Abundance Protocol - THEOS.io

A Prosocial Coordination Protocol for the Planet

Main Contributors: Bryan Curtin, Roberto Valenti, [be next!]

Comment on text here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GpYkvbVDrxJf9rFiNTAEZqpu0qNZz6EOmPdJ_KchLI8/edit?usp=sharing

Creative Commons Licence

Motivation

Under the prevailing economy, human civilisation has achieved the height of its industrial and technological success. Yet, increasing inequality and environmental degradation are forcing us to consider whether the paradigm is serving people and the planet. Looking for alternatives, we recognise that an improved economy must begin to respect ecological boundaries and social wellbeing, and shift from prioritising self-interest towards encouraging prosocial relationships. How can we disrupt the established paradigm and bring about systemic change in the real world?

With the latest advances in AI, complexity science, and blockchain technologies, we now have the opportunity to create novel protocol-based social coordination systems. Widespread transition to a new paradigm now involves people opting in to a digital social-economic network when they are ready, instead of necessitating the difficult process of conventional political transformation.

The need for elected human representatives and centralised institutions is replaced with consent-based protocols which define how we conduct our relationships with one another and our environment. These new ‘economic’ protocols can be designed with different rules and explicitly defined objectives embedded into their very architecture.

Proposition

The core economic rules are like the DNA for a large component of our collective social and economic behaviour. A minor, well-crafted change in this DNA would yield immense transformation of the emergent social behaviour and impact of our species - reshaping our social relations, our economic output, and our collective impact on the planet.

Therefore, we devise an holistic, peer-to-peer social coordination protocol, implementable on existing blockchain technologies. Its core rules are designed to emergently fulfil the following objectives:

  • Facilitate prosocial coordination, favouring co-creation and collaboration over competition
  • Fulfil psycho-physiological needs, ensuring wellbeing for all humans
  • Regenerate the planetary resource ecology, attaining widespread abundance
  • Remain viable across locations and through time, respecting the local and global boundary conditions of place and planet

To realise such a design without falling into the trap of reinventing the prevailing macroeconomic system, we must begin from a new set of fundamental assumptions. To this end we adopt a tabula rasa approach, where we start by revising our assumptions about our relationship with the world.

The Food Web

Planet earth is home to the only complex living systems we have yet discovered. Building up from the most basic physical resources, ecosystems have emerged in which species of all kinds consume and nourish one another in a deeply interconnected food web.

In the case of humans, our psycho-physiological needs and our sociality have extended this ecological food web into what we call ‘the economy’ - a system for social coordination around resources to fulfil human needs.

Needs-Driven Economy

Since our needs drive what we consume, the economic food web begins with gathering them. Each person uploads their needs via a gateway application, specifying the type and location of each need. The geo-localised needs are then broadcast as requests to the entire economic network.

Once uploaded, individuals’ needs are aggregated into shared needs, and the different types of needs are then ranked by their frequency and intensity relative to one another, yielding a global measure of the relative importance of our shared planetary needs.

As every economic participant can see what is needed and where, potential providers can leapfrog the information barriers to economic interaction, like the need for market research and advertisement. Consequently, every person is immediately able to contribute towards fulfilling requests, leading to broad inclusion, equal opportunity and economic participation.

Prosocial Incentives

Now that we know what our shared needs are, we can set up incentives to motivate economic activity. In social systems, incentives are often used to align people’s attention and behaviour towards certain activities, steering the group behaviour.

The profit motive is the main reward construct in the prevailing economic protocol - the DNA from which our group behaviour emerges. Profit arises directly from the system of market-based pricing - wherein suppliers set their own prices and therefore profits as high as possible. The market then requires competition to bring prices and profits back to an equilibrium. Although profit can be earned by improving value to consumers, over time, profit-maximising strategies tend to serve the self-interest of suppliers - ultimately converging on behaviours which are detrimental to people and the planet.

In the proposed design, the self-interested profit motive is replaced with a well-defined incentive to serve one another’s needs. The aggregated information about geo-localised needs can be used as a parameter to steer a reward function, such that higher rewards will be given to those who fulfil the most prevalent needs first. In essence, the community publishing their needs are indirectly setting a needs-based incentive. The community is rewarding suppliers who fulfil their needs, instead of suppliers setting their own prices and profits for themselves.

