Suhit and Andrius chat about community currency
- Suhit Anantula is a social entrepreneur who is becoming more active at
our lab. See his Blog on Rural India http://www.worldisgreen.com/ As
we're organizing our OpenPeople, all kinds of ideas are coming up. One
is that people can approach us to pass on (through the Public Domain)
letters that they want to share with various groups. If we have several
people at a group, we can ask, who might be the logical person?
One way to think of this is to ask, "who would be best to bother?" This
is often not such a difficult question to decide, we do this often from
a gut feeling with regard to each other. We can learn to make that
explicit. For example, at my most recent contracting job, the big
question was, should I err on the side of doing more work, or less work?
Well, do they prefer I save their time, or their money? It's a
delicate question, but in this case I realized he would be happy if I
could save him time. So for our bosses it could go either way - our
time may be more valuable than theirs, or the other way around. My
grandmother's time is, for me, more valuable than mine, and so is my
goddaughter's. These are people on my list to "make time for" even if I
don't see them often. Other people, like my parents, I try to defer to,
but keep close to the "our time is equal" line so we don't have
troubles. At our lab, people who are organizers, I consider equals.
People who are not organizers, I think my time is more valuable, and as
a shared wealth, we have to leverage that, leverage the other people I
know. People I make an effort to help or mentor, I expect they need to
put in time to match and exceed what I put in. Generally, I think money
flows from the people who need to be bothered less, to those who can be
bothered more. This may seem counterintuitive. It means that if we
want money, we should try to help save time for those people who have
those streams of money, have that work to do. I think if we are good at
this, then we equalize the wealth, make it available for everybody. We
help people focus on what they need to do, not get bothered in unhelpful
ways. We'll flesh this out, but I think there is something real here,
and the basis for an economic opportunity, and for mobilizing and
sustaining us. Andrius, http://www.ms.lt
Suhit: Hi Andrius
Andrius: Hi Suhit!
Suhit: How are you? :: Is this a good time to chat
Andrius: It's late for me! :: But it's fine, I need to unwind.
Suhit: Ok Lets do it someother time :: Ok as you wish :: How are
things with you?
Andrius: I'm fine. :: How are you?
Suhit: I am doing good. Thanks.
Andrius: Actually, lots of news, I will be writing.
Suhit: That's nice
Andrius: And I got a little bit of web design work :: which I just sent
out. :: So that's a little bit of income, which is very helpful.
Andrius: Have you seen our OpenPeople network?
Suhit: Yes it surely is. :: No
Andrius: http://www.voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?OpenPeople :: The idea is
to be able to mobilize ourselves :: to get things done :: by focusing on
people who allow :: the content they generate :: to be circulated
freely, :: at least the content they generate at the places they
indicate :: when that content does not state otherwise. :: These are
people who naturally end up as :: connectors.
Suhit: This is nice Andrius :: It does get more ideas to be
Andrius: Yes, I invite you to join :: for any places that you might like.
Suhit: I sure will..I mostly write on my weblog
Andrius: For example, you could write: the Blogosphere :: and that
would include not only your weblog, :: but any weblogs that you leave
Suhit: That's a cool idea
Andrius: It looks like it works, too, :: because we can start doing ::
"virtual flash mobs" which we have. :: To help one of us out at an
Suhit: We meet at some online place and then work together ::
collaboration :: but the flash mobs way
Andrius: For example, we helped out Robin Good :: get momentum going at
his website http://www.kolabora.com :: and build a bridge there with
Michael Wolff to encourage :: him to work openly.
Suhit: Great! Kolabora has definately shaped up very well
Andrius: So with the ability to do virtual flash mobs :: we can ask our
participants to list their endeavors :: and we can categorize them ::
and also list out hotspots :: and note their missions, endevaors :: and
organize that, too :: into a directory. :: Then we have people at each
of these hotspots :: we can let people send them mail :: to forward into
those hotspots :: as they think best. :: And the mail goes into the
Public Domain, too.
