their poor track record, I considered money too hard a problem to solve. Local currencies didn't sit right with me for additional reasons too, because they seemed to impose control where people wanted liquidity and freedom. After concentrating on other problems, the money problem disappeared; so, in retrospect I think it wasn't a problem to begin with, and no solution was needed.

To go back to the GNUrho, does my claim that money works implicitly in the spirit of the GNUrho--but can remain simple and stupid--seem valid? I'm afraid I may be misrepresenting the facets of the GNUrho. --S Rhodes 00:16, 30 January 2008 (PST)

Stan: Peers control their own private information, and release only that which is needed as a credential.--S Rhodes

Patrick: Could you tell me more specifically what you mean here?Ownut

Stan: I think this is close to the "Identity 2.0" concept, however that seems to include references to "single signon." I think in a proper system, single signon is irrelevant. I control my credentials, which are basically sets of metadata about me created from what we might think of as my master profile. I only release the credential needed for a particular transaction or interaction. Perhaps I get onto a subway and students of Future State University ride free. They do not need to know precisely who I am, they only need to know I am a student of FSU. Or, perhaps I go to a bar and the bartender has a device that displays to him who is volunteering the credential of being 21+. He doesn't need to know precisely how old I am, or who I am, just that I'm old enough to serve. In another instance, I may want to give a person I just met the next day's schedule, so that we might meet for a drink. As a final example, I may need to transfer a large sum of credits to someone, so our identities would both need to be confirmed with "deeper" credentials. I think the credential system should be seen and operated separate from the banktrust system because the credential system is identity, and can be used in many situations other than value transfer. --S Rhodes 00:16, 30 January 2008 (PST)

Stan: All information released to the public is free to use, and remains free to use. --S Rhodes

Patrick: This is important, though I want to stress that the Public domain (if that is what you mean by 'public') does not give the protection we need; the GNU GPL (which also has 'Public' in it's name) insures all work built upon that information will also be free (cannot become proprietary). Ownut

Stan: First, there are works that are public domain, and will never conceivably be GPL. Second, all future information, when released in the system, is GPL to ensure what you say above. --S Rhodes 00:16, 30 January 2008 (PST)

Patrick: Actually, copies of public domain work can be captured by the GUN GPL, or (sadly) can be captured by those who would build upon it and lock the chages closed (proprietary). Ownut

Stan: Derivatives can be made from a public domain work, and be closed, but I don't think that's of such a huge concern. Even with good intentions, we can't expect to trick or force anyone to release their works until they're ready and see a reason to. The situation is much like the parable of the sun and the wind; the harder the force, the tighter the clinging, even if it seems irrational. As more and more works are GPL-ized, there's a threshold, past where it won't make sense to keep anything closed; a point of open, or be left far behind, holding something that's no longer worth much. To offer compensation, whether well deserved or not, I think a "pot" system can work well. I'll attempt to detail this more later, but in any digital media you can track well-known or used media like Amazon does with books it does not actually own. If these are accumulating a pot of credits, there is a further incentive to release the works. To claim the pot, you have to release the work under the appropriate GPL-ish license. --S Rhodes 19:32, 30 January 2008 (PST)

Stan: Creators of works in science and useful arts are fairly compensated for the service they provide. --S Rhodes

Patrick: I have some ideas about how to do this with 'promisory' system that helps consumers commit to paying creators before the work is accomplished. Ownut

Stan: I need to detail this far more, but there already exist many models of compensation. Grants, pledges, auctions, milestone-based-funding, donations, and so on. Everything that's needed already exists in some form or another. There are new models to be created, and new ways to tweak the old models, for sure. That's a place for the users and creators to innovate. I've brainstormed many ways to do this, and I need to clean up those notes and publish them as examples. However, just by looking at sites like Amazon, imdb, Innocentive, and products like Steam, we can see the potential. The key is making a base of easy, reliable, and honorable value exchange (banktrust network), then building communication/community layers on top of it. What if you could make a Facebook + Amazon that used Paypal almost seamlessly? The recent announcement of Steamworks by Valve is an example of where companies are trying to evolve. We need to beat them to the punch, across all media and information types. --S Rhodes 19:32, 30 January 2008 (PST)

Stan: All material resources are recognized as scarce, and wasteful use is higher cost. --S Rhodes

Patrick: Hopefully this will be a result of the policy we discover. Ownut

Stan: Wealth is redistributed through charging for use of material resources; those who waste most pay most. --S Rhodes

Patrick: I think what you are saying aligns with my notion that all cooperation has costs (freedom isn't free).

For instance, sharing a rototiller would require the current user pay the collective others for the extra wear he is inflicting upon the machine and for the fact that his use during that time neccessarily excludes others from simultaneously using it.

If two people want to use the rototiller at the same time, they can bid against each other until the one willing to pay the most is found. This payment of Price above cost would then be understood to be that user's investment toward yet another tiller - as he has proven that the current number of tillers for the community cannot meet peak demand. The new tiller would be a divisible resource under full control *only* of the collective owners of *that* tiller. If a user own 100% of the tiller's 'stock', he has the option of holding the machine 'personal' (not using the word 'private' here because of the misuse by those who 'privatize' natural resources such as water)... (there are some things missing here about what happens when he starts sharing or renting that machine, but I'm running out of time for now.) Ownut

Stan: This is an interesting approach, but it also seems complex enough to be incredibly hard to implement. My perspective is that the "bookkeeping" needs to be no more complex than it is now (granted, can be pretty nuts now), both for usability and to decrease gaming of the system. The more complex the system, the more loopholes are likely, and the easier cheaters can hide. I wrestled a lot with the problem of ownership, and I decided to flip the problem on its head: what is good about ownership? Can those aspects be blended with a notion of communal living? Can we take the strengths of individual control and accountability and blend them with the strengths of sharing and the reality of shared, limited resources? I think so.

Again, let me put the burden on my approach to the "problem" of shared resources. I'm suggesting that all resources have a constant "use" or "rent" fee. A person is, essentially, renting the resource from the public, represented by the propertytrust network. Since the economy can be seen as entirely a service economy, when you "buy" resources you're actually paying for the transfer of them to your "guardianship." It can be thought of as "owning," too; it's a matter of perspective. I would classify the old guard property system as ownership of property, and this system as guardianship of property. The shift is one of responsibility and accountability. Rather than "I own it, I can do what I want," the perspective is "I am responsible for this, I'm accountable for what I do."