Following these rewards, producers emergently orient their behaviour towards the fulfillment of the community’s needs. This is similar to the way whereby people currently pursue profit, with the key difference being that the reward now encourages prosocial behaviour.

By replacing profit with a prosocial reward, we remove perverse incentives which reward antisocial individual gain, rebalance the power relationship between people and producers, and realign one’s individual incentive with a measure of common good. This simply could not be achieved with the competitive price system and profit motive of the prevailing economy.

Resource Ecology

When producers organise to satisfy requests, they will need to combine resources and labour to produce the required products or services. Resources are linked together in recipes which relate all resources to their constituent components in specified physical units. For example [1 loaf] bread = [320g] flour + [375mL] water + [2g] yeast. Every time a recipe is requested, orders for its component resources are requested too. I.e. every time you request bread, you in turn request flour = wheat + milling and so on.

These recipes are then chained together into a web called the resource ecology - a graph built up from resource recipes where each node represents a unique type of resource. The resource ecology can be likened to a transparent and shared web of supply chains in which every resource is geo-localised. By shifting from a concealed collection of abstract, linear supply chains to a transparent geo-localised resource graph, local providers can easily fill gaps in the resource web and optimize long supply pathways. Consequently, the resource ecology harmonises the efficiencies of globalisation and the resilience of localisation.

Resource-Based Economy

With the resource ecology available, we are able to replace market-based pricing with resource-based prices, where the value of any resource reflects what it costs to be produced. When a product is requested, its resource-based price is calculated. The values of its component resources are summed together, cascading through recipes until the most basic resources at the extremities of the food web. Here, the value graph is rooted in the most fundamental physical units like energy and human time.

Since the value of every resource is directly equal to the sum of the values of its constituent resources, prices come to reflect the true costs of production. Thus, a fair-trade economy is established, free from profits, economic rents and speculation which seep into market-based prices.

Resource-based pricing enables us to directly relate all of our economic activity to its impact on the resource base. Since resource-based prices are not measured in dollars, but rather physical units, economising on price directly implies economising on resources. Cradle-to-cradle life-cycle costs, from production to end-of-life are also included in the prices of goods the moment they are created. Moreover, the needs-based incentive gives the resource ecology no incentive to produce surplus to what is needed. Therefore sustainability and a circular economy become an emergent consequence of the protocol.

Regenerating the Resource Commons

In the prevailing economy, the resource base is only considered valuable insofar as it can be exploited to feed consumption. A system which aims for widespread abundance must move beyond sustainable exploitation of resources towards planet-wide regeneration of the ecological resource base. In order to achieve this, the mechanisms for degradation must first be addressed, and then a new mechanism for regeneration introduced.

In a private-property based system or an open-access system, individuals look out for themselves at the expense of the group. When resources are considered scarce, individuals race to exploit their desired share of resources before they miss out, degrading the resource base in the process. This process is called the ‘tragedy of open-access’, commonly mislabeled as the ‘tragedy of the commons’. The commons is in fact an ecologically viable alternative to the ‘market’ for collectively managing and allocating resources, as opposed to open-access where no management system applies.

In order to avoid this scarcity-fuelled race to the bottom, we assert the primacy of the commons. The concept of private-property ownership and exchange of exclusion rights on goods gives way to stewardship and allocation rights for managing the shared common pool resources. People do not individually ‘own’ resources but rather, earn rights to allocate them from the commons for a time.

Effective stewardship is rewarded with another incentive, targeted at regenerating the resource commons. Every resource maintains a reserve, and a corresponding reserve ratio which describes the percentage of resources withheld from its total available resource pool. A regeneration incentive is computed from the reserve ratio and then used to encourage the reserve’s replenishment via natural and augmented processes, starting from the fundamental resources and the carrying capacity of the planetary base. Resources can only be extracted to fulfil needs if the resource base has been regenerated to increase its carrying capacity to a sufficient level.

Planetary Boundary Avoidance

For any system to remain viable in the long-term, it requires a negative feedback mechanism to stay within limits. In an ecologically sound economy, these limits must include local and global planetary boundaries, such as the maximum amount of carbon emissions allowed in the atmosphere before runaway global warming occurs.