Suhit: This hot spot is a kind of commonchannel
Andrius: Yes, :: that's why I've been working to figure this out. ::
It came from thinking about social hacking. :: And I realized that
people meeting each other :: is more important than the content :: but
that becomes important, too.
Suhit: That's very true people are more imp [...] I have worked on
developing more knowledge :: and also exploring the community currency
:: and seeing if it makes sense to start that in rural India
Andrius: Oh, you remind me :: I had an idea about alternative currency
:: while talking with John Caswell, and then with Michael Wolff. :: You
see, they are people who I acknowledge :: are more valuable than me ::
in terms of their time. :: In some strange way. :: I know that I may
have to put in more hours than John Caswell does :: in order to work
Suhit: That's interesting
Andrius: Or, for example, Michael Wolff is focusing :: on making
ki-work with a single process owner :: so it's hard for him to deal with
others :: who might be interested but need to be informed. :: Whereas, I
could work openly with the latter :: What that suggests is that, in some
sense, :: one person's time is more valuable than another. :: But what
does that mean? :: Because for different pairs of people :: that
relationship would be different. :: for example, there are surely
children :: who Michael feels are more valuable than they :: than his
time. :: So then I realized that a way to measure this :: for each pair
:: is to ask: for any issue, would I rather they be bothered :: or I be
bothered? :: For example, if you wanted to reach John Caswell :: I'd
feel that it would be better for me to :: have that go through me, and
filtered by me :: than to bother him with a separate channel. :: So in
that sense it's clear that his time is :: more valuable than mine. ::
And so we have a way of pairs of people to :: size themselves up. :: Or
actually, each person can compare themselves :: with others, and see ::
how they rate themselves :: greater than, less than, or equal. :: And
this gives a network of equations. :: And that network does not reduce
to a single dimension like money. :: But it is rather multidimensional,
as alternative currency should be. :: And we can use that to organize
ourselves. :: And also, we can use that to save each other time. :: For
example, we can see that Michael's time is valuable :: and we can do
work for him :: and at some point he can pay us. :: But even before
that, he can run a credit of sorts. :: Because we can have an economy
where we see :: who is helping who :: who is keeping who from being
bothered by who.
Suhit: And thus understand the information and value chains :: in
the network :: This is useful to get things done
Andrius: I think so,
Suhit: actionize it and still maintain a minimum number of optimum
Andrius: and Bala keeps pointing to the importance of exchange, :: but
I like this kind of model :: where it's not straightforward barter ::
but rather an ability to :: actionize :: without figuring out yet ::
exactly who is "paying" for it :: but letting that sort itself out ::
letting us find the earners :: and the spenders. :: And then using money
:: to balance that out, :: which is very different from :: reducing
everything to money. :: Money is just the difference :: it is not the
Suhit: This is interesting :: but Andrius :: this is not easy in
practice and may require :: and immense amount of trust
Andrius: In what sense?
Suhit: Trust in sense of understanding how important :: and how good
the other persons work is :: how by following in this route :: sometime
when after a lot of iterations we start getting :: the knowing of who
earns and spends :: and then getting to monetary payments
Andrius: I like the "who do I bother" test. :: And that points to a
real need :: that people are overwhelmed :: and there is often a reason
for it. :: Also, I like that we are focusing on givers :: by focusing on
the Public Domain :: so all of our people :: have a "trust" :: in terms
of the work that they are generating. :: It's worth more than nothing ::
and they give it away :: so they have our "trust"
Suhit: Yes for Minciu Sodas this is a model which in fact :: may
suit inherently :: because of the background work :: which has been
hapenning for all this time :: My thinking was more general when I put
the question of trust :: But in this case it is different
Andrius: And I spoke with John Caswell :: and I will propose to him ::
a small project to get this going, :: our energy, on behalf of his
consultancy, :: and if all is well, there will be a small project ::
from this. :: But I need to sleep! :: I will share our chat!