Land is already assessed, as is other types of property for insurance reasons. It's reasonable to assume that a network of propertytrusts could assess using other criteria, such as sustainability. So the rent/use cost of land becomes almost the reverse of the current situation in the United States: the closer to wilderness the land is, the lower the rent. For other more mobile resources, air and water trusts, for example, would manage assessment and fees. We already have many of the tools needed for this, methods to measure pollution of soil, water, and air, and measure their use. Quick, important nod: the concepts of air (sky) and other resource trusts were proposed by Peter Barnes in Capitalism 3.0, and probably elsewhere as well.

For smaller pieces of property, such as a rototiller, I think only fees based on air pollution, for example, would be needed at first, and would be included in the use fee. Items that emit emissions could be tagged, as vehicles are today. The owner/guardian could share the rototiller, or they could sell it ("transferring guardianship" for a price), just as they do today. The use costs are always tied to the resources.

Overall possessions could be assessed on some time frame (annually?), and a tax could be paid. We're used to paying taxes, although it's disliked, but if it was equitable the public would probably not find them so distasteful. Obviously, little stuff would slip through the cracks, and the system could be exploited to some extent. However, since tax-dodging is hiding wealth from everyone, it would be more taboo, and the public would probably be more watchful. Taking it from "the man" is one thing, but not paying me what I'm owed for your use of resources is quite another. Also, propertytrusts may want to include items made out of rare materials, or small items that have a big environmental impact. There may be other models propertytrusts could use for valuating and collecting use fees.

This will all need to scale. From big when the system first starts, gradually down to smaller stuff. Use fees will need to raise gradually over time to select for more efficient use of resources. However, just increasing air, water, and land fees over time would have an incredibly beneficial effect; those are the "big ones," where inefficiency usually means pollution and destruction. The propertytrust network doesn't have to account for everything to be effective; something that's feasible that targets an ideal is preferred over something that has to start as an ideal realized, and can never start. I think my system proposal creates selective pressure toward the ideal, but can be started within the reality of today. --S Rhodes 00:58, 31 January 2008 (PST)

Stan: Wealth feedback loop ensures continual push toward base equity; additional wealth determined by effort and lifestyle of individual. --S Rhodes

Patrick: I wonder what you mean here. Ownut

Stan: The more use, the higher the use cost paid to the propertytrust; all members are trustees. This fee is then equally distributed among all members. A person that guardians/owns a lot of land or possessions pays a lot. Maintaining that sort of lifestyle is very expensive, and it "pays" those who live lower impact; the wasteful person is actually using resources at everyone's expense, and the system models that mechanic. If the person can continually earn enough to live expensively, they can do it. However, I don't think this "work hard, play hard" potential is a problem. The biggest wasters are not people who had to work hard to earn their wealth, but quite the opposite: people who have little work ethic or understanding of value at all. They are, essentially, the cheaters of society, and in a system that selects against waste and redistributes wealth, they're quite literally at a loss.

I say live "expensively" rather than "well," because I think it's pretty clear in this day and age that one can live quite well without being incredibly wasteful. As technology advances, this will become even more obvious to others. We don't need to "rough it" to live in a responsible, ecologically sound way. I would speculate, as I'm sure most who are familiar with the power of open source and innovation would too, that innovation and advancement will accelerate proportional to the amount of equity and openness in the world. Quality of life will get better for everyone, from the "bottom" up. --S Rhodes 00:58, 31 January 2008 (PST)

Stan: Overall system is democratic, through direct participation, transparency, and shared accountability. --S Rhodes

Patrick: This sounds like a good goal, and should be a 'result' of policy, right? (I'm trying to differentiate between what we can meaningfully write into a contract, and what we hope to achieve as a result of those written constraints.) Ownut

Stan: The principles of organization and the code of conduct are the start. I don't like to think of them as constraints, but as opt-in responsibilities. Constraints are made to be broken, principles are meant to be acted on. This may seem like some semantic shell-game, but I think there are important perceptions at play. Humans love gaming systems. Humans also treat concepts of entitlement and rights differently than senses of responsibility and shared principles. I think the Framers of the Constitution might have phrased the Bill of Rights and the Constitution quite differently had they known what psychologists know now about cognition, language, and behavior. I hope that, by creating a framework of principles and basic moral conduct, we can avoid initial rules-mongering. The code of conduct is for the people to opt-into, the principles are for the organizations (their structures) to opt-into. Variation beyond those is fine, and expected. This really gets into notions of peer governance, deliberative democracy, ad hoc assembly, etc. I don't think the two of us can solve this, nor should we, but I think we can build a base that is enough of a starting point to get nodes going, and conversations started. The next Constitution will likely be a peer-deliberated one. I hope this does not seem like a cop-out, but I think trying to make up rules beyond basic principles is actually self-defeating. We can never come up with a ruleset that cannot be broken, but we don't need to. This is a huge ball of wax, but I'll leave it at this for now. --S Rhodes 00:58, 31 January 2008 (PST)

Stan: All released information must be available to all. Distribution of information must not be restricted; information must not be treated as a rival good. The system must enable and favor full and free distribution of information. --S Rhodes

Patrick: You say must be available to all, but earlier you said we couldn't require the use of the GNU GPL.

I agree there shouldn't be coercion, and we should use the voluntary principle as you say, but then what do you mean by must? Ownut

Stan: I should have been more precise. All information released in the culturetrust network must be available to all. I'm grouping in information (scientific lit, for example) as part of the culturetrust. --S Rhodes 00:42, 1 February 2008 (PST)

Stan: Creation of information must be treated as a service. The system must enable compensation for creation.