As the economy nears a planetary boundary for a particular resource or waste stream, the protocol modulates its reserve ratio. Consequently, the regeneration incentive grows as the resource becomes scarce, increasing its effective price. This incentivises regeneration activities, and disincents the use of the targeted resource or waste stream - in this case, carbon dioxide.

As economic participants, we agree to alter our consumption and regeneration behaviour to remain within limits and to aim for targets defined by the distributed governance of the commons. Via a distributed consensus mechanism, we collectively set targets and boundaries in any relevant economic sector. The system then automatically realigns incentives for the entire group to navigate towards or away from them. Instead of post-mortem analysis after boundaries have already been crossed, crisis can be averted by pre-emptive collective action well before critical limits are reached.

Impact and Transition

We present protocol-based economics as the primary leverage point for addressing looming ecological and social challenges. Widespread adoption of a novel social coordination protocol which achieves the stated objectives would induce a systemic impact with enormous benefits for social and environmental wellbeing.

The proposed protocol, whose basic elements have been described above, provides us with a viable system to aid us in recovering from our degraded state. It guides us back towards prosocial coordination, regenerating abundance and the fulfilment of wellbeing, while restoring harmony between people and the planet.

This transition system is familiar enough to the global economy that anyone who agrees with the proposed economic rules can opt in when ready. It enables a piecewise, smooth transition without having to isolate oneself from society. We foresee that with time, the prevailing political-economy will be assimilated into a new and improved paradigm with vastly different consequences.

We envision transition as a worldwide cooperative endeavour where solutions are shared and reusable everywhere. The protocol serves as a trustworthy infrastructure for connecting people, communities, foundations and sustainability initiatives together in a new economic grid where fair trade, wellbeing, prosociality and regeneration are the basis.

Participants who engage in this new economy can trust in fair indirect reciprocity - that everyone else who participates will be bound by the same set of rules and be rewarded in the same manner for their contributions. Communities everywhere can nucleate alone but then merge when they are ready; and the contributions across communities will be fungible. By coming together around a protocol, a coordinated transition becomes possible with much greater breadth and speed.

Realising the Transition

Change is not only possible but necessary to be able to preserve our planet and the precious life within it, including human civilization.

We are catalysing the transition to the next stage in human social coordination, revisited in the interconnected age and built upon the newfound possibilities offered by the internet. We are currently implementing the proposed system on existing blockchain technologies. However, we are well aware that there is much more work to be done for the emergent social change to manifest in real communities around the globe.

Therefore, we are seeking to build a network willing to commit resources to co-create and bring this new economic paradigm to life. Granted there is alignment with the core values embedded in the protocol, we are open to all forms of participation, contribution and collaboration which will sustain and accelerate this endeavour.

4 Likes

Very much an enjoyable read, thanks for painting the meta-picture and looking forward to working on the various parts with you guys further. One very small comment for the sake of terminology is that the following quote in Ostrom terminology could be summarised as the pattern of “appropriation” or “resource appropriation” to be more specific.

Another thought is that it would be nice to add some pictures of the generalised system for visual understanding and perhaps a bulleted list of subcomponents so discussion can be linked out and encapsulated at the appropriate order of integration.

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Thank you! Finally it is clear to me, exactly what you are proposing. Really excited about the potential and hope you/we are able to channel this down into - what Josh calls “the components” for leveraging development in a way that this gets built out and iterated on.

Many open questions (how should we exactly go about transitioning suppliers in a way that is not too complex for them? how do we deal with fragmentation in development, many cooks cook the same soup but for “their project”?) and I hope we can explore some of those together.

Its not easy and we have to be rather quick about it.

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Hey Kai!

Supplier transition is very interesting; we were previously talking TBI (transitional basic income) for the bootstrapping phase. Paying such would be a function of non profit services like ‘Solar DAO’ once they are up and running/generating excess and selling leccy back to the grid. This example is quite a liquid/fungible vertical but others less so.

Development side can also be tricky. A knowledge graph of claims/attestations might work (especially with semantic tagging), but for now it’s a later problem as our velocity isn’t high enough for it to matter. When it is; dev ops will be extremely important to get right!

