Written in Ink
Written in Ink
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Roads less traveled and problems uncreated [A Biggish Idea #6]

Hello, and welcome to 'A Biggish Idea'. In this edition we'll hit on some things we're deliberately leaving open and some things we're gleefully ignoring.

This is part 6 in a series. The previous articles (conveniently in order!) are:

  1. Building a better life within a Co-OperNation (contains a rundown on the whole plan and a quick FAQ)
  2. Let's make MondraGoogleValve, but better. (Here we start the creation of a framework using existing corporations and motivational science)
  3. Supply Chain Manglement. (Next, we separate ourselves from the pack by using supply chain takeover to make rapid expansion the path of least resistance)
  4. Peoplespheres: A different look at options (We use science to turn one of our greatest flaws into an advantage and offer up a rare vision in which you don't have to follow some old dead guy's dream. . you get your own)
  5. You say you want an Evolution? (We get to separate ourselves from yet another pack and introduce some competition)

We're going to do something different this time around. We're going to talk about the decisions we're not making, why, and how that's the only way any sort of decent civilization involving large numbers of actual humans was ever going to work.

So. . . where did we leave off?

Ahh. . yes. We'd opened up our little endeavor to a MUCH larger pool of recruits with brains just as capable as anybody we have here.


And we also admitted that some parts of this were a bit . . . intimidatingly big. (if you're just coming in now you might want to check back rather than just taking my word for it)

I didn't set out to do this. . . and I hope at this point it's pretty obvious why. It was just a logical progression that makes quite a bit of sense in retrospect but sounds kind of wacky at first. (story of my life. My career often felt like being a magician who then had to reveal how his trick works to the whole audience at the end)


But hey, it IS kind of neat, isn't it?

We've got something that can completely decouple people from their local governments and economic systems and I've left it wide open to anarchy! Whee!


We really should do something about that, shouldn't we? I mean, we've got people that won't need that much structure imposed on them . . . but we want to maximize our expansion AND avoid turning into a mess or evil empire, right?

(Yes, yes we do. Hush shoulder devil!)

Let's start with the decisions we're not making. . . because we shouldn't be making them.


Do we want some sort of capitalism/socialism hybrid? Can we pull off a gift economy? What sorts of scrip could we use? Doubloons? A networked polyeconomy? Do we go moneyless, or just not use everybody ELSE'S silly money?

Illustration for article titled Roads less traveled and problems uncreated [A Biggish Idea #6]

How do people distribute resources? Do we incorporate a consensus system? Retroactive proxies? Some democracy/republic hybrid? Maybe a little bit of anarchy? Do we use a Journeyman type trade system? Guilds? How do we handle conflicts?

I don't know what's going to work, do you?

No. . no you don't. . NOBODY does. Nobody can. Sure, we can try something really generic and hope for the best, but that's not exactly setting people free, is it?


So. . . here's what I propose. First thing: we reposition everything.

Even if you've got a good system, you can screw it up if you approach it wrong. Here in America we shouldn't even be CONSIDERING having votes that involve denying people rights that others share, but it happens, doesn't it?


That's where I want to start. We have lots of things we can do before voting. . . everything from arbitration to keeping unreasonable people away from negotiations to bringing in third parties to . . . all kinds of things. If group A wants to build a bridge and group B wants to preserve the land let's stop talking about the bridge and start talking about what group A wants to accomplish and what group B wants to protect. Is there some way this could actually be done in a way that benefits rather than harming whatever group B wants to protect? Is there a resource or transportation issue that group A is some third party could supplement just to prevent the conflict? (we hire for that trait!)

Why are they talking about this at all? Are there other options? Who is passionate about the topic? What else are they passionate about? Can we offer them an even better life in exchange for not creating the conflict to begin with?


I want to be more creative.

Voting should be the last resort.

That gets us part of the way there . . . but I really haven't talked very specifically about what traits we're hiring for or really hit on a set of principles. That's because I hate having to do that sort of thing. . . I think that we should do something more collaborative. . but I'll put something here just to help illustrate things.


The whole point is that we want to hire people who are enthusiastic, positive, willing to learn, plays well with others, and generally is the sort who won't require us to write a whole bunch of rules around them. We'll set up a basic set of principles that is a sort of low bar but one that also points the arrow in a generally awesome direction (think Kaylee and Wash from Firefly . . . but better!), but let's treat his like an illustration, okay? I'm pretty sure this bit can be improved.

