Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Personalized Economic Systems: Self-Determination and Economic Theory

In addition to blockchain technology, another clear node of current innovation is in self-determined economic systems. Increasingly, as individuals, we are consciously examining the economic systems into which we were born by default, and questioning their validity, utility, and reach; and proposing alternatives. In some sense capitalism is the new feudalism and there is a finally starting to be the conception and realization of a viable postcapitalist position. The new sensibility could be that economic systems are determined at the level of the individual as opposed to the level of the nation-state, and further that different economies might be appropriate at different levels of scale in an overall world of economic multiplicity. Further, economics means discovery and exchange more generally and conceptually as opposed to exclusively transactionally. As individuals we have become our own selection node for the news, information, and entertainment we consume. The same could happen with economic systems and governance systems: downscaling the locus to the level of the individual as another context for personalization and right to self-determination.

Personalized Economic Systems: Platforms and Features
There could be a new world of ‘let a million economies bloom’ (in an esprit of self-blossoming not socialism). As every individual might have their own social media platform with a channels like a blog, Twitter feed, YouTube channel, and Instagram stream, so too as individuals we might have our own personalized economic platform, with our own personal currency and economic system. A common set of feature functionality could coalesce in these programmable economic systems. The core feature set could include token issuance, exchange, and conversion mechanisms; transaction validation, confirmation, and tracking; identity and reputation management systems; bounty, reward, and appreciation systems; consensus protocol; node on-boarding/off-boarding; and basic income systems mechanism including with redistribution (demurrage) parameters.

How these features are implemented in different individual and group economies could be via a combination of pre-specification and emergence (including via community prediction market voting) through the ongoing operation of the economy. Some emerging platforms for personalized economic systems for individuals and communities include datt.co (a decentralized reddit for any user-content created community), Ethereum CIRCLES (personal economic coinplatforms for creating user-specified self-determined economies), HyLo (social network based on intentionality of asset-mapping, intent-casting, and crowd-resourcing), and those integrating direct democracy with economic empowerment like D-CENT, LiquidFeedback, and Citizen Code.

Qualitative Economics: Registering Values as Smart Assets
Blockchains are not essential but are the obvious and contemporary information technology to include to facilitate personal economic systems and enable new kinds of functionality. For example, qualitative parameters such as group values and group needs could be registered as blockchain-based smart assets to which community coin is booked, spent, or voted to indicate the level to which the group values and needs are being met. This could be an integrated and minimally-obtrusive feedback mechanism for awareness of how community values are evolving, and the extent to which they are being embodied. There could be multiple community tokens: quantitative coin for the usual basic exchange, and qualitative coin for tracking ideas, inspiration, and other values, benefits, or needs of the community registered as smart assets. Overall this is what is meant by ‘the new economic theory’ as being a means of acknowledging and attributing value in a relevant context like an individual, group, or community.

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