In this piece, I felt like there was a departure from:

“Small change in the DNA of the existing economy”

Which I find intuitive, compelling, and seemingly feasible.

… to:

“widespread adoption of a new economic system”

Which I feel is a little scary, potentially naive (with respect to complex systems, unforseeable consequences, and fragility), and seemingly much more daunting of a challenge.

To achieve one of the proposed core objectives (e.g. fulfilment of basic needs, regenerative economy) or likewise one of the core features (e.g. resource-based pricing) in today’s econony seems like a small shift in the DNA that could lend a transformational positive impact.

Of course, that small change could also go wrong – in which case, you have a (hopefully) clear insight into the relevant causes and effects, in an experimental and trial-and-error-like manner.

Whereas architechting an entirely new system could be fraught with assumptions, biases, oversights, and basically, it seems nearly impossible to get the whole system right from a theoretical pen-on-paper perspective.

(There definitely could be historical/political/natural precedents that refute my thinking here – e.g. perhaps the Magna Carta in some senses – and I am very much open to considering and exploring those)

For example, say we achieved widespread assimilation into this new economic system – and then we encountered some irreconcilable flaw/bug in that system.

Could it be too late to go back?

Getting into practice, I feel it could be wise to explore more in the iterative, experimental, low-risk/high-upside, and hopefully revsersible space of “small changes to the DNA.”

Like experimenting with individual core objectives/features (prosocial conditions, resourced-based pricing, regenerative economy) in smaller local trials

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These are the notes I took while reading, which led me to the reflection above.

(For background context, lot of my perspective is shaped by Taleb’s thoughts from Antifragile – with that said, I don’t believe his arguments are infallible either).

A lot of these notes are simply just identifying + questioning what I considered important assumptions in the argument.

Depending on the scope that Theos takes, some of the items may not end up being that relevant.

But I feel the discussions around some of the proposed core objectives/features are important.

Motivation

#1.

Looking for alternatives, we recognise that an improved economy must begin to respect ecological boundaries and social wellbeing, and shift from prioritising self-interest towards encouraging prosocial relationships.

Must the economy shift from prioritizing self-interest towards encouraging prosocial relationships? What if self-interest works, but with different conditions? What if if we should shift towards a type of relationships different from prosocial?

#2.

Widespread transition to a new paradigm now involves people opting in to a digital social-economic network when they are ready,

I think this is envisioned and described in a positive way, but something about the phrase “widespread transition” makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.

#3.

The need for elected human representatives and centralised institutions is replaced with consent-based protocols which define how we conduct our relationships with one another and our environment.

From the perspective of the Lindy Effect, the longer something non-perishable (e.g. technology, ideas) has been in existence, the longer we can expect it to remain in existence.

Human/animal representatives/leaders, “elected” one way or another, have been around for a very long time.

Instead of trying to replace that long-surviving system with something new (and un-battle-tested), could we work backwards to a proven system that’s even older/more fundamental?

Basically, what would this statement look like if we phrased this in via negative terms?

Like:

The need for elected human representatives and centralised institutions is removed, leaving us with consent-based protocols which define how we conduct our relationships with one another and our environment.

^Is there any historical precedent for this?

Proposition

#4.

The core economic rules are like the DNA for a large component of our collective social and economic behaviour. A minor, well-crafted change in this DNA would yield immense transformation of the emergent social behaviour and impact of our species - reshaping our social relations, our economic output, and our collective impact on the planet.

This is a critical assumption of the argument. Supporting evidence, links to historical examples/precedents of this type of change and transformation taking place could be helpful here.

#5.

Therefore, we devise an holistic,

Is this a typo? A or an? Not sure, just wanted to briefly note it!

#6.

Its core rules are designed to emergently fulfil the following objectives

What does “emergently” mean in this context?

#7.

Facilitate prosocial coordination, favouring co-creation and collaboration over competition

a. Prosocial coordination and a preference for co-creation over competition is something we (Hackalong group and related communities) tend to value.

However, it may not be a uniform value.