Patrick: Could you tell me more specifically what you mean here? What if I created some 'art' as a computer program that nobody appreciated but me? Would the faceless 'trust' be required to pay me? Ownut

Stan: No, the trust is not faceless, and does not truly pay anyone. If you created something that no one considered valuable, and released it into the system, you'd get nothing. I use the phrase "enable compensation" because the system must enable users to compensate creators as easily as possible. There are a number of models that can be used (grants, pledges, auctions, donations, and on). I also think that physical goods are an important part, particularly for music, and particularly early on while we continue to transition the public from inefficient storage, like CDs, to more efficient storage like flash. Musicians could have their works available on merchandise such as vinyl and CDs. Over time the selective pressures against consumption, and the increasingly common use of digital media, would reduce the number of these goods sold. Radiohead recently commented that some large percentage of their fans still want to buy physical goods. We can't dismiss that, but we can use it to compensate the creators and shift more users into digital distribution. However, right now many people still buy physical goods, and there's no reason that the musicians can't have a pool of pledges that, upon reaching the right number, will lead to the creation of some merchandise (vinyl, for instance). They could then sign them for those fans. They could also use the culturaltrust to track interest in shows, plan shows, and interact with fans. Pools can easily be done with desire for a concert, and there's a site out there that already does this, I believe.

A culturetrust network facilitates sharing, funding, and creating cultural works. While it does not pay anyone, it should be able to put funds into escrow for certain types of funding models (pledges and grants, for instance). It also keeps the incentive pots for works not released into the system; however, the contents of those pots comes from the members. It's essentially a free market.

There are a lot of neat tricks that can be used in these sorts of systems. This is just an example, however flawed. The limits are the members' imaginations. One example is using a "weighted" rating method where people rate how valuable they find a work with funds. For example, let's say we have something akin to imdb, and that movies are also listed via a cultural profile (this would be tied into the credentialtrust network and banktrust network). We could create a rating system from 1.00 to 10.00, where each 1 point was a credit. If you thought the movie was really good, you might rate it a 9, which you would "back" with 9 credits, identifying you as a fan of the movie, compensating the creator of the movie, and providing valuable information to others. Of course, we might not want to pay anything at all and vote a 9 anyway, which would still be a 9, but carry much less "weight" in the eyes of others. In short, we're adding reputation and value to social information as both a source of identity for the person and a way for others to filter information. In all cases, contributing is a positive gesture. Creators would quickly learn to connect with their support. They might hold special events for pools of contributors.

Social groups, too, would likely select their social-group members based on reputation and contribution. Gaming clans already do this. Membership is usually based on rapport and contribution. Servers have reserved slots for contributing members. These are all social mechanisms for people to more easily reduce cheating, leeching, and exploitation, and group in beneficial ways.

The concept of "share ratio" used in bitTorrent can be applied in many places. User communities can create opt-in policies that track use and contribution, providing an easy way to identify leechers. Usual social rules take care of the rest (if you don't contribute, chances are you're going to be kicked out). At no point are works being denied; communities are creating standards and providing services (such as a gaming community or server, a music community, a film club, and so on).

I have ideas for each type of entertainment media, but essentially, the culturaltrust is an enabling layer that we don't currently have. Users compensate creators as directly as possible, so maximum value goes to those that create value. The layer also keeps the long tail healthy through extensive metadata waiting to be mined (like recommendeds on amazon without the annoyance). --S Rhodes 23:58, 1 February 2008 (PST)

Stan: Membership is the irrevocable right of participation acquired through application for, and acceptance of, membership. --S Rhodes

Stan: To clarify, this is a principle of organization for trusts and the trust networks. I think it would come to be adopted by nearly all organizations, but it will take the current hierarchical and industrial corporation model a while to die. Maybe it wouldn't take as long as I think, but the culture has to adapt to a new notion of "employment" and participation, too. I'm afraid I just threw the principles out there without specifying their context, and I'm a bit ashamed of that. Sorry for the confusion. --S Rhodes 00:42, 1 February 2008 (PST)

Patrick: We need to differentiate between Instances of Physical Sources. I will explain through an example based on my dreams of how this might come about:

Imagine you and I buy (or even rent at first) a little land and a building to open a restaurant that will operate under this new ruleset.

(I've tried many times to write the follwing, but it always comes out so clumsy. Please push against this and help me understand what is not clear.)

When a customer buys a meal and willingly pays Profit (Price above cost), he is making an investment which will become (after that investment 'vests', though I'm not sure how to determine when 'vesting' should happen) - it then becomes an "irrevocable right of participation", but not neccessarily in that exact restaurant.

Trying to be more clear: The profit being treated as an investment from the consumer who paid it will be spent by the current owners to payoff the debt they are under for the *current* restaurant, or it will be spent toward *more* Physical Sources if those owners are not offering any control over *that* restaurant up for sale. In the case of external investment, those funds would target *another* restaurant - hopefully closer to where that user lives, while the current owners will have choosen to shoulder the burden of debt for themselves for *that* restaurant with respect to that consumer.

This attempts to maximize divisiblity while the contract itself would somehow tie each of these autonomous Physical Sources together through the GNUrho currency.... Ownut

Stan: In my view, the price above cost--the profit--is investment in the person or group. I think this makes perfect sense, because in a service economy the customer is investing in the service provider, who then must consider how to use that investment (whether equipment or a vacation, etc). It seems to me like the problem has been identified (divisibility), but it can't be remedied at this level. Again, I must admit that I gave up on the notion of control at this level because it just seemed too hard. I've read other people's thought experiments and essays too, whether about controlling money, investment, or property; they had thought about it more than I had, and ended up even more frustrated. I sense that frustration here, but I think my proposal actually carries the spirit of your concepts, it just applies them at a different level. Pardon me for using "spirit," I hope it makes sense.

With the proper socioeconomic mechanics in place that provide redistribution of wealth and proportional use cost, I think a business such as this will be fine. The less wasteful they are, the less "usetax" they pay. As an aside, I need to find a better, less hated word than "tax!" They are far better off than they would be in today's system because they can control their use costs, so it comes down to their efforts. With supplemental income, if they fail, they can regroup and try something else. At no point do they have to worry about survival, they always know that they can survive by living frugally. Instead they can focus on doing something that is useful and that they enjoy, and being as productive in that way as they have the energy for.

I think tying physical sources to a cost for their use, and then dividing that use fee equally among the members, takes care of divisibility pretty simply, and without extra regulations. Customers vote with their credits, but that is not as horrible as it is today, because the market selects for diversity, efficiency, and ultimately, benefit. The difference is night and day. No one laughs at this metaphor but me, but capitalism right now is like balancing an ice cube on a lit blowtorch. It applies selective pressure toward that which utterly destroys the ideal or balance it's supposed to be striving toward. By flipping the scarcity problems of rival and nonrival goods, suddenly the selective pressure is toward equity and divisibility. The problem becomes evolving the socioeconomic situation into that model, but that's where the components I'm suggesting fit in.

