Been working with a bunch of people on a new version of SEA equations, to include things. Well beyond my interest or experience, however, it does have more traction in the current economic system. After deriving some equations, they are making moves.
Meanwhile, I returned to the original MTTP contract and have seen the potential for a new version that is not pure p2p, but is more like the ha-ha structure, and I’ve tentatively named it FTP. More of that later.
Here’s an animation of the MTTP in action with fake numbers. Each bar indicates a person who has been invited (or is attracted, bigger bars) to the entity using pure p2p MTTP. They appear, and when they leave, they leave with double their money (unless they were attracted). An attracted player is the equivalent of a government player, or charity, where the work that is co-created by participants is for social good alone with no monetary attraction. Co-created value that does attract money (ie selling stuff), is distributed by SEA. Since participants are covered by MTTP contracts, this is Surplus, and with enough surplus, players will want to plough that back into the system — this is the ‘attractors’. Alternatively, for the initial months of the entity, all surplus is ploughed back in to honour MTTP contracts without going through individuals, by default.
THE NUMBERS ARE NOT ACCURATE, they are representational only.
Notice the inverted pyramid effect. Those entering at longer time scales honour the payment of those who are exiting at shorter time-frames. The red figure is the amount of money that is static or fixed as the guaranteed part of the invitational protocol. That is, the red represents the people who are currently in the system at the NOW line. The green figure is the amount of money that honours the MTTP contracts. It shows the health of the entire entity. When the green hits zero, the entire entity dies, and whoever is left in the system NOW will only receive their half of the MTTP contract, that is the money they came with. That is, they don’t lose, they just don’t win. This is the failure state of the entity, and it is dependent on the number of people who are invited and at what values.
Of course, this is just the ‘boundary’ of the entity. The real stuff is what do people co-create? This is what is sold, or does social good, or both.
The peer-2-peer structure drastically contrasts with standard centralised organisations, and consequently the fundamental practices and underlying methodology of participants. The only reason p2p practices has got as far as it has, arguably, is because of Berners-Lee’s pivotal gift of html and www. For all our talk, it is this new infrastructure that has been instrumental in our social evolution. However, it has been slowly brought into line with the traditional, centralised economic system.
Despite wonderful developments like wikipedia, firefox and linux, p2p requires a supporting economics of its own. Otherwise it will fall back into the attractor of capitalist-monetary-politics as did the so-called movements of the Renaissance, the scientific, industrial and communist/cultural revolutions. Pundits of the p2p movement may see their best efforts collapse, ironically the same pundits who applaud its successes as measured against their incorporation within the traditional economic system, as business+ (down-scaling and crowd-sourcing) or capitalism 2.0 (micro-finance and alternative currencies). The opportunity for a true p2p economy may pass us by, as new protocols are associated with dubious historical break-outs like the Ponzi scheme and then made subsequently illegal. After all, the legal institution is based on the same methodology as the political, the same as the military and business. The more radical analysts know this hegemony or powerbase, but they decry powerlessly beyond the city walls or from safe enclaves within Universities.
have we learned anything in terms of social organisation?
How have our social dynamics changed in the last few decades? Sadly, people still think of ‘joining’ discrete ‘groups’ to effect change. The internet did not grow that way. With a bit of hardware, some software and a little intention and boom, the internet was made one node larger with your addition. The internet grew, this was its strength. Its boundary was receptive to engagement. Most social movements still rely on joining discrete, bounded groups, and even those movements that are open-source or based on the commons become stagnant with the more established personages, a kind of informal ‘old boys’ network, making it progressively harder for new voices to be heard, apart from the voices of youth when they are backed up with new tech-savvy.
Occupy formed differently, growing at such a rate as it did. But it was far too much too soon. We simply do not have the skills to self-organise at scale. We must first learn to realise the social power between small groups, a handful, before we can even pretend to think we can organise ourselves at larger polities and ultimately at the global level. But such solutions are small-scale and without the security of money-flow, such experiments are limited to all but the tightest like-minded groups.