I see the importance of it in terms of boundary coniditons, but respecting (and potentially promoting) diversity of values is important to keep in mind.

b. With prosocial coordination as an objective, it’s an assumption that co-creation and collaboration over competition will be lead to better results (in terms of resource sustainability, personal wellbeing, etc.) than competition

I would be interested in seeing examples from history/nature/civilization that support and refute this core objective

(A biomimicrical design of this core rule/objective could be compelling. You may end up seeing a balance or a blend of collaboration and competition, self-interest and prosocial)

#8.

Fulfil psycho-physiological needs, ensuring wellbeing for all humans

From the text later in the piece, I recognize this isn’t necessarily fulfilment or wellbeing at all times (e.g. things get harder when the reserves are running low)

Just wanted to mention the assumption that wellbeing as an objective will lead to better results.

Personally, I would find it difficult to argue with

-Fulfil psycho-physiological needs, ensuring basic needs are met for all humans

As an objective.

However, I’m not sure if you can ensure wellbeing for all humans – or even if you’d want to.

Simply put, sometimes stressors – the momentary deprivation of wellbeing, so to speak – increase our wellbeing in the long run.

This gets into our respective definitions/understandings of “basic needs” and “wellbeing” (which could very well be aligned) – and it could be worth exploring for this objective.

#9.

To realise such a design without falling into the trap of reinventing the prevailing macroeconomic system, we must begin from a new set of fundamental assumptions. To this end we adopt a tabula rasa approach, where we start by revising our assumptions about our relationship with the world.

a. Again, according to the Lindy Effect, the expected longevity of new fundamental assumptions is significantly less than the expected longevity of existing fundamental assumptions.

In stead of starting anew, can we work backward via negativa to a long-existing (and perhaps forgotten) set of fundamental assumptions that is aligned with:

-fulfilment of our physco-physiological needs
-regenerating the planetary ecology
-respecting boundary conditions
-(if validated as a core objective) facilitating prosocial coordination?

b. Is there a justification for adopting a tabula rasa approach?

And in particular, are there any notable objections to a tabula rasa approach that would be worthy of discussion/consideration?

Needs-Driven Economy

#10.

Since our needs drive what we consume, the economic food web begins with gathering them. Each person uploads their needs via a gateway application, specifying the type and location of each need. The geo-localised needs are then broadcast as requests to the entire economic network.

Are individuals the best judge of their own needs?

Some perhaps, but all individuals?

Furthermore, is it possible that we’re better at judging our needs in certain categories – say, shelter – and less effective at judging our needs in other categories – say, hedonistic pleasures?

These questions are relevant, given the diversity of values and personality types (disciplined, addictive, etc.) that could be signaling their needs in this network.

Continuing …

Once uploaded, individuals’ needs are aggregated into shared needs, and the different types of needs are then ranked by their frequency and intensity relative to one another, yielding a global measure of the relative importance of our shared planetary needs.

Also, from an informational perspective, do people (we) really know our needs best?

If we were in the 1950s, people could believe they needed cigarettes as medicine, given the prevailing information and beliefs at that time.

Or, as Taleb describes in Antifragile, when it was widespread mistakenly believed that transfats were healthy.

Or the 1960s-era food pyramid in the USA

Basically, in the space of nutrition/medicine at least, there could be many mistaken beliefs held by individuals about what they need, leading to a false measure/indicator of our shared planetary nutritional/medicinal needs.

Tldr; The notion that “we (as individuals) know what our needs are” is a critical assumption.

Prosocial Incentives

#11.

Although profit can be earned by improving value to consumers, over time, profit-maximising strategies tend to serve the self-interest of suppliers - ultimately converging on behaviours which are detrimental to people and the planet.

This could be an important assumption. Does profit-maximizing necessarily converge on detrimental behaviors?

As one example, what if producers had to pay for the environmental resources they used and the negative externalities they created?

Then, wouldn’t maximizing sustainability (likely a positive outcome) be part of a profit-maximiation strategy?

#12.

Following these rewards, producers emergently orient their behaviour towards the fulfillment of the community’s needs.

It’s a critical assumption that producers will respond in this way.

Through this network, you could also give producers/resource-holders a crystal clear signal for need – which implies even more necessity than market demand.

