Towards an open economy manifesto


There are two very different forms of competition, the get-mine competition which includes the destruction of those we compete against as a "legal move" vs. the grow-ours, which focuses on increasing the capacity of the self absolutely, rather than relatively by putting down the other.

The central purpose of an open economy manifesto is to bridge the gap between those concepts that describe (actually create) the current reality and a set of new concepts that make way for the new reality.  To bridge the gap, we have to start on this side of the bridge and lead people across it for each of those concepts.   So here are some start-from-here, go-to-there steps for such a manifesto:

Growth-> The measure of success of the current economy is growth.  We hear this all the time: "the economic growth has slowed,"  "we need to stimulate the growth of the economy," etc.  The promise of the current economy is that economic growth = increased standard of living.  But we know that infinite growth as commonly conceived is not only impossible, but undesirable.  Cancer is what we call un-fettered cell growth.  The problem is that growth of "standard of living" in the current economy is measured primarily in terms of access to stuff. The open economy is also about growth, but it is about growth patterns of well-being. We won't measure a "standard of living" we'll measure a "pattern of living" or a "quality of living." Patterns, and qualities, these can grow infinitely.  Quantities and resources used cannot.

Competition-> In the open economy, competition is about maximizing our capacity to "grow-ours."  Competition is carried out by self-realization rather than other-defeating.  We can compete fiercely, but we do so by becoming better ourselves, rather than by making the other fail.  Thus the open economy is fundamentally non-violent, but rather than describing it in negative terms, it's better to see it as fundamentally pro-empowerment.  Violence is another word for get-mine competition, because at its heart, that form of competition doesn't see how the other is part of the self, and it is thus subject to destruction.

Wealth-> In the open economy, wealth is not measured by the accumulation of stuff and power, but instead by the accumulation of patterns that generate well-being.  In the current economy money is wealth.  It is the universal medium and holder of stuff and power, the fundamental mechanism that allows for that accumulation of stuff and power.  In the new economy free currencies will become the universal medium for communities to generate new patterns of well-being.  What we accumulate, we do together at the level of patterns and processes that build wealth.  Currencies are the games and agreement structures that encode those patterns, that let us join together in playing the games that yield that well-being. This is why opening money into the realm of meta-currency is central to the open economy.

Finance->  Financing is a group's way of taking a risk that what we want the future to become, will able to pay off the debts of making it happen.  It's how we organize to generate a desired future, taking into account that it doesn't always happen (it's risky), and that to doing so requires pooling and directing resources.  In the current economy this capacity has largely been delegated to the Banks and  Wall Street.  Those institutions are now the primary beneficiaries of when the the future we generate creates more value that it took to organize building, but they simultaneously hold most of the decision making power of what things are worth organizing toward.  The current economy has enclosed financing and the power of financing into these silos.  Even governments, now do all of their financing through Banks.  In the open economy these two powers are pulled out of the silos of the financial institutions and distributed.

Infrastructure-> The current economy, the Capitalist economy, relies on a primary infrastructure: Capital, both in the monetary sense, but also in the Marxist sense of ownership of the "means of production" which includes the factories and the industrial base, but now encompasses the "processes" of production, and the information content of production.  This is why there is so much attention to trade secrets, trade marks, patents, & copyright.  WIth out them, the current economy is not able to function.  The problem is that the properties of "processes" and "information" are not the same as the properties of factories and an industrial base.  In the open economy, we have Open Captial which applies to information and process.  This is the heart of the Open Source software movement which deeply understands that grow-ours is maximized by a different pattern of "ownership", and it is beginning also to catch on in the information content realm (music, arts, books) with Creative Commons licensing.

Regulation-> In the closed economy, where the actors (businesses, financial silos, etc) can clearly distinguish between get-mine and grow-ours competition, and mechanism to prevent the destructiveness of get-mine competition must be in place.  Cells have regulatory mechanisms to prevent themselves from growing to much, lest the turn into the cancer which destroys the host.  What makes the cancer cell cancerous is that it doesn't "see" the body as part of itself.  In the current economy, this regulation has largely been put into the hands of government.  But it too, is siloed there.  In the open economy, the capacity to regulate will also be decentralized and distributed, just as the capacity to finance will be distributed.  The central mechanism for this distribution is via transparency, and feedback loops.  Decentralized and self-regulation happens naturally, when information about what needs regulating is available, and there are mechanisms to accept the regulatory information feed and act on it.  The capacity to create these kind of open feed-back loops is at the heart of the free currencies infrastructure.

What makes all of these transitions possible?  An underlying capacity, the meta-currency capacity of open-transport, open-rules, and open-data.