Monday, January 26, 2015

Distributed Autonomous Corporations (DACS)

The problem with the Aeon article linked below is that this software approach to add a layer of more egalitarian abstraction to currency creation, as well as translation, does nothing to address the more fundamental problems that Capitalism faces in the age of electrified information networks. It does this because the mind set behind it still seeks to preserve the essence of what Capitalism is: A product of late sixteenth, and early seventeenth, century typographic thinking.

This is the kind of thinking that turned feudal Europe, where formerly oral agrarians, spread out across productive land, produced everything they needed themselves, into centralized aggregates of specialized production; basically how social organization became chained not only to the factory, but the abstraction of currency in the first place. It certainly produced substantial material gain, as well as an explosion in the ability to gain further productive knowledge, but make no mistake, we had to pay dearly for it.

For all that the Libertarians complain about too much government, would it have evolved to nearly such extremes if private interest, and the ability to accumulate through net gain, hadn't also gone too far? And now that information and money are the same thing because of electrified information systems, Democracy itself becomes impossible; precisely because you can't ensure for a truly informed electorate when nobody gives anything away any more unless they expect a great deal more in return.

I understand that these visionaries are trying to ameliorate at least a part of the problem of the centralization of power, but they miss out completely on the more essential aspects of what makes a social organization viable in the first place. The age old questions of not only who makes important productive decisions, but on how we distribute both the gains accrued, as well as the responsibilities required to keep it going.

Poverty forced collectivism at the point of gun certainly didn't work. Not only because of how repressive such systems had to be, but also because they too couldn't see past using a specialized, commercial form of production. These were centrally planned, factory economies, but they still ran on specialized labor, and a currency to translate one skill into another. The fact that they also lacked, for the most part, sufficiently advanced industry and technical capability, only made the situation much worse.

But if the internet has taught us anything, with all of the "do it yourself" help sites, as well as the democratization of manufacture itself via 3D printing, it ought to be a visceral understanding that we don't need the extreme emphasis of specialization now, any more than we need abstract counters to force others to do things we find distasteful. 

The fact is, there is a way we could organize into semi-autonomous city states; self governed units where we share the load of what has to be done to support it. Entities that orient production towards making the basics of most of the things we need or desire in life, and from which each individual, using his or her equity share of same, builds what required end use items themselves.

It is, in other words, time to completely rethink how we go about the social coordination of what is produced, and how that production is consumed. Attacking one part of the problem, even with very clever software, just isn't going to cut it.


Distributed Autonomous Corporations (DACS) will see cloud robots manage supply chains free from direct human supervision. Photo by Gallery Stock