Money would make things easier — if it was a proper p2p system. Ecological economics proposes a pure p2p protocol. No centralisation, no organisation, no superstructure. It is a god-send, potentially. But we are talking about money here. The stuff we use every day. It is a chronic ‘mental delusion’ and powerfully backed up by all, civilised institutions. Its history goes back further than 3,000 years. To alter its basic DNA is conceptually tricky, but more importantly, it requires a level of engagement that borders on belief, or at least a mind that is familiar with being open. Eco^2 protocols are easy enough for children to use, and yet beyond adult comprehension.
what are the problems that inhibit adoption?
First, the expert-trap. Those who have invested their life time and their personal identities on studying how economics works, may be reluctant to consider all their knowledge is based on the parameters of a specific game. Changing the rules of that game, creates an alternative economics. Their knowledge may have limited use. Few experts have the courage to admit this, and so alternatives are ‘below the radar’, not seen, dismissed.
Second, the success-trap. Those who have proven to be successful in the traditional money-game have little interest in playing another game, especially one which is based on giving rather than taking, collaboration rather than competition, openness rather than closedness. Why consider another game when they are winning the current one? So, alternatives are rejected.
Third, and more damning, the understanding-trap. Most adults want to understand something before they participate in it. However, because we are dealing with a paradigm shift, understanding does not come theoretically but experientially. That is, the methodology to learn about ecological economics is to give it a go, experiment, and see what the results are.
Nevertheless, a group did gather around eco^2 protocols and tried to ‘birth’ the new economic entity a year ago. We failed, so then I approached the front-line of business, advertising agencies, which came very close but didn’t convert into money-flow. Finally I turned to writing a book, a fictional narrative about how the financial protocols may evolve over the next two decade; not being a writer I am far from confident it shall find a readership.
from understanding to experimentation (or at least the math)
The problem of adoption is less to do with understanding, and more to do with methodology. Children, of course, are primed to try things out. They are familiar with the world of not-understanding, they thrive in the world of experimentation. Most normal people with a little coaxing will give things a go. Experts, or world-changers, are paradoxically the worst to give things a go because they are committed to certain theories and practices. Because they must contend with being outsiders to the system, they exhibit the same quality of exaggeration that expatriates do when in a foreign land.
I will continue to work out what the minimal set-up could be for the protocols to take off, which currently is taking shape as a hangout show. It would be useful to get serious engagement of ecosquared in order to get validation mathematically. This hasn’t happened so far though I have started to get more in-depth engagement with people like Willi Schroll and Michael Maranda which has a chance of verging into the mathematical domain, and I am looking forward to a conversation with Tiberius of the p2p Foundation network later this week (see slide-show at Sensorica for a good overview of what Tiberius is up to). Talking about things only enters into a word-game at which I am definitely ill-matched, and indeed contravenes the methodology of direct primary experience — but there is a chance of getting validation mathematically, especially with the Subjective-Enumeration-Algorithm. And as a fall back option, I have the book which will take years to percolate through the system if at all.
Michel lived in the wilderness for years with p2p. My journey has not been as long and I am no Michel, but if ever we find ecosquared protocols or those like them find wide-spread use, then hopefully the living edge of our culture shall be in the state of receptivity. If p2p fulfils its promise, each one of us is responsible for the receptivity of humanity, whether welcoming children into adulthood or listening to the unique insight of those approaching the ending of their lives. The real test is that we are equally receptive to the innocence of youth as to the wisdom of age, not to mention the abundance of the natural world and the nurturing care of motherhood, aspects which our current economics simply pays lip-service to. We need a more human economy, one based on person-to-person trust.
This constitutes the primary boundary that constitutes the entity. It is purely an interaction of money. A good way to think about it is, money left on the outside, and value on the inside. For people inside, money is plastered up along the outside, so that internally, people are free to collaborate without concern about money. For people outside, they see the money that the entity is surrounded by, and are attracted to it.
How does this work? The basic mechanism is “double your money”. When you are invited to the entity, the person who invites guarantees the invitee will return with double what they bring. So, if I am invited to visit for £10, I bring £10, leave it at the door, do whatever is required for an hour, and when I leave, the person who invited me gives me £20. This money guaranteed. It is all black. In fact, they match the initial £10 at the beginning of the hour.
