P2P Foundation

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Hi there,

I would like to present the ideas in this article below for discussion with folks on this forum.

The article itself is something I put together over night but I have been sitting with the ideas for a couple years now.

I could be a lot more elaborate in my presentation of these ideas, but I thought I'd run it by other curiously minded folks, to have some critical feedback points, prior to putting significant energy into it...

With that said, please enjoy and comment as appropriate.

Original URL: http://evolvingtrends.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/p2p-social-currency-...

P2P Social Currency (Money 2.0)

October 21, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Premise:

One of the foundational elements of society is the definition of money.

Changing how money is defined will change society.

Dialog:

If we had a networked, programmable currency then I could tell my money to exchange itself only for goods/services that are made by vendors who care about the planet AND who have donated to my chosen candidate for President.

I can be as particular as I want and my money should do the figuring out of whom to pay itself to, based on rules I supply, and based on information it can access about the parties I’m trading with.

Another example for networked, programmable currency is to enforce rules on the spending of money that I give to my kids (luckily no kids yet) so they don’t buy food that contains unhealthy ingredients.

The new networked, programmable money should abandon the idea of paying interest on borrowed money. There is so much debt in the system that it would take decades to get rid of it and return the economy to normal functioning. The interest on debt is like bad cholesterol. While it fattens the economy, it ultimately clogs the global economic arteries and can lead to economic failure, as it has done (see: global economic meltdown 2008.)

In my opinion, the concept of “credit” and “credit rating” is good but the concept of interest is not. What I mean is that people and businesses should have a credit rating but it should be tied to something other than their ability to pay interest on money borrowed.

If you lend money to someone, where that someone is chosen per the particular criteria you’ve programmed into your money, you should be able to get your money back and get “good will” points that would replace today’s “hamster wheel” concept of credit rating, which was designed to encourage people to buy money with money, which is not only retarded but gives value to money from nowhere. Instead of being rated on your timeliness in paying back money borrowed + interest, you should be rated by how much you’ve lent others and how much time you’ve given people to pay you back, and this rating, e.g. your “good will” points, becomes your credit rating. This way people can dictate that their money is to be exchanged for goods/services only from providers with N “good will” points or more.

Maybe a good place to try this P2P Social Currency (or “Money 2.0″) would be in an online virtual world?

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Dear Marc;

thanks for posting this. I'm not an expert in economics nor in alternative currencies, but I think that you are generally on the right track. Since peer production is the 'direct creation of value by civil society', it would logically flow that we now have the means to create financial instruments which are neither the monopoly of the state, as it used to be, nor based on lending by banks, which is the current situation. The transaction costs of creating civil money systems are now getting low enough to make it a realistic possibility.

However the question as to what kinds of money is very complex, and one of the advantages of the current system is that it aggregates all the different value approximations in one precise 'price' figure. So my question is one about complexity: would people want money that is so contingent on who has issued it?

There my instinct is to open monies which are somehow backed by some objective value, say energy, and that are just as simple to use as the current monetary system. The key is to get rid of the infinite growth producing interest-based money systems, as this is something we can no longer afford,

Michel
Great points. Thank you.

I should add a clarification here that the conditions/rules imposed on the exchange of this new money (as defined in this post) do not last beyond the singular transaction. In other words, if I restrict my money to spend itself on organic food only, the grocery store that sells me the organic food will no longer have those rules imposed on the money I paid to them. They can enforce their on rules on it, whatever they may be, and then use it to buy stuff with, and so on...

As to having more than one dimension for the value system imposed by the current definition of money, i.e. the numerical (or "price") value, I think it is only a matter of time before this value system goes from being 1-dimensional to N-dimensional. The reason the value system that is imposed by the current definition of money is limited to just the numerical dimension, i.e. price, is because it is assumed that people do their own research/homework when trading with others and make their decision to trade based on that. What I'm suggesting is for the new money to have more than just a numerical value for a value system, i.e. other values that are programmed/re-programmed into it by every user of that money, thereby allowing the automation and streamlining of this decision making process.

This is exactly the kind of discussion I was hoping to have!

