What is to be done differently?

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
I know you guys are all itching to keep track of the web3 political sphere, so I present you with the following. This is slated to be published in the first issue of the Sapien "Metaverse Newspaper" (not sure if they're gonna go with that title). This is pretty much aimed at the technical audience of the DAO space, so it takes a bit for granted in terms of reader knowledge.

For context, I'm on the treasury board for Lobby3, an impact advocacy consultation DAO founded by Andrew Yang, who is more of a figurehead than an internal DAO operator. Lobby3 is already working with two lobbying/advocacy groups, one with more of a social/economic impact mission, one being more focused DAO legal entity legislation.

Recently a paper co-written by Vitalik Buterin (founder of the Ethereum blockchain), Puja Ohlhaver, and Glen Weyl (author of Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society), has coalesced a movement toward "decentralized society" IE an ecosystem of social institutions built out of open-source code atop distributed ledgers.

Bonus points for whoever gets the reference made by the title.


WHAT IS TO BE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

REFLECTIONS on the EARLY STAGES
of METAGOVERNANCE
in DECENTRALIZED SOCIETY.

By
Spencer Saar Cavanaugh
(Clinamenic.eth)




The individual mind is immanent but not only in the body.
It is immanent also in pathways and messages outside the body;
and there is a larger mind of which the individual mind is only a sub-system.


Gregory Bateson, Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture 1970



While the vision may date back further in the minds of some prescient few, more recently there has been a gradual mass realization unfolding, a realization that we are indeed working to redefine society at local and global scales.

If we define society as an ecosystem of social institutions cross-populated by social actors, and if we equate DAOs to on-chain social institutions, then this vision of a decentralized society has already been realized to some young extent. While certain technological advances, such as the Zodiac expansion pack for DAOs, should help us progressively decentralize in terms of infrastructure, I suspect such advances will not suffice if we are to make any sufficiently meaningful changes to society.

If we want to “build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” we will need more than a technological movement - we will need a psychological one as well. We will need to demonstrate how the incentive mechanisms of decentralized society better align individual interests with local collective interests, and global collective interests. This change ultimately needs to happen in our minds, to change how we go about the pursuit of fulfillment.

Technological innovation aside, we are arguably in a unique position, culturally, to administer this change. Specifically, the isolation and alienation experienced during lockdown, by the relatively lucky among us, has driven what seems to be another pandemic unto itself, one of depression and neuroticism. Those of us who have experienced these things can testify to how prone one can become to getting stuck in their own mind, constantly preoccupied with concerns and anxieties that keep one’s attention fixed on oneself. This mass solipsism has been a trend for longer than lockdown has exacerbated it, but lockdown seems to have amplified it enough to leave us not only wanting something different, but willing to actually do something differently.

One way to address this sense of isolation is to genuinely invest your attention in other people, to actively listen to them. Conversely, one may feel more heard as a result of being treated this way, and less alone.

How does this relate to decentralized society and incentive mechanism design? If we are trying to build a societal infrastructure that actually lets us look out for our own good as a species, without encroaching upon the sovereignty of the individual, we will not only need tools to better enable community-managed capital, but we will also need to better relate to one another.

On a technical level, there are innovations taking shape which arguably point us to a possible synthesis of the two great models for society at scale: communism and capitalist liberal democracy. The former can be seen as one extreme, with a totalitarian state as a central planner, while the latter can be seen as the other extreme, with a neoliberal obsession around individual sovereignty. The former sought to abolish private capital, while the latter has insisted that free markets around private capital can create a better society than any interventionist central planner could.

While the above characterizations may be too simplistic and generalizing, the point is to illustrate a dialectical opportunity which may be rendered more feasible by distributed ledger technology. Namely, the publicly verifiable automation of administrative operations, via smart contracts, may allow communities to better control assets. Here, the community is a middle ground between the totalitarian state and the individual. That is, between totalitarian communism and neoliberal capitalism, there may be an opportunity for a communitarian capitalism, whereby communities, as on-chain social institutions operated by empathic individuals, can be more politically and economically enabled to exert influence on their surrounding ecosystem of other such institutions.