So if producers don’t orient their behavior towards the fulfilment of the communty’s needs, it could be dangerous – as it could give producers/resource-holders tremendous leverage of those who have already communicated/signaled that they are in need.

Resource Ecology

#13.

Resources are linked together in recipes which relate all resources to their constituent components in specified physical units. For example [1 loaf] bread = [320g] flour + [375mL] water + [2g] yeast. Every time a recipe is requested, orders for its component resources are requested too.

Consequently, the resource ecology harmonises the efficiencies of globalisation and the resilience of localisation.

With efficiency, you could sacrifice individuality and uniqueness.

E.g. If you include energy/cooking time as one of the specified physical units (e.g. the approx amount of Joules required to cook a loaf of bread), then it means every loaf of bread in a given geo-location would be identical in composition.

Is that level of efficiency (and thereby, uniformity) necessary condition to meet planetary boundary conditions?

Is that a desired condition?

Resource-Based Economy

#14.

Want to refer back to a piece of text from Prosocial Incentives:

By replacing profit with a prosocial reward, we remove perverse incentives which reward antisocial individual gain, rebalance the power relationship between people and producers, and realign one’s individual incentive with a measure of common good. This simply could not be achieved with the competitive price system and profit motive of the prevailing economy.

a. One thought: a reference to “resource-based pricing” could be helpful earlier on (e.g. in the prosocial incentives section), as that may be more intuitive than “prosocial rewards”

b. Isn’t the resource-based pricing still a competitive price system?

(Assuming you have some diversity of a given product in the economy – and therefore competition between different versions of the same product – which seems like a reasonable + realistic characteristic, right?)

With a diversity of products, I don’t believe resource-based pricing and competitive pricing are necessarily exclusive.

And (as described above), if you have the two together, couldn’t that be a positive consequence – an incentive to maximize the sustainability of production?

Regenerating the Resource Commons

#15.

When resources are considered scarce, individuals race to exploit their desired share of resources before they miss out, degrading the resource base in the process. This process is called the ‘tragedy of open-access’, commonly mislabeled as the ‘tragedy of the commons’. The commons is in fact an ecologically viable alternative to the ‘market’ for collectively managing and allocating resources, as opposed to open-access where no management system applies.

Could it be simpler to build a process around a rule like, “if you want to extract a resource for commercial purposes (or proprietary ownership), you must pay for it?”

Planetary Boundary Avoidance

#16.

Love the reserve ratio and how it’s envisioned.

Via a distributed consensus mechanism, we collectively set targets and boundaries in any relevant economic sector. The system then automatically realigns incentives for the entire group to navigate towards or away from them.

In terms of distributed consensus, what happens when a lot of people are hungry?

How do hard decisions – like, deprivation of basic needs to protect low reserves vs. fulfilment of basic needs by exploiting low reserves – get made in this type of system?

Impact and Transition

#17.

Widespread adoption of a novel social coordination protocol which achieves the stated objectives would induce a systemic impact with enormous benefits for social and environmental wellbeing.

The feasibility of widespread adoption is a critical assumption.

Also, doesn’t the notion of “widespread adoption” seem to contrast with the idea of “a small change in DNA” described in the Proposition section?

A minor, well-crafted change in this DNA would yield immense transformation of the emergent social behaviour and impact of our species - reshaping our social relations, our economic output, and our collective impact on the planet.

#18.

There may be historical, non-technical examples of resource management and resource preservation across different cultures and citilizations

#19.

We foresee that with time, the prevailing political-economy will be assimilated into a new and improved paradigm with vastly different consequences.

“Assimilation” implies moving forward towards something new, less tested, less Lindy

“Via negativa” could be stepping back towards something that works just as well, something we had before, that has been tested (but perhaps forgotten)

#20.

Participants who engage in this new economy can trust in fair indirect reciprocity - that everyone else who participates will be bound by the same set of rules and be rewarded in the same manner for their contributions.

How can we trust that participants are bound?

Its also worth mentioning that a lot of this comes from my perspective of questioning “how could this idea/mission/project go wrong,” so I tend to look for that in new visions – potentially to a fault

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Hey Sam, thank you so much for your feedback!
Trust me, we could spend all our life thinking about how this could go wrong, and we won’t come to a conclusion. There is always going to be good and bad, and we should acknowledge this fact.

