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GiveAndTake for our endeavors, including Mornflake's

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    I m designing an economic system for our lab s internal work and also our interaction with other networks. I m reading through John Roger s draft (February,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 8, 2009
      I'm designing an economic system for our lab's internal work and also
      our interaction with other networks. I'm reading through John Roger's
      draft (February, 2008) "Flying to the Future", The Community Currency
      Design Manual.

      John Rogers leads Cyfranogi http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cyfranogi/ for
      community currency, alternate economy, participatory society and also
      consults http://www.valueforpeople.co.uk

      I will think-out-loud. I appreciate your thoughts and everybody's as
      well, especially those who might participate.

      John, thank you for suggesting http://www.community-exchange.org I've
      submitted my registration there for Minciu Sodas as a math tutor, open
      source software developer and online community organizer. But I do want
      an economic solution custom made for our lab's work, which I think about
      below.

      John, you offer the practical question, "What is the purpose of any
      currency?" Your manual elaborates:
      Who wants to set up a CC?
      Why do we want to start a CC?
      What do we want to achieve with a CC?
      Where do we want the CC to operate?
      When and for how long do we want it to be operational?
      How should we design it?

      And you give the metaphor of passengers flying on a plane:
      Who wants to fly?
      Why do they want to fly?
      What do they want to achieve by flying?
      What's the weather like?
      Where do they want to fly?
      When do they want to fly?
      How should they fly?

      Here's my understanding of what I want for Minciu Sodas participants and
      others we engage:
      * Encourage our gift economy rather than erode it. Our gift economy is
      quite strong, tens of thousands of dollars per year, including the gifts
      of paid work, loans and donations.
      * Focus on supporting each other's endeavors (what people want to
      achieve) rather than property (what people are free to do with as they
      like). See our list at: http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Endeavors
      * Encourage people to look beyond their own endeavors and resources, and
      consider helping each other to advance all of our endeavors.
      * Develop a culture where exchange is a practical way to embolden us to
      invest ourselves in each other's endeavors and that investment is valued
      more than any particular exchange.
      * Foster a preference for co-investment, or at least, identify and
      support those who are willing to do work they normally wouldn't do with
      the understanding that the overall system will further their endeavors.
      * Make explicit the possible and actual exchanges so that all can
      appreciate how we might benefit by doing work we normally wouldn't do.
      * Leverage cash inputs by catalyzing with them as many non-cash
      exchanges as possible and by applying them in ways that strengthen our
      culture and infrastructure.
      * Foster an understanding that participants may and should profit in a
      variety of ways, including part-time work-for-pay for making a living,
      deliverables for businesses which profit from them, and work for me (or
      other organizers) that might typically equal the work-for-pay that we
      provide for teams.
      * Encourage Minciu Sodas workers to develop and advance their personal
      endeavors, to foster their own self-direction and to ever leverage that
      in work they do for Minciu Sodas.
      * Identify those who are willing to commit to work and help them by
      actively brokering such commitments.

      (I invite our views, What do we want, as passengers and pilots?)

      A good example of that culture at work is my collaboration this year
      with our long term online assistant Sasha Mrkailo, his wife Zdenka
      Mrkailo, and artist Ana Ilic, who all live in Sombor, Serbia. Sasha has
      played a key role in My Food Story http://www.myfoodstory.com
      (collecting 1,200+ stories for $1 each), our Global Utopias video
      bridges, our Pyramid of Peace http://www.pyramidofpeace.com and other
      projects. But I care that he develop his own activities by which he
      might be an example and a leader in our culture. If he only does
      "piece-work", then I should invest myself in other workers who are
      potential leaders. I took a bus from Bosnia to Serbia to visit Sasha
      and Zdenka for the New Year's holiday. We realized that it would be
      good for them and for me to encourage Zdenka to develop her life's
      work. She makes her own clothes and is interested in fashion design.
      At their favorite cafe, I engaged the owner who introduced us to Ana
      Ilic, an artist and fashion designer. I suggested that they develop
      "Public Domain Fashion" and they took to the idea. On the basis of this
      endeavor, I was able to invite Zdenka and Ana to London for the COMMUNIA
      meeting. This life-changing trip broadened their horizons and gave
      momentum to their businesses. I ended up contributing from my own
      pocket about 2,000 USD for our London meeting (Samwel Kongere, Rachel
      Kungu, Zenonas Anusauskas, Irena Buinickaite also came). Fortunately
      for me, we got to meet twice with Leon Benjamin
      http://www.winningbysharing.net for whom we're now working to engage UK
      online communities on behalf of Mornflake cereal
      http://www.mornflake.com and their online video contest
      http://www.mornflakecompetition.com I also benefited greatly when Tomas
      Cepaitis and Vygantas Vejas invited me to do an art show at the UMI
      gallery in the Uzhupis Republic, which expanded my understanding of my
      own life. I made seven paintings of Ana based on photos and videos that
      Zdenka and Sasha made, as well as Jovita Valaityte who did a fashion
      shoot with them in London, for free. Thank you also to those who hosted
      us in London, and many others who helped, all for free. These last
      weeks, Sasha has done a lot of great work for Mornflake and Scotland
      Cleantech at lower rates than others, making up for obstacles others
      faced, and I have given him more work than others. This is all our gift
      economy at work.