So thank you Michel. :)
I think the key argument here, besides the point about the need to abandon "interest," is that the value system that is 'explicit' in the definition of money is 1-dimensional, i.e. the "price," or numerical value, and there is no excuse for having this 1-dimensional value system when we have computers, the Internet and the ability to implement an _explicitly_ multi-dimensional value system as the basis for a new, social, P2P currency.
Another clarification I feel is necessary to make is that if someone who has borrowed money does not pay back the money they get good will points taken out, much like the current credit rating system with the important exception that they can regain good will points (i.e. gain in their credit rating) by lending money to others rather than borrowing more money and paying interest on it.

Also, in addition to the above, a very interesting idea that was suggested by Michel Bauwens in his response (see above) is to derive the value for this new money from the energy each person is able to produce (see: P2P energy.)
Hi Marc ... thank you for proposing these great ideas. It sounds almost the same as the system that I have already built, called Regenerosity. This system implements multidimensional accounting on both the exchange (money) side and on the reputation (credit) side. Additionally, you can account for beneficial and/or detrimental side effects on various commons. Although I provide ways to express these various personal and community values, I haven't implemented a control mechanism to enforce rules based upon these.
Hi Geoff,

Regenerosity is a great name for it.

I think one of the best way to foster collaboration (on anything) is to listen to the story behind the story, and by this I mean the reasons and circumstances that have motivated us to think about a new solution... which is this case is a new definition for money.

I feel that if people get to hear the real stories (the personal background/circumstances behind the ideas) they'll empathize with what we're trying to accomplish.

I'll spend some this week on doing that...

Thanks!
Hi Marc,

I share your interests in relation to the nature of money/trust information systems.

Do you know " Ripple " :

http://ripple.sourceforge.net/faq.html

" Payment routing through arbitrary mutual-credit trust networks on both standalone and distributed networks of servers "


http://sourceforge.net/projects/ripple/

I feel that building on the work already done around Ripple ( software / protocol ) to implement further some of the approaches you suggest ( and that I feel I relate to and would be happy to further collaborate around ) ,
applying/further experimenting such tools with critical masses of users / social networks.

I tend to add related links on http://delicious.com/deliciousdante/currency ; /alternativeeconomics ; /moneyreform ; ... )

---

side note / zoom out on development approach :

Some programmer friends that are working on the development of the hospitality fork project http://bewelcome.org are also interested in the Ripple Project and the potential to combine it with tools such as bewelcome , identifying it as a Real Social Networks :

http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Real_Social


http://realsocial.org/
" I could think of three that would fit my criteria for being Real Social: BeWelcome, Ripple and Hitchwiki. The capitalization comes from the way the networks, its organization and the software is developed. "
another note - not directly reacting on your suggestion , but looking for proactive ways of building up support and potential by "zooming out" even more - feel free to suggest , open up ( or redirect ? ) to another post if you feel it would be best suited :

to further support shared ideas , it might be interesting , if it is not yet the case to converge " visualizations " ( maps ? ) of all individuals and networks existing and active around the topic of currency.

I do know there are networks forming themselves , and conferences being organized , such as this one

Conference Nov. 2008 Mexico - The Future of Money


http://thetransitioner.com/English/Coming_Events/Conference_Nov._20...

A number of individuals relating themselves through posts or simply through visiting p2p foundation ecology sites are interested in developing solutions around currency , yet I feel there might be a lack of broader direct visualization of all these individuals sharing such intentions.

Beyond the p2pfoundatuon ecology ,

Doing some simple data mining - such as a google search ,
may offer interesting references , such as people relating themselves to posts on the Omidyar ( foundation ) Network Forums :

http://www.onarchive.net/group/currencies/news/4/

including for example Tom Munnecke :

http://www.onarchive.net/user/u199359450/

Also other ways of having a broader visualization ( and potential mapping ? ) of individuals sharing common interests and intentions can be through delicious , ...

I realize that every of the sites related to currency I bookmark brings in information about other profiles of individuals that bookmarked the same link , and potentially are interested in collaborating around such intentions.

Often their personal info is not on their delicious profile , but a bit of data mining on the net often helps in finding the related persons , and in some cases also allows to position the places where they may be active , and their social networks around the intentions we share.