Back to investments, quickly. When it comes to funding ventures, the public is more empowered to do so because of the liquidity of exchange via the banktrust, and the potential for social coordination available in the internet and related technology. Needs and desires are more easily assessed because they are more visible. People can still take a chance making a venture that doesn't have a clear role or niche, but they don't have to, and they're not gambling with their lives, just their time and a pool of credits. Really, it's mostly just their time and effort, because the credits circulate back into the system and are redistributed. --S Rhodes 23:58, 1 February 2008 (PST)

Stan: The network is self-organizing: participants can self-organize at any time, for any reason, at any scale, with irrevocable rights of participation in governance at any greater scale. --S Rhodes

Patrick: Yes, but again, we need divisiblity to minimize decision granularity. Ownut

Stan: I don't understand this comment, because I'm not sure what decision granularity means, but I need to clear up the mess I made with a bit more explanation of how these principles work in context. A banktrust, for example, has an established purpose. To fulfill that purpose the employees and/or trustees/members can self-organize as needed, when needed. The banktrust network can have member banktrusts self-organize as well. At that level, I suspect you would see a hybrid from of deliberative and representative democracy, with banktrusts defining the purpose of the self-organization and then accountable representatives getting down to business and completing the task, then dissolving. This is where the work of mechanism design theory comes in, to create far better alternatives to organization and maximizing social benefit than we have with current governance schemes (from local to national) in places like the US. In this paragraph, you could substitute "banktrust" with any of the trusts, since they all follow these principles. Again, I was not clear where, how, or why the principles applied, and so I caused confusion. Sorry about that. --S Rhodes 00:42, 1 February 2008 (PST)

Stan: Power and function are distributive and decentralized. No power is vested in, or function performed by, any part that could not be reasonably exercised by any more peripheral part. --S Rhodes

Patrick: Ah yes, I think you are also talking about divisiblity? Ownut

Stan: Governance is distributive, with no individual, institution, or combination of either or both (such as management), able to dominate deliberations or control decisions at any scale. --S Rhodes

Patrick: I think of this as the percentage of ownership any one person has in any divisible physical thing. If you have only 3.4% ownership in a rototiller, you have exactly that vote weight. Ownut

Stan: Competition is between the fitness of ideas, not individuals or groups. Ideas are evaluated within cooperative and collaborative deliberations of groups and individuals, for the good of the whole--the sum of self-interests. --S Rhodes

Patrick: The good of the whole between the owners of that *specific* instance right? Ownut

Stan: Essential purposes and principles guide form and function. Form and function are infinitely malleable, and as durable as needed. All parts are capable of constant, self-generated, modification of form or function without sacrificing their essential purpose, or embodied principle. --S Rhodes

Patrick: Wow. That sounds good, but I'm not sure what you mean. Ownut

Stan: Lowest price: not seeking profit, only best service possible. For-profit competition impossible. --S Rhodes

Patrick: My view is that we should actually charge as high a price possible (maximize profit), but by treating that profit as an investment from that user, we are getting him to fund his own growth of the organization at exactly the pace that they "can bear". While this policy is somewhat 'parental', when the ownership finally 'vests' to that user, it will also eventually very appreciated.

This approach also happens to cause profit to taper toward zero since, when an Object consumer (say of an apple) is also the owner of the Physical Sources (the apple tree, land, water rights, etc.), he cannot pay profit unless he were to pay it to himself. Profit becomes 'undefined' in the fleeting perfect case. Ownut

Stan: I think most of this stems from confusion I caused by having such a rough and undefined explanation of principles and their context. Hopefully I've better explained what I meant with those principles and what they apply to. I do understand what you're looking to do with profit, but I'm not sure how it would be implemented. If we think about going to a bakery or a restaurant, or generally using a business that's been good to us, we are not maximizing profit, but we are investing in that business, or at least those people. For example, tipping. Tipping, particularly when you're likely to be a customer again, is an investment in future service as well as a compensation for service. However, I think it's a pretty lousy model. The feedback and "interest/desire-gauging" that technology makes possible is hardly used because of both how new it is and how hard it is for the "little guy" to use it. Having use and preference data available to a small business or group has huge implications. Needs can be gauged more easily and accurately, so there's less risk. Needs-based loans and pledges would become more commonplace because they'd be easy to coordinate and visible; people would be investing in and signaling their need when there wasn't a person/group/business willing or able to tackle it. This prize pot system is essentially the "finding a niche" we have today, except the niches become easily seen because they're invested-in niches. --S Rhodes 23:58, 1 February 2008 (PST)

Stan: Value transfer established as a public right enabled by members, system is accountable and transparent. --S Rhodes

Patrick: Are you talking about currency here? Money confuses me until my head swims. Please tell me more about what you think. Ownut

Stan: Me too. That's why I decided to ignore it, and I think it saved me a lot of pain. To be honest, what really convinced me to ignore money was all the innovative ways and methods people experimented with it, from local currencies to time banks, and all sort of other things. They just felt wrong to me, like they couldn't solve the problem I was seeing. A friend of mine mentioned that he had been observing a local currency and realized he could probably buy low and sell high going between the people and the businesses that supported it, and make money. At that point I threw up my hands; people will always game the system, so I decided to look at the rest of the system instead.

I'm referring to a banktrust here, meaning value can be transferred between members for as close to zero cost as possible. Liquid money at the speed of transmission. --S Rhodes 23:58, 1 February 2008 (PST)

Stan: Credits can be saved, but no protected "banks" that charge or pay interest. --S Rhodes

Patrick: I guess so. What do you envision the currency (or credits) being 'backed' by? Who will issue it, and how will that be constrained? Ownut

Stan: These are particularly hard questions. The currency is backed by the credibility of the members of the networks within networks. Essentially, the peers, as a network that shares responsibility and accountability, are the issuing authority. But when and for what does it get issued?