Imagine a glass plate. People on the inside plaster money to the inside. People on the outside see the money and plaster money to the outside. There is a matching of inner and outer money. Once a person enters, they leave this money there, and only when they return to they pick it up if they have been invited in. Otherwise, money floats around on the inside to match up with more money from outside.
The generalised transaction is simple:
(where x is the base value of the invitation, p is the time period)
“double your money”
Money is tagged to time. Since our time, each of us being human, is the same (at least in this first proposal, since it may be varied by intensity, wrt children and so on). The amounts and periods are given below.
Note: this has been subsequently described as MTTP, the Money-Time-Trust-Protocol, the two simple conditions of which can be found in the ‘Social Contract’ tab above.
These green dots represent value created internally. This may mean the building of some prototype, computer or physical, producing some designs or some music, or growing or cooking food, or providing some tools or advice. It is all about experience. This is not about money or things. It is about experience and what people offer in terms of resources.
The evaluations given above are not a substitute currency. They are subjectively enumerated values. This replaces the need for money. They are a record of how valuable people see their engagement with others. There is no absolute evaluation, no “objective” or authorative enumeration anything close to money.
The maths based on this might be interesting, the distribution pattern of a person’s evaluation over time, the mean and so on. It might be possible to see who is producing most value, in the eyes of others. It might even be possible to apply the value algorithm similar to google page rank. Consider the initial starting position:
(where V is the value of any person i at time 0, with N the total number of people)
And the iterative equation which tends to a relative value of any person to any other person in the entity:
(where V is the value of any person i, d is the “damping factor”, N the total number of people, M is the set of people who evaluate person i, the value of pj at time t)
Such an equation might highlight particularly “valuable people”. It might also be used to root out those individuals or cliques who are gaming the system, producing “fake value”, who are in it purely to take advantage of the doubling protocol at the boundary entry.
This kind of equation is something that will be useful for sure, and will evolve over time, as the entity evolves, just as google’s page rank algorithm has. Nevertheless, it is essential to emphasise that the design of the entity has its own values (mine I guess;), and that is for equality. These are merely number games. What happens in the real world is what matters. Whatever equations we produce that play with subjective value is gameable only in the sense that we use the equation for us to highlight those people whose work, effort, insight, we actually value. It is hoped that gaming induces a positive value.
Play around with this simple mock-up of a relative value system on gdocs. Barny ends up making more than his equal share because of the relative values of everyone else.
Which is why so much effort is being made to design the outer boundary as self-enclosed as possible. If the outer boundary that constitutes scalable invitation, MTTP, has its own sustainable “income”, it means that everyone within the entity has at least the money they brought covered, and if the entity is healthy, then they are guaranteed to double the money they brought. At whatever level of scale, this entry guarantee is a healthy living, individually, in current 2012 prices. It gives those within the entity the best environment for them to produce value, simple, without the need to make it commercially viable, and thus compromising their ideals and ethics and design to “fit” the current organisational situation, the mess of bureaucracy and money-making directives.
[See also this description.]
Invitations to Action Cycles are conducted in person at the non-directed gatherings, and generally through the electronic medium which connects players (news letters, or twitter, or bespoke platform). These are conducted on a weekly basis. So there will always be an opening to join an action cycle.
An Action Cycle is an intense piece of open, social architecture. It is not managed, nor even facilitated. Its objective is to assist a unique gathering of individuals to achieve an idealistic objective by reaching consensus and commitment within an initial one hour engagement.
This is one of the primary mechanisms by which players can engagement organisations. If conducted well, idealistic objects are achieved, beyond the capacity of any hierarchical and legal structure. And there are many problems we are facing, personally and socially as well as environmentally and globally, that are beyond the reach of political organisations, whether this is the most powerful superpowers or trans-national companies, or the smallest charities who are helping the poorest and disaffected of us. In addition to achieving these objectives, the organisation will feel indebted to repay the work done to achieve objectives itself has ownership of. That is, the moneyflow within the organisation will be tapped.
The principle behind the action cycle is that they are conducted freely. The people who go to the action cycle are going out of their free will, they are not being paid. Hence, to pay for what is done, is incorrect. It was given freely. In this way, the solutions that open up are light enough to be reached without the weight of thinking of money. If money is offered, it is split equally to all the participants, with preference to freelancers (or is split equally to all members of the entity if the subjective enumeration system is up and running).