As one of the reasons why I ( and perhaps you ? ) are on this forum is not only to use and build our collective intelligence through the forum , but to use the forum to attract others and converge into networks that potentially not only think together , but can act together and perhaps even meet in real life.
Hi Dante,

Thank you for this 'flood' of new information and insight. I will read and re-read to make sure I see all that your saying.

Somehow, I always find a way to get up in my head and detach or ignore the emotional/psychological struggles that society, as it is today, has caused in me, and which have brought me to discuss solutions with yourself and others.

I have noticed that when I start talking about the shared emotional/psychological struggles that society as it is today has caused in all of us then people from all walks of life start to relate and empathize with what I say, and I get to stay with and address my feelings about the problem, which is what matters to me and most people at the end of the day, rather than doing what we normally do (speaking for myself primarily but also for the majority of intellectuals/thinkers) which is to go up in our head and start exploring the labyrinth of logic and get lost in the maze as well as lose the empathy that we would otherwise have from people with really important things to say who just happen to be more in touch with their feelings and less likely to go up in their head and follow us through the logical maze.

I have come to conclude that what I need is a balance between my need to address my feelings about the problem (of the 'unconscious money' we all use and its social/ethical and psychological/emotional consequences) and my need to address the problem as I've imagine it in logical space, which is in fact less important in the end as there is always MANY different solutions to any given problem.

That's what I meant in my response earlier re: telling the story (my feelings about the problem) behind the story (the particular solution I'm proposing.)

To address my own feelings about the problem of 'unconscious money' I would like to start with this question:

-*-
Why is society setup in a way to reward those who care about their own survival and act in selfish and even Machiavellian way rather than those who care about the 'whole' and are driven to explore and discover more than they are driven to play the survival game as it is defined today, which is heavily dictated by this 'unconscious money' that we use today and how it is created?
-*-

The way today's 'unconscious money' is created is through interest (which equates to punishment) and artificial scarcity (enforced by Central Banks) or actual scarcity (the gold standard), rather than being created through good will (which equates to reward rather than punishment) and peer production of energy (where there is no real scarcity, e.g. solar power)

---

I'm still in the phase where I'd like to to address my feelings about this 'unconscious money' problem as expressed in my question above. Once I've explored, processed and shared my own feelings about the problem of 'unconscious money' in terms of how I and others have been hurt by it, and once I have had time to reflect on it with others, I can pick any solution that is consistent with my then-raised state of awareness.

So what I need to do is to foster a dialog about how the way money is currently defined.. this 'unconscious money' .. has hurt us as individuals, as businesses and as a society.

After we go through exploring our feelings about it, I feel that we will reach a higher state of awareness (about how we want things done) about the problem and in the process attract many folks who empathize with us.

From there, anything is possible.
I know that, generally speaking, there is always higher willingness among thinking people to discuss logical solutions to the problem than to address the feelings they have around the problem itself.

To be more clear, by 'feelings' I mean how the current definition and use of money has affected us personally and what struggles it has caused with us.

I feel that if I don't actually address the feelings I have around a problem it makes discussing the solution less important...

For example, if I felt angry about my iPod malfunctioning I may take a hammer and flatten the thing or I may send it in for repair. It all depends on how I feel about the problem. Thus, if I feel angry about the problem of 'unconscious money' (how money is defined and used today) then I may bring a nuke to a sword fight. On the other hand, if I get to talk about and reflect on my feelings around the problem (of 'unconscious money') then I am more likely to apply the right solution to it.

So that's what I'm trying to do here, i.e. talk about and reflect on my feelings around the problem rather than jump to the solution, even though I have already went ahead and proposed a solution that may or may not be the right solution.

I wouldn't know until I manage to process my feelings around the problem.

And that's the kind of paradigm I want to use in dealing with problems, rather than the 'go up in my head' approach that is so common to discussions I've had in the past.

There is so much value in addressing the feelings (i.e. talking about them and resolving them through sharing, reflection etc) around a given problem before trying to 'fix' it.

I'm tempted to lead by example ... but I need a little time to articulate the 'feelings' side of the equation ;)

Just orienting the discussion for now ... and seeing if anyone buys into the idea of addressing the feelings we have about a given problem before we discuss the solutions
Thanks Marc,

I appreciate the direction in which you are taking this discussion.