      I want to encourage this dynamic by making explicit how we can help each
      other, not just in the narrow sense of a tit-for-tat exchange, but
      focusing more on the bigger picture. For example, Peter Burgess
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?PeterBurgess
      has written more than 100 letters to our groups. I've created wiki
      pages that note his leadership in endeavors:
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?CommunityAccountancy
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Accountability
      and there can be more (and these pages can be edited), and also his
      support of endeavors:
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Malaria
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Internet
      which can also be edited.

      WendiLosheBernadette is asking for money or paid work that she and
      Actwid Kongadzem might do from Cameroon. And we have other requests
      from Kenya, where I have money ready and the projects could be as small
      as we like, even 5 USD.

      I want a system where it's clear to us who is ready to work together in
      what ways. Would Peter provide 10 USD or 100 USD to work with somebody
      in Africa to test out his ideas? Or if somebody else provided that
      money, would he mentor and manage our worker in Africa? Might he also
      be willing to work on other endeavors, for example, as a researcher for
      Cleantech Scotland? Would he like paid work? An affirmative answer to
      ANY of these makes him relevant for the Minciu Sodas economy. A negative
      answer to ALL of these means, for our economy, that he's a fan but not a
      team player. I want to know who are our team players so that we can
      play our game! If we all play in our modest ways, and we are willing to
      play in response to each other, then a lot of opportunities open up.

      If we can have such a system, then I can fuel it with money. Currently,
      I can provide 500 GBP for our work for Mornflake and 200 USD for our
      work for Stuart Oliver's Cleantech Scotland. I don't want to give this
      out as paid work, but rather I want to support a "game" or "plane" for
      all of our endeavors.

      In my work for Leon Benjamin and Mornflake cereal, my plan is to reach
      out to the most responsive UK online communities and offer them 50 GBP
      worth of credit in this system for their endeavors. We would include
      their endeavors and those of their participants. They can ask Sasha
      Mrkailo, Thomas Chepaitis, Fred Kayiwa, Dennis Kimambo and others to do
      online chores for them, including researching, translating, outreach,
      editing wikis. They can ask others who might do software development.
      They can give donations for endeavors in Africa. In each case, I want
      the credits to link endeavors to endeavors.

      I will try the following simple system. At our wiki, for individuals I
      will add fields "MightGive=" and "MightTake=" which might include
      PaidWork but also various skills. And for endeavors I will add a field
      "GiveAndTake=" where we can document how an endeavor has shared or
      exchanged resources with other endeavors. I think this is a good first
      step to making explicit how we might work together. Which endeavors are
      most vital? most central? Which individuals are key to linking our
      endeavors?

      Using our wiki this way has the advantage that it doesn't require
      registration (which is difficult for me to support, but also doesn't
      reflect the fact that many of our participants have irregular online
      participation and need others who can act on their behalf). It also
      lets us look back and document all of the help that we've given each
      other, in general, for each endeavor, without having to think in terms
      of exchanges and values. I hope that the result is that the matchmaking
      possibilities in my own mind become explicit and inspire and merge with
      all of ours. Then we can make sure that we're acknowledging those who
      are helping and support their endeavors and share resources with them.