Further details on the Action Cycle can be found in this google doc (consider it an appendix:). Action cycles are just one way in which the entity converts value into money, but it the purest way because it is simply solving the “silo” problem that bounded groups suffer from. It is a purely structural relationship between the interaction of non-bounded, horizontal and networked collective and bounded, vertical and hierarchical organisations.
If the whole entity is a collaborative network, then the regular non-directed gathering is a concentration of the whole network. This is not the nucleus of the cell, but perhaps something like the vacuole. It is a greater intensity of social capital, and the interest generated is at a deeper human level. Although a lot of “work” is done in the entity, the work that is conducted in this gathering is no less important because it works at a deeper level. Warm relationships are fostered, connections are reinforced, people get to know one another beyond strict “work” boundaries. It is about being comfortable, knowing, community.
These have been capably facilitated by Lloyd with his Tuttle club meetings. There is no direction for the group. It has no function in terms of movement of the whole body. It is not like a company (depicted here by hierarchical mountains), or the executive at the top of these hierarchies who are responsible for making a company move in set directions, or even to “evolve”.
New members can find themselves here on the first time they visit. Indeed, they may be invited to participate in them, or they can self-select to come to one. Because of it’s nature, on any given gathering, there may be a wide range of players, from long-term players who are on an annual cycle, to graduates who have just turned up on that day. What matters is that it is regular.
The initial boundary of engagement is very important indeed. If someone is personally invited to attend, it is advised that they go through the following procedure. The objective is that they leave with a greater understanding of where they are in terms of business practice, build some network relationships, clarify what they offer and their aims, and perhaps have actually demonstrated their skills. For the entity, which consists of the other people who are currently there, it is about accessing the resources of that new individual as quickly as possible, their skills, awareness, assets, get them connected and useful, producing value.
It is essential to realise that the filter is a direct confrontation of internal value and external institutional thinking and practice. Money might be the primary motivation that attracts people to the economic entity, with the guarantee of “double your money” when invited. This motivation interfaces directly with the internal culture of the co-creation of value. It is not an understatement to restate: this engagement is very important indeed. Even for those who are approaching the entity without interest in money, they may find the boundary offensive, and such an attitude could prejudice their awareness and contribution, blinding them to the opportunity to manifest social value.
Depending on the context, the filter contains the following elements. Ideally, there will be a regular cycle of up to ten people. These are conducted by “experts”, people who have self-selected to lead the processes, invited to do so by other members of the entity. The role of the person conducting the filter is very important, because they have the ability to spot “talent” and provide personal recommendations to other members directly. I need to know if particular people turn up, those with a fine sensitivity of mind, and are willing to play, capable of improvising given challenging circumstances.
The filtering process is self-selecting. There is no judgement made by anyone, and it is not compulsory. It is about self-determination. But this is less to do with willfulness and individual efforts which give rise to ego and competition, and more to do with open-mindedness and collective effort which give rise to community and collaboration.
Although the diagram shows an arrow entering the entity, if the filtering works, the entity will grow into the social world of the individual. It is less about people joining, learning what the rules are etc within the “group”. If conducted well, people will feel listened to and valuable, and thus the entity will have grown into the social space of the individual. The community will have grown. And even the notion of “invitation” may be reversed, and it is the new person who is inviting everyone within the entity into their lives, to help them out with work issues and their local community.
(from original eco^2 document)
The Action Cycle is a surprisingly simple tool that helps us get beyond many of the classic obstacles and shortcomings that plug our meetings. A few, clarity-inducing applications – render them inspiring and effective.
In just 1 hour, the selected group is asked the question: “What can be done by next week?” and then led through the process of discovering a) consensus on a “just-beyond achievable” goal, and b) what each person in the group can do to help achieve this goal. In one week, it will become a reality.
Most meetings are hampered by a combination of individual egos, preset assumptions about how issues are resolved, unnecessary role delineations and a lack of inspiring objectives to keep people motivated. The Action Cycle begins to break all of these barriers down, emphasising some of the profound human strengths that are often buried by/in organisations, such as passion, resilience and creativity, while focusing the group on a task collectively deemed important.
More at the archived actioncycle blog.