Our argument is that the economic game we have created and played for many years has not been designed with the wellbeing of people and the planet in mind.

The established economic system deprives people of fundamental needs so that others can have too much, it enslaves us into non-sensical jobs and pushes us against each other to plunder the planet in the name of profit, to the extent of waging wars for access to scarce resources.

What we are proposing is a different path to explore. Something that is at least “not wrong” in what we currently see wrong in the world.

A new way that comes with the internet age (the nervous system of the planet), which enables us to remove information asymmetry, account for resources, and incentivize planetary regeneration and wellbeing (according to each person’s definition).

We are not suggesting to replace the current system in one go, but to run an experimental borderless economy in parallel, and see where it fails before trying again.

Before addressing your questions, In the co-creation spirit we would like to establish, I would invite you to revisit your feedback and propose, based on your knowledge and experience, a workable solution anywhere you have spotted a potential pitfall.

Upon further reflection, here are few major ideas from me:

1.Instead of building an entirely new system from the ground up, it could be worthwhile to consider experimenting with singular interventions (e.g. individual components of THEOS) at the start. This could enable a more “scientific” process of observation, trial-and-error, and understanding effects of these components in given contexts. By implementing all of them at the same time, it would be more difficult to determine which components are responsible for which effects.

Furthermore, in terms of leverage and Pareto efficiency, perhaps one of those singular interventions (providing basic infrastructure for people, or resource-based pricing) could deliver a majority of the benefits we’re looking for.

2.What would the MVP of Theos look like? Before getting too far a long and spending too much time/resources building out a full-fledged system, it would make sense to validate it, stress-test it, and try to break it in a small setting

And on a more micro level, I believe there are some specific nuances worth exploring further:

For example, the tradeoffs between efficiency and individuality/uniqueness if every item is comprised of a specific group of ingredients. Is it desired and/or necessary for every loaf of bread to have the exact same molecular composition? Who decides that? Some variety/diversity of bread recipes seems beneficial and reasonable – how would we incorporate that?

For sure, this is a write up of the divergent meta vision stuff - alignment around north stars - but scoping is defiantly the way to go.

Agree, this page here is quite useful in that regard:
https://valueflo.ws/introduction/resources.html

Thank you Bryan and Roberto, it’s a noble direction and detailed plan of action.

Like Sam’s feedback, mine is drawn on various forms of knowledge. It’s not easy to sum things up and be “in dialogue” not debate. However, as I think it is important to advocate for the

and make sure we don’t impose our somewhat limited Western thinking on them.

So I would love to see if we could take the ideation beyond constraints of Formalist economic thinking (Formalism vs Substantivism Economics ).

TLDR: Formalist economics refers to the classic economic form of a supply-demand principle, which assumes economic agents make rational decisions to maximize personal gain. The scarcity mindset can be said to exist exclusively in formatlist economics.

Substantivist & Culturalist analysis accounts for the “oh so messy to put into protocol things” like kinship, political structure, religious ideologies (don’t think only “gods” think also being in stewardship to nature around you), moral norms, group benefits. Economics serves as a reciprocity and redistribution system.

Think it is extremely important to venture into an “uncomfortable” conversation of whether we are not constrained by our formalist thinking.

We need to go beyond semantics and into different “mindset” to regenerate the local socio-economic structures. Calling products needs won’t create new (or shall I say restore more harmonious) social systems.*** Technological advances have created to some extent “abundance” of resources, but a scarcity mindset. How do we change that around?

Could a resource graph focus on something more than formalist supply-demand & rational decision-making principles?

Could it focus on culturally unique values, group benefits, the “rational culturally relative?

Otherwise, how will it illustrate the difference between cutting down a tree and a sacred forest? How will it tell the difference between “ineffective” cultural practices of let’s say building using traditional methods that strengthen the community and the resource efficiency IKEA has achieved with its “designer furniture” available to all?

I would really love to explore those messy questions.

***Highly recommend exploring globalization vs social structures concept from examples like Helena Norberg-Hodge Ancient Futures (book and film of the same name)

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Hey @Maija, really valuable thoughts here.

@ProfETH and I are currently discussing your response.