The propertytrust needs to issue credit to acquire property. That's one aspect I'm actually fairly certain about. How it does this is tricky, but I'm going to throw some ideas out there, sink or swim. The members must have a method of assessing value, and I think some of the work done by the three who won the Economics Nobel in 2007, and the guys themselves, would be a place to go for this method. You could, for example, have occasional voting by members to establish general price points for goods. You could also have assessors entrusted with this duty, but you'd need a lot of transparency. Once the "price" was decided, it would be offered. Sell the propertytrust your property, be it a rototiller, a car, some land, or whatever, and you become an opt-in trustee that is pledging to honor the code of conduct and principles of the propertytrust. You are also credited the credits for that property in your banktrust network account.

This is interesting in number of ways. Also, it creates a lot of annoying legal paperwork (after all, it has to exist in our current legal model), but I think those aren't so much different than what we have today, in terms of hassle. Let's say I own land, and I sell that land to the propertytrust. I'm still the owner/guardian of it, but I have to pay use fees to the propertytrust now, so I'm motivated to make as efficient use of the resources (land) as possible for a low use fee. The problem at this point isn't the new system at all, it's the old one; I still owe property tax. We get into the real mechanics of currency and exchange at this point, where I think it's absolutely inevitable that credits can be exchanged for dollars. However, if the propertytrust is the issuer, we might be able to pull off some simple, slick mechanisms to keep everything progressing where we want. Since people can "gift" each other credits with no restriction--it's not feasible to restrict this in something so liquid--we'll see PersonA giving PersonB $100 for 1000 credits. Granted, we could try to go after this deal as being against the "rules" of the propertytrust, but I think that's a losing battle and it's too controlling. The key is that neither person can "make" the credits. However, what if the propertytrust bought dollars as property? What if we then used that money in a number of beneficial ways: buy additional property for the propertytrust, or perhaps divide it evenly, just as we do with use fees, among all members? The members might then form cooperatives or collaboratives with that money and acquire more property, put it within the propertytrust, and attempt a joint venture. I actually think the biggest pain at this point is dollar-based fees like property tax, however, I'd really have to do have someone help me with the math and create a game experiment with these mechanics to see what happens.

With items like rototillers, or property that doesn't "emit" anything, like a dining room table, it's a bit simpler. You sell it to the propertytrust and the use fee begins applying. I imagine people wouldn't nickel-and-dime objects so much, they'd be better off pooling their stuff, particularly if it was "favored" with some additional credits. You could then sell it to someone else or hang onto it and continue to pay the use fee. If you didn't want it at all, it'd be good to have some sort of property reclaimation mechanism that the propertytrust used to recycle the parts, which would both be a good business, and reduce waste. Those old CRTs have to go somewhere.

I have a lot to think about on this, and say, but I need to stop here for now. --S Rhodes 00:42, 1 February 2008 (PST)

Stan: Anyone or anyplace I interact with only knows the bare minimum needed to identify me for my purpose of use. --S Rhodes

Patrick: I've thought about this alot, and thought it would also be fun to allow the user the option of recording and/or those activities for himself and/or for anyone willing to pay for them. Although the video would be required to be under the GNU GPL (or similar Copylefting license), people may still be willing to pay for "early access"... or even to be present while the activity is taking place.

For instance, an auto mechanic or baker or shoemaker or even a computer programmer could record his activities while talking about what he is doing as an instructional video. Ownut

Stan: Invite-only or charging for live access is well within the service model, so it makes perfect sense. I think we'll see more and more in this vein as cameras are more widespread. I think we'll see more pro-ams and experts using cameras, and others either assisting in filming, or assisting in editing. We see some of that now, among all the entertainment. The untapped potential for scientific or technological instruction and information is immense, and I think we'll see it's particularly important for spreading knowledge across language barriers, and improving knowledge equity.

The other significant aspect of many cameras is sousveillance, which I think is already vital (we don't quite know it yet as a culture) and will remain vital for transparency, public information, and democracy in general. --S Rhodes 23:58, 1 February 2008 (PST)

How does this solve the basic problem?

Stan: Hope you don't mind, I removed the bold you used. I'll try to tease out the differences in our perspectives so we can find the common ground. I've tried breaking this reply into concepts covered for improved navigation and readability. I think one of the biggest misunderstandings is that I use "money" as a basic economic concept of value exchange, and you use it within the context of the current economic reality. --S Rhodes 20:42, 7 February 2008 (PST)

Christian: Your model does not seem to solve what I would understand to be the basic problem: How can we allow everyone to get what they need or want with the lowest possible effort (deciding between conflicting desires in a fair and non-arbitrary way)?

The core of the answer I try to give in my Peerconomy model is: By sharing the effort necessary to reach these goals, asking everyone who can to contribute, and distributing contributions in a manner that takes people's preferences into account and is fair and acceptable to all. ("Fair" here means mainly that if you want more, you will typically have to contribute more). --ChristianS 02:30, 7 February 2008 (PST)

Stan's POV - Basic problem redefined: a more basic problem.

Stan: My first contention, as you guessed, is that I do not agree with your description of the basic problem. Inequity of wealth and knowledge is the fundamental problem. I think the level of effort is for each person to decide, and I don't think effort is an issue: resource use is the issue. A person decides how much they contribute (effort), and how much they need (use). By establishing a fair use cost, based on equity of resources (property), the people are free to weigh their needs and desires (use) in a non-arbitrary way. People can then direct their efforts accordingly.

In other words, property has been "winner takes all." That has been the core of the problem all along. In this system, winning is irrelevant. I don't have a maxim for it, but perhaps "Contribute well, use wisely." To ensure a healthy--mentally and physically--population, and enable democracy, public trusts help the public safeguard commons: the environment, communication, value exchange, identity, and science and the useful arts (culture). --S Rhodes 20:42, 7 February 2008 (PST)

Christian: I'm not a native speaker, and I have language problem here: what, exactly, do you mean by "inequity of wealth and knowledge"? Doesn't "equity" mean roughly the same as "fairness"? In that case, I don't quite understand what "inequity of..." is supposed to mean -- "unfairness of wealth" would not make much sense. Do you mean "unfair distribution of wealth and knowledge"? --ChristianS 08:25, 12 February 2008 (PST)

Stan: I chose "equity" because I could not find a word that implied some degree of fairness, equality of potential, and ownership. I do not just mean distribution, because fairness is a larger concern. By wealth, I mean more than property. So, whereas a person might work harder or smarter and generate more wealth, that should not unfairly impact the ability for someone else to generate wealth. We do not need to keep distribution the same (you used the word "fair" which I know does not mean "same"), we need to keep wealth "fair," and that means charging for use in a fair, consistent way. The same with the access of knowledge, although if all knowledge is equally available, you could say that access is equally distributed. Rather than considering wealth a resource to spread, I am considering it open to everyone for the making.