      See the lists that I've started:
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?GiveAndTake

      And here's a sample entry which illustrates our gift economy and why we
      shouldn't try too hard to force it into an exchange system, but we
      should be creative in encouraging give-and-take:

      GiveAndTake for the endeavor PavasrioDarbai, (EndeavorSummary: Organize
      an art exhibit at UMI in the UzhupisRepublic to present and embolden
      AndriusKulikauskas as an artist and painter.)
      "ThomasChepaitis and VygantasVejas encouraged and invited
      AndriusKulikauskas to do an art show at the UMI gallery in
      UzhupisRepublic. Andrius paid only 100 LTL per week for three weeks for
      electricity etc. for the gallery space. Andrius also provided Vygantas
      with 200 LTL of work for help consulting and putting up the exhibit.
      Andrius's parents and artist friends JonasKulikauskas, AlgirdasZokaitis
      and AlbinasMarkevicius provided key encouragement. Andrius first showed
      posters made from drawings that he made of his math students in Bosnia
      as they took his exams. ZdenkaMrkailo and SashaMrkailo then provided
      photos and video of AnaIlic who modeled as a problem-solving muse for
      Andrius's paintings. Andrius sent Zdenka and Ana 100 euros. Andrius
      worked on-site and engaged the youth, provided art supplies for
      visitors, and signed up about 50 for ThomasChepaitis's working group
      Zmoniskai and KennedyOwino's NafsiAfrikaSaana. Uzhupis artists embraced
      and encouraged Andrius. Andrius provided ice cream at the two openings
      instead of the traditional alcohol. KazysAlmenas The band IKuna played
      for free at the second opening. Andrius had earlier given them a drawing
      of the band. Andrius's father EdmundasKulikauskas loved them and got
      their phone number for events he might organize. Anuk from Belgium
      helped him carry his largest work around the city of Vilnius for a four
      hours photo shoot. The city of Vilnius gave him a permit. Ruta's young
      daughter posed for eight oil pastel drawings and her four-year-old son,
      Andrius's god son, drew a key picture that inspired Andrius's paintings.
      Ruta agreed to take Andrius's works for permanent display at a gallery
      she will open at her ecocottage in the village of Marcinkonys. A young
      man hanging out helped Andrius carry the largest work onto the train.
      Andrius gave him 20 LTL instead of 3 LTL. The train conductor allowed
      Andrius to transport the work and didn't charge him extra. Andrius spent
      about 2000 USD on the exhibit and donated the remaining art supplies to
      Vygantas and Ruta. Andrius provided paid work for ThomasChepaitis on the
      Mornflake project. Andrius's client LeonBenjamin for Mornflake
      encouraged Andrius "I love your art work".

      I also want to support our online leaders, especially those are
      thinking-out-loud, pursuing investigations and their working groups. I
      want to provide them (Franz Nahrada, Janet Feldman, Edward Cherlin,
      Pamela McLean...) with online assistants (like Thomas Chepaitis, Fred
      Kayiwa, Dennis Kimambo) whom I would pay modest stipends to. That would
      pour fuel on our fires!

      I appreciate our thoughts and also I encourage us to write, what might
      we give and take, and what endeavors do we want to pursue and how might
      we help other people's endeavors?

      This is very relevant for our Mornflake outreach. I'm trying to show UK
      online communities that we can provide them with resources, as described
      above, if they simply are happy that, in our lab's communications at
      their sites, we may acknowledge Mornflake's support just as we point to
      our own efforts and endeavors. My point is that, if we consciously
      appreciate Mornflake's support that we help each other, then it's better
      for Mornflake to support us then to promote itself. That's a radical
      shift in the use of marketing resources that could work for many clients
      and fuel endless amounts of outreach and online infrastructure.

      Tomorrow, I plan to start engaging UK communities. How might we
      synergize with them?

      P.S. In the future, we might try to link John Rogers's design approach
      (which I like) with John Caswell's business problem-solving approach
      (which I also like).

      Andrius

      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      http://www.ms.lt
      ms@...
      +370 699 30003
      Vilnius, Lithuania
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