It seems that there could be “formalist” solutions to the sacred tree problem and others like it. To paraphrase an example from Roberto:

If Community A wants to designate a tree as sacred, that tree could be accounted as a resource allocated to them – and they choose what they want to do with it. That means if Community A needs a tree for firewood, they would have to request one more tree (two total trees allocated to Community A).

Meanwhile, if Community B has no sacred trees and needs for firewood, then it would request a single tree (one total tree allocated to Community B).

^ And that’s how the tension between resources and cultural artifacts could be accounted for.

Which does seem like a reasonable conclusion – however, that very conclusion is driven from a formalist, supply-and-demand perspective as well.

And to my understanding, it feels like you’re making a case for a different perspective at the foundation.

So we’re on the same page, would it be fair to describe your perspective as something like this?

  1. The function of “matching needs and offers” via a resource graph is a form of formalist supply-and-demand thinking
  2. This formalist perspective is a potential constraint
  3. We should to take a step back from the formalist perspective and re-evaluate at a more fundamental level

^ In essence, is that what you’re getting at?

From further conversation, things are distilling down to this:

Assuming that planetary boundary conditions exist and we have finite resources, is there an alternative (non-formalist) approach to sustainable civilizations and resource allocation?

If so, what are those different approaches?

(Admittedly, I haven’t read the Formalism, Substantivism and Culturalism document you linked yet, which may have some answers)

Also, is there any way we can challenge the assumption that “planetary boundary conditions exist and we have finite resources?”

^ For example, if there is a universe worth of energy inside every nucleus of every proton (hypothesis from A Connected Universe, iirc?), that could be a reasonable challenge to the underlying boundary conditions assumption

Yes Sam, that is a good summary of some of the questions that I believe should be at least thought about if not answered.

Let me ask another question, derived from your wording to sum up Robertos example

Aren’t resources “our cultural” artifacts? A poignant example of this is of course nature, in many cultures one cannot own any of it , it is sovereign.

Cultural baseline is that you wouldn’t take more than what you essentially need and treat what you get as "gifts and acts of goodwill ". Reciprocity & relationship is at the core.

Now imagine any relationship in your life where the dynamics are the same (family, stay at Liminal etc). How would that relationship look like in it’s current model & in one on the protocol? What kind of pressures it would create? How would it impact the people around you if they would not join the system? Wouldn’t the core value of "relationship " be lost in the transaction?

ps: excuses for any wonky spelling , sent from📱

that is the liminality & we need more of it :wink:

the full sentence is:

With this sentence, we wanted to indicate that people can choose which system to use just by installing an app. That, if found useful or working, can go quite fast, and it is a process doesn’t lean on the speed of political changes.
People can choose what app to install - that is, what economic protocol to use, make use of it any time they need something.

Ultimately, the proposed system is the best design we could think of as a starting point, but is just “a protocol”, thus “a way”. Anyone can design its own protocol economy, what we are advocating is that both planetary boundaries and wellbeing should be primary targets.

hey @ProfETH and all, have a look at this project I wound in a b4h.world application:

https://dorium.vision
This guys have been developing the concept for some time already, I could connect you with these people if you spot any interest

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Woah, great stuff!
How do we make it happen?

Its already being built in multiple parts but if you can point people that would like to make it happen here we can certainly do so. Bits are on Ethereum mostly at the moment but for the above to become a reality its Holochain (Ethereum being consensus based wont work, it has to be consent operation mode! #GameB ;))

Full alignment to the basic principles!
However, one question:
By just publishing each one’s needs, how to prioritize those needs? How to align needs, make them just? What if A says she needs a house and B says he needs an airplane (exaggerating on purpose).

How to decide on which needs to cut down if limits are reached? How to make sure that the aggregated needs are not over-exploiting the planet again in a new way?

I have been thinking on a similar idea from a different angle (but I think it’s essentially the same): a sensor-based, robotics-enabled and AI/machine learning - steered system which, sources, allocates and automatically distributes/supplies resources to where it’s needed…

But such a system would meet the same challenges, if people express needs/requirements on this system, and the system tries to fulfill them, then it will extract resources from where they are and ships them to where they are needed. How to balance the ecological stresses / challenges to such system?

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