The other nuance is "inequity of wealth" meaning the construct or societal concept of wealth itself being biased and unfair.

So, to me it means both. I am afraid perhaps I distilled it too much into a sound-bite, but it was the best word I could find that contained the facets of meaning I was looking for. I did not want to emphasize distribution only. Perhaps this is a confusing or flawed way of describing these thoughts, but they are not easily condensed into a few words. I hope this answer to your questions makes sense. Also, your English is quite good, and I must admit with shame that English is my native and only language (for now). Please forgive this American. :) --S Rhodes 23:23, 12 February 2008 (PST)

Christian: Well, it seems to me from your description of your "basic problem" and or your proposed model, that you envision a world were people still have to compete with each other in order to make a living, but where the framework within which they have to compete is "fairer" than it is now. The framework is modified, but the social dynamics—people have to compete with each other; some will be successful and others will fail; you have to out-compete the others, so helping them and sharing your knowledge and insights with them will generally hurt you—all stay the same.

Such a thinking is very well in the tradition of trying to make capitalism better, but is is far too limited for my taste. Specifically, it fails to take in account that the social dynamics which we see emerging in peer production are utterly different—that peer production forms an utterly new frameworks where it is more reasonable to cooperate than to compete, where the dynamics of cooperation encourage people to help each other and coordinate their efforts instead of having to out-compete the others. I describe this new dynamics in my series on the peerconomy, esp. part 2 and part 4. Your models is based far too strongly on elements from the market economy–markets, money, private property, buying & selling—to capture any of this new dynamics, as far as I can see. People might get a basic income through your "Propertytrust" model, but when it comes to get more, all the old rules of market competition still apply.

Another problem of your model is that "inequity of wealth and knowledge" is not merely a historical fact that lead to the emergence of capitalism, but that is it also a necessary outcome of market competition. You can try to start over with a perfectly fair and equal distribution of wealth and knowledge, and you will notice that the inequity very soon emerges again—not because the markets fail or are somehow "implemented badly", but simply because they work the way they are supposed to work. Striving for markets without inequity of wealth and knowledge is like striving for water that is not wet. --ChristianS 04:37, 18 February 2008 (PST)

Stan: Christian, this is more a critique of your system than mine. In my opinion, you misunderstand or ignore several fundamental economic concepts. I am going to identify what I see as your main errors, which happen to also highlight the critical flaws in your "peerconomy:"

1. "Competition." This word can mean several things, but for rival goods (physical goods and services), there is always competition. Even in Alfie Kohn's book about competition (No Contest: The Case Against Comeptition), one of the strongest indictments of competition between people ever written, he makes sure to identify and acknowledge this reality. However, you don't seem to, and as near as I can tell, you ignore it. Further, you do not acknowledge that in peer production there is very real competition between ideas too, even as people cooperate. Your repeated generalization that my system has competition, and yours does not, is simply false. You use the phrase "task auctioning:" an auction is very clearly competitive, because it sets values that will favor one person's preferences over another. You also use the phrase "relative price" when talking about competition over living space. I will speak more of this when I cover markets.

2. Your use of "out-compete," "success" and "fail" seem inappropriate and without context. In my system, the person who uses the most resources pays the most. Are they "succeeding" while others are "failing?" The person who uses the least resources will be paid the most. Is that "succeeding?" My system turns everything on its head by making those that take the most resources pay the highest price. I'm assuming "out-competing" means "taking control of rival resources." In my system, you could generate a lot of value by using little and working very hard at very high-demand tasks. However, that's fine! Cheaters will want to disguise use, but the system is quite transparent, and the harder they try to cheat, the more likely they are to be noticed.

In my system, sharing insights and knowledge is beneficial, and hurts no one. It's not only important, it's built in with the commons, and only through the commons can the free market stay healthy. Anthropology, psychology, and game theory all provide significant insight into how cooperation is beneficial within the context of real, unavoidable competition over resources. My system, all told, is basically one huge networked cooperative with use tax.

3. Markets and money. In your model, there is a market, and there is money. The market in your system, as in all economic systems, enables the exchange of product ownership and services, which are evaluated and priced. The money in your system, as in all systems, is just a unit of value that exists as debit and credit (value owed and value given). You tie contributions to benefits with a distribution pool. You are bundling the market and money up under the distribution pool, but you must not see it. You're using time, valuating with labor weight, as money.

In the distribution pool, competition still applies, as people will try to contribute the least to gain the most, and make those activities they enjoy most as heavily weighed as possible.

Consider this quote: "The advantage for other, less popular associations lies in the effort-redistribution effect of auctioning: the higher prices for grounds and housing in other areas automatically cause the prices of all the other goods and resources distributed through the pool (including grounds and housing in their own area) to go down. This effect of course also means that the people living in a popular area will have to pay (contribute) more for housing than they would otherwise."

You've identified competitive market forces at play in everything but name.

4. You ignore cheaters, and there's not a single mention of possible cheating behavior or "what ifs" that I can find. The closest you come to addressing them is saying that people wouldn't let other people, who don't contribute well, be part of important projects. Without looking at how cheaters would game your system, you will not see the flaws of the market model (distribution pool) you are using.

--S Rhodes 22:47, 19 February 2008 (PST)

Christian's POV - Competition and markets

Stan: This word can mean several things, but for rival goods (physical goods and services), there is always competition.

Christian: You are talking about competition between users, while I'm talking about competition between producers. Even among users, there is only competition if a thing is not produced in sufficient quantity—otherwise, all users will get what they want. Parts of my model are about how to ensure that things that can be produced in sufficient quantity typically will be produced in sufficient quantity (and I believe that most typical goods can be produced in sufficient quantity to satisfy all demands, though in some cases this will require changes to the production process, the used materials used, and/or design of the goods).