I share the points you raise in relation to (listening to) emotions.

In my last years of traveling / nomadic living, I realized indeed that "raising awareness" goes through listening to emotions - which somehow seems to allow some kind of "zoom out"/detachment, and allows people/us to see what we did not see consciously before, allowing people/us to more easily make choices through increased awareness instead of staying stuck in some addicted dimensions. ( I call such opening up of awareness "metatization" in my process dimensions axiom : http://oikoumene.coforum.net/processdimensions )

In some cases, before being able to listen to emotions, these emotions need to be stirred up,
and although many people prefer "not to see" to avoid re-questioning their ( addicted) structures, preferring not to suffer from stirred up emotions,

the increasing complexity of the environments in which an increasing part of the world population seems to be living in (and which are mostly fed by unsustainable parasitic energy systems-but this is another broad topic) adds every day mirrors that can lead to such stirring up, such de-construction of specific expectations, and structures. ( although there are opposite processes of coercive specific control being imposed, using fear )

At this point, it often feels more and more meaningless for a number of people, as many people do not seem to be able to make sense of all these scattered pieces within an increased complexity, which seems to stir up yet other emotions, and sometimes feelings of powerlessness in many individuals.

The current financial and economic system, through its in-built artificial scarcity ( never enough money to pay for debt plus interest unless total debt continually increases -a huge addicted dimensions in itself-, leading to a need for unlimited "growth" into new -and increasingly speculative?- markets, and increased competition to fight within artificially created scarcity)

imposes on masses of people fears of an illusion of scarcity and a need to "compete" while serving the controlling interests of those that have access to credit.

As speculative markets needed to maintain an increased flow of debt creation
start to fall apart,

it creates yet another strong mirror for all of us, and this opportunity can be used to raise awareness and engage thinking and experimentation around alternative (and/or complementary) solutions... ...

////

I recently decided to re-attempt to stay in one place for a longer period of time,
and asked myself what approach could help raising awareness while building up stronger local communities of practice, converging intentional agents that have the potential to transfer the presence of their awareness into new tools that can be used by all.

I concluded I would start with a collaborative media approach which would use video and the internet, bringing me and others to interview people locally around certain themes, and then allow some technical tools to relate different tagged fragments of video in the database, as to further facilitate connections between various questions, and eventually lead to new forms of collaboration beyond current organizational boundaries.

It is indeed absolutely interesting to experiment with different " questions" ( or situations? ) that could lead to stir up emotions, and then listen to these emotions.

I am tempted to ask people, in the light of the recent developments, what they would be interested in "investing" in if they would be told that in one year time the current financial system would collapse. What has (use?) value for them. Do they have access to such resources if the current system collapses? Would they want to develop complementary alternatives? etc...
I agree with the need to stir up emotions as the first instrument of change... emotions that already exist in people, and most notably the two sometimes complimentary/sometimes contradictory forces of anger and hope

Speaking for myself, i happen to have tremendous anger about the way society is setup today (aka the "system") and since I know that powerful ideas have powerful consequences, my way of dealing with my anger re: society as it is today (the way it is setup, not the people who are victim to its bad design) is to do my best to introduce powerful ideas that may help us in re-designing society, to be more gentle, more forgiving, more rewarding of good deeds, and, by the same token, more resilient to and more tolerant of bad behavior, not more intolerant.

A society that allows people to grow spiritually beyond the confines of scripted religion and the comfort of familiar ideologies.

It's hard for me to process my feelings around the issue of how society is setup today. It's too painful, but I feel tons better every time I'm able to talk about it, even much better than when I realize part of the solution to the problem, and in fact it's my inner emotionally heavy articulation (as seen in parts of this response) that allows me to "feel" new ways of doing things (open up new neural pathways/make new connections)

I had written my master's thesis on creativity and used an analogy from statistical thermodynamics (see Evolving Trends post titled Self-Aware Text as I use a different aspect of the same analogy there) to explain why it's necessary to stir up emotions, as you proposed, in order for creativity to find its way.

:)

Let's keep it up.

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