  1. Nobody has any power over anybody else without consent . . and that consent is immediately revokeable (everybody gets a 'safe word' for life)
  2. Use your mind responsibly . . . value logic and reason, think critically, and apply higher standards for evidence the more you may be influencing others (we want people who are totally cool believing in crazy things but are excited when the real world teaches them something new)
  3. Do useful things . . . sure, we all get our breaks and vacations . . . but everybody should have a purpose of some sort and be trying to do useful things (or be in discovery/training to do so)
  4. Be nice: Kindness is one of our greatest virtues . . . we're not hiring people who are okay with ruining other people's days.

And. . that's it. Four. I think in combination they get us the sort of person we need to serve as the productivity engine for this endeavor who won't ruin things, right?

I figure we've got a recruitment pool in the hundreds of millions at a minimum once we hit the third world with those standards. . . I see no reason to lower them until we run out of people who can act like civilized adults. . if ever. After all, we gain serious advantages of not having to design around them and deal with them all the time.


Now, that doesn't mean we can't be forgiving. . . in fact as far as I'm concerned we're all broken toys who've been (scientifically verifiably) slightly twisted by the horrifying defaults that have been presented to us and the options we are given. Sure, some of us are better than others . . . but how much of that is really environmental? If we're adhering to our own principles (all four!) then we should be giving EVERYBODY a chance to join us.

All of the humans. Every single one. Even the ones we might not like.

I think we're in the wrong business if we think other way.

We don't care about religion or any otherwise dangerous 'hot button' issue because we're not giving people who can't be reasonable and behave like a civilized adult the chance to play with us.


That, combined with the fact that we can fire any asshats that try to sneak in and won't at least TRY to play nice, pretty much makes ideological hot button issues not our problem.

So. . we've set the stage where at least we've got people who are expected to act like civilized adults (and presumably have no difficulty doing so. . otherwise they won't get to hang with the rest of us), and we're planting the 'anything but voting' seed, right?

Illustration for article titled Roads less traveled and problems uncreated [A Biggish Idea #6]

Here's my proposal:

When we get started we pick three voting-type systems and everybody uses all three of them to vote on which one we use for issues that end up needing an individual corporate-nation-wide vote.


And every five years. . we do it again.

Meanwhile, groups are free to decide to use a different system to mediate between themselves, even if it's a completely different system.


Everything else. . from resource distribution to economic systems to extra principles to basically everything else? That's up to the groups. We'll make sure it's all up there out in the open when you join and once you're in you guys can all change it as you see fit.

And then, every year (or something), everybody gets to choose where they want to be (among the places that are expanding) and among a multitude of other options. We can even use a point-buy type system to encourage people to choose low-resource rewards over higher ones (mutual min-maxing FTW!)


So. .something like this. A character builder, but for life.

Illustration for article titled Roads less traveled and problems uncreated [A Biggish Idea #6]

It's a bit of a crazy stab at things, but I think it gets the general idea across, right?

Before we move on, I'd like to hit on ONE more thing. The stuff we're ignoring.

You haven't heard a word about religion yet, or culture, or marriage, hardly even any politics really. . . heck, I haven't complained much at all about the world as it is.


And that's very deliberate. That's another part of why we succeed. You get caught up in those things and eventually you're playing the game by rules that gives the worst of us all the advantage. We're hiring better people, and using that moment of hiring to grant them something that's better than citizenship and makes it largely irrelevant.

We're not fighting against anything.

We defeat war by recruiting all the people who can get along away from all the people who can't. We destroy it by removing the need for it, draining it of soldiers, stealing factory workers who create weapons, and using our purchasing power to acquire everything from rare materials to use elsewhere to nuclear bombs to make safe power plants to help us to energy independence.


We defeat starvation and structural violence by not just giving food and shelter to those in need, but by turning them into the best motivated productive force in the world.

This idea is good in our hands. . GREAT in Kelvin Doe's . . . and incomprehensibly beautiful in the hands of orphans and refugees.


So how about we start drafting up an actual corporation that does this? One that would be not just friendly to venture capitalists and foundations but one that exploits our power of humanization to take all their money?

Because yeah, that's what's next in: Awesome, Incorporated.

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