Only if things are not produced in sufficient quantity (either because they cannot be produced in sufficient quantity due to lack of required natural resources, or for other reasons), only then competition among users kicks in. In my model, such competition is resolved quite simply by "auctioning" the good. I have never denied that such competition between users still exists in my model. The important thing is that all users will try to reduce this competition as far as possible (i.e., to ensure that the good they want is produced in sufficient quantity to satisfy all demands, if possible), since this competition hurts them all (they either have to contribute more in order to get an auctioned good, or they won't get the good at all).

The detrimental effects of market competition are not due to competition between users (in the market: buyers), but due to competition between producers (in the market: sellers, including those that have nothing to sell than their labor power). I'm worried that your model won't help against these detrimental effects, since production still follows the rules of the market, as far as I get it. In my model, this is not the case—producers are not required to compete and are indeed incited to cooperate (for details, see my series on material peer production, esp. part 2 for the differences between markets and distribution pools and the conclusion for a comparison between profit-driven market production and demand-driven peer-production).

Stan: You use the phrase "task auctioning:" an auction is very clearly competitive, because it sets values that will favor one person's preferences over another.

Christian: Well, in the case of "task auctioning" it's tasks who compete for people who will do them, not really people who compete for tasks. You don't compete with other people in order to be able to work (as in capitalism), since the work necessary to produce goods is simply divided up among the people who want them. The preferences of other people about which tasks they like and don't like only influence the "weight" of tasks, i.e., whether you have to work longer or shorter in order to do your part. Hence I now prefer the term "task weighting" over the somewhat misleading "task auctioning" (in my book, I used both synonymously, but weighting is the better word).

Stan: Your use of "out-compete," "success" and "fail" seem inappropriate and without context. In my system, the person who uses the most resources pays the most.

Christian: Again, you're talking about usage, while I'm talking about production. Your usage model is fine, but it's worthless without a complementary model about how things are produced in a peer way. As I understand it, you simple want to stick with market production. That won't do, as I pointed out above.

Stan: In your model, there is a market, and there is money. The market in your system, as in all economic systems, enables the exchange of product ownership and services, which are evaluated and priced.

Christian: "Requiring contributions" is not the same as "exchanging products." There is no exchange in my model, there is no price paid from the consumers to the producers. The absence of exchange in my model (and, indeed, in peer production in general) is hard to understand, since we are so used to it that we tend to see it everywhere; but it's essential in order to understand peer production. Please check my series, linked above (esp. parts 1 and 2).

--ChristianS 08:14, 12 March 2008 (PDT)

Christian's POV - Cheating

Stan: You ignore cheaters, and there's not a single mention of possible cheating behavior or "what ifs" that I can find.

Christian: Will cheating be a big problem in a peer economy? I don't think so, because the peerconomy is not about making profit, but about distributing effort. Hence the only possible effect of cheating is that effort becomes distributed in a somewhat different way: if you cheat and claim that some tasks took you 10 hours while it really took only 8, you'll have to work 2 hours less, while everybody else will have to work very slightly more (since the 2 fake hours increase the overall effort to be distributed). That's no big deal—lazy people might cheat occasionally, but I don't think they'll bother much since the typical workload in a peer economy will probably be fairly low anyway (due to the distribution of the required work among all who can work and the avoidance of much duplication of effort and overhead activity required in capitalism). If everybody just has to work 10 hours a week, will people bother to cheat in order to reduce that number to 8? I don't think so...

Moreover, by cheating you make yourself appear slower and less capable than you really are, and that won't be helpful for your reputation (even if the others don't suspect you of cheating, which they might will). Projects can choose the people they trust to do tasks, and people can choose which goods from which projects they'll get, so neither as a cheating individual nor as a cheating project you can expect to cheat too much and get away with. The others will probably start to suspect you of cheating and hence shun you, and even if they don't, they'll tend to prefer people and projects who'll be appear to be more competent.

To resume: cheating, while putting your reputation and your cooperation with others at risk, won't give you much benefits. You might have to work somewhat less to get the things you want to have than you would otherwise, but you won't be able to reduce your workload to zero, and probably your workload won't be very high anyway. So, people's incentives to cheat are small (and those that nevertheless cheat won't do much damage). This is very different from the market, where have to outdo your competitors, which gives you a very high incentive to cheat and use all kinds of tricks. Indeed, in competition-based systems such as the market, cheating becomes almost a necessity if the others are doing it too (consider doping in sport).

Hence, cheating is another issue where the differences between markets and effort sharing become become very visible, once to start to think about it.

--ChristianS 08:14, 12 March 2008 (PDT)

Stan's POV - Peerconomies

Stan: I think your peerconomy model could be used within my model by groups of people, but I do not think it's necessary to work toward equity. I am using a new, hybrid form of trust-based--purpose-based--capitalism that decouples capitalism from the inequitable profit-centric pressure of the current system. Perhaps I should not use the term "capitalism" at all, since for most people the very word embodies assumptions of profit-centric capital accumulation and inequity--and rightfully so.

A peerconomy model on a large scale may well be the highly-evolved descendant of the one I am proposing, but I am interested in how we can direct the current system into a better direction; I do not think there is a feasible path from today directly to peerconomies. I'm also not sure a peerconomy model would be better or more efficient than my model. Changing the selective pressures on the market to increase equity and information symmetry makes for a very efficient, beneficial market. --S Rhodes 20:42, 7 February 2008 (PST)

Stan's POV - Free markets: not inherently bad, but badly implemented

Stan: Credits in my system are quantified expressions of value, whether that's perceived need, want, or benefit. It uses free market principles to evolve toward perfect markets with pareto optimality; the free market enables people to coordinate creation and use as efficiently as possible.

Talk of free markets, understandably, brings a lot of baggage and concerns. Some are very valid, and some reactionary. The big questions are, do they apply to this model, and what pressures are at play? To contrast what we have now with what I'm proposing, consider the design and creation of a nuclear reactor: the system must somehow regulate reaction rate and temperature to run well. Similarly, an economy must regulate property use and growth.

The current system is built on a model that has no passive or inherent safety features. As the reactor malfunctions and overheats, human operators and active mechanisms are supposed to intervene and bring the process under control. What if those human operators not only fail, but have interest in the system overheating for their own personal gain? What if the active mechanisms, some designed with good intentions, and others not, fail as well? The reaction process accelerates within a feedback loop, heading toward complete meltdown. I think that's where we're headed right now.

I'm proposing a model that has passive and inherent safety features, in which the framework selects against overheating and runaway reactions through its design; it selects for efficiency and equity, and against waste and inequity. The feedback loops slow the reaction, and no active mechanisms or human operators are needed to intervene. The more human operators try to overheat the system, the more severe the pressure against overheating.

My proposed system employs a network of trusts that establishes property as fundamentally equally distributed, charging more rent for more use. This is "fair" in the same way you use it: "mainly that if you want more, you will typically have to contribute more." --S Rhodes 20:42, 7 February 2008 (PST)

Stan's POV - Money in principle and in practice

Christian: It seems to me that you try to go into a similar direction, but not sufficiently far to reach this goal. In your model, there are still exchange and money instead of contributions and effort. I don't think you can reach this goal with these means. For example, people are charged, so they need to earn money, and in doing so they still have to compete with others who have do the same -- meaning that some will be successful, and others will fail. So the problem of unemployment/not-having-something-to-sell leading to poverty remains.

Please understand this more as a question than as criticism: maybe your proposal does solve the basic problem, and I just don't see how? Or maybe you don't want to solve this problem, but some other problem? In any case, I would welcome an explanation... --ChristianS 02:30, 7 February 2008 (PST)

Stan: Money is, at its core, a represenation of contribution, effort, and need. Is the current embodiment in the US, the dollar as regulated by the Federal Reserve, something more, perhaps something twisted? I think so. But that does not mean that representations of value aren't useful. Please correct me if I am wrong, but the peerconomy model essentially uses a virtual time currency (weighted hour) to mediate between contribution and need. You may not envision people attempting to create a sort of "time credit" for exchange, but I do. Exchange is useful. You've created a monetized system but distanced it from the problems of current monetized systems. I'm doing the same, but I have no qualms about calling it "money," as long as I qualify the term conceptually.

It's a sad reflection of the current market system that "earn money" is no longer associated with "contribute," but unfortunately it's true. That is not a problem inherent in money the concept, it is a problem in money, the implementation. In your book you comment that without widespread fabrication technology, people would likely have to "rely on the market to buy what they need," or cooperate with others (pg 19). Relying on the market is actually relying on others, and cooperation shouldn't be excluded from the market. For example, a cooperative may not need all it produces, such as food. It makes sense to put that excess up for sale to others who may need it. --S Rhodes 20:42, 7 February 2008 (PST)

Stan's POV - Eliminating poverty by design

Stan: When everyone equally "owns" all property--or looking at it another way, "owns" their equal "share" of it--competition is only for use. Rival goods, by definition, will always have competition for their use regardless of the system, so that competition cannot be eliminated. However, in my proposal, the more use, the more cost.

What is poverty? Lack of money, goods, and means of support. It is also, by extension, lack of use. The more I use, the more rent for that use I pay to everyone; I am imposing on more than my share. However, if I use very little, I pay hardly any rent at all, but I have a high net gain from those that use a lot. The less I use, the greater my base income. The selective pressure, on everyone, is to contribute proportionate to their use. This might mean living very simply and not doing a lot, or it may mean living a bit more expensively and doing a lot, or more likely, some combination of both. The system selects for efficient use of resources per person and overall; the system selects against poverty through this design, and through nonrival goods, too.

Since all information (nonrival good) is free, competition only exists between ideas in the nonrival realm. The poor have open access to knowledge, and have the income from low-use living to put it to work to better themselves, their situation, and their environment. Now granted, they may not have the technology needed to gain access to the wealth of knowledge; however, their income enables them to address that need. The poor are boosted from their position with both income and knowledge. The wealthy are held accountable for their use of resources. Control of personal behavior and choices is not removed from anyone, but accountability is added. The original "American Dream" of doing well through hard work becomes legitimate, and the other old American chestnut, "you need money to make money," becomes an ironic footnote in the history of economic models.

I hope this provides a better explanation. I hope the nuclear reactor metaphor wasn't too off-the-wall. --S Rhodes 20:42, 7 February 2008 (PST)


Stan: I love you! :)

We share the same vision!

I haven't read this talk page yet, but I don't need to. I've read the narrative and glanced at the main page. We are VERY much on the same wave length.

At United Diversity we often talk about things in terms of Land, Money and Media, with Money and Media both being subsets of information. We also agree that rent on collectively owned land should be redistributed equally (actually in our prototype model 50% goes back into the pot for re-investment and 50% does make to members proportionate to how much "monies worth" - in cash, property, time, skills - they've contributed relative to everyone else)

Right, now I'm off to google you and stuff :P --Josef

Stan: Josef, I'm afraid you will not find anything more by me: I am an unknown at this point. I think you'll find it's worth looking over this page, although I definitely need to organize it a bit better. Patrick and Christian both have their own perspectives and system concepts, and I think they've challenged mine in a number of important areas. I also think my system can take the heat, but it's an open invitation to discussion, and they have done a fine job so far. I am a bit of a sneak, because I knew of their work before they knew of me or mine, and I have used their writing and thought experiments to help shape my own.

Thank you for introducing yourself to me. I will learn more about your organization and projects as I get a little more time, but I'm liking what I'm seeing, even if I have some different ideas on solutions and how to build them. I hope, if you have time--it seems unlikely you do with all those projects--you will read through the pages I have prepared so far and consider the mechanisms I'm suggesting. I think trying to judge contributions is hard, and is not a problem a system needs to solve. The system only needs to charge for use, and distribute those fees equally. Let the humans do the human computations, which are dynamic. I like logic, but I do not like numbers, so perhaps this helps me avoid set number values.

I have additional correspondence with people that I need to put up on this page as QnA and food for thought. I am also in contact with JW Smith ( If you have not heard of him, I think you will find he has similar vision, and his research into the root problems is thorough, deep, and accurate. I just learned of him a few nights ago. There are many of us heading in the same direction, and we are starting to find each other.

You can email me at gmail if you use stanleyrhodes, if you'd like. Feel free to criticize or question my system on this page, too. --S Rhodes 00:01, 13 February 2008 (PST)