If we are to reconcile the interests of the individual with the interests of the community within which the individual belongs, we may also need to bear in mind the community analogue of empathy. That is, if empathy can enable a community of individuals to arrive at decisions that address the shared interests of the individuals, communities themselves will also need to be able to arrive at public policy decisions that address the shared interests of the communities. Here there are three levels of decision-making entities: the individual, the local community, and the ecosystem; none can be understood outside of the context of the others, and finding ways to reconcile individual, local and global interests is arguably the purpose of statecraft and public policy. Totalitarian communism and capitalist liberal democracy have been the two largest examples of attempts to reconcile these interests, and now we may have an opportunity to learn from both attempts, and utilize a new set of tools, as we continue to explore and engineer decentralized society.

To be sure, reconciling the interests of hundreds of millions of individuals is no simple feat, and to expect technology alone to address it is naive at best. We don’t need a perfect reconciliation, we just need a better reconciliation, one that does well what the current system does well, while also addressing the bleak and sour lack of empathy exhibited by the current system, thus making the current system obsolete. Doing so will require leaders of this new age to step outside of their own minds, their own opinions, and listen to others.

To do so may require the disarming of one’s own egoistic preoccupations, in order to grok that one’s own values, which may be shared with others as a basis for a community, are not necessarily universal, nor are they even permanent across one’s own psychological development. These values differ extravagantly, and such difference is the chaotic beauty of our situation as social and conscious biophysical constructs, billions of years in the making. The task of reconciling these values and interests is a profound one, which we each have the empathy within us to undertake.
 
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Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
pretty easy to get the bonus points it's lenin innit, i'm sure everyone here knows lenin had a theremin in his office and played russian folk tunes on it.
Haha yeah I knew I could count on Dissensians to get the Lenin reference. Strange though, because I'm a thoroughgoing capitalist - I just don't think wealth brings deep fulfillment.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Plus I kinda buy the whole vanguard argument, even in the context of web3 Bucky Fuller capitalism.
 

catalog

Well-known member
I know you guys are all itching to keep track of the web3 political sphere, so I present you with the following. This is slated to be published in the first issue of the Sapien "Metaverse Newspaper" (not sure if they're gonna go with that title). This is pretty much aimed at the technical audience of the DAO space, so it takes a bit for granted in terms of reader knowledge.

For context, I'm on the treasury board for Lobby3, an impact advocacy consultation DAO founded by Andrew Yang, who is more of a figurehead than an internal DAO operator. Lobby3 is already working with two lobbying/advocacy groups, one with more of a social/economic impact mission, one being more focused DAO legal entity legislation.

Recently a paper co-written by Vitalik Buterin (founder of the Ethereum blockchain), Puja Ohlhaver, and Glen Weyl (author of Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society), has coalesced a movement toward "decentralized society" IE an ecosystem of social institutions built out of open-source code atop distributed ledgers.

Bonus points for whoever gets the reference made by the title.


WHAT IS TO BE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

REFLECTIONS on the EARLY STAGES
of METAGOVERNANCE
in DECENTRALIZED SOCIETY.

By
Spencer Saar Cavanaugh
(Clinamenic.eth)




The individual mind is immanent but not only in the body.
It is immanent also in pathways and messages outside the body;
and there is a larger mind of which the individual mind is only a sub-system.


Gregory Bateson, Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture 1970



While the vision may date back further in the minds of some prescient few, more recently there has been a gradual mass realization unfolding, a realization that we are indeed working to redefine society at local and global scales.

If we define society as an ecosystem of social institutions cross-populated by social actors, and if we equate DAOs to on-chain social institutions, then this vision of a decentralized society has already been realized to some young extent. While certain technological advances, such as the Zodiac expansion pack for DAOs, should help us progressively decentralize in terms of infrastructure, I suspect such advances will not suffice if we are to make any sufficiently meaningful changes to society.

If we want to “build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” we will need more than a technological movement - we will need a psychological one as well. We will need to demonstrate how the incentive mechanisms of decentralized society better align individual interests with local collective interests, and global collective interests. This change ultimately needs to happen in our minds, to change how we go about the pursuit of fulfillment.

Technological innovation aside, we are arguably in a unique position, culturally, to administer this change. Specifically, the isolation and alienation experienced during lockdown, by the relatively lucky among us, has driven what seems to be another pandemic unto itself, one of depression and neuroticism. Those of us who have experienced these things can testify to how prone one can become to getting stuck in their own mind, constantly preoccupied with concerns and anxieties that keep one’s attention fixed on oneself. This mass solipsism has been a trend for longer than lockdown has exacerbated it, but lockdown seems to have amplified it enough to leave us not only wanting something different, but willing to actually do something differently.

One way to address this sense of isolation is to genuinely invest your attention in other people, to actively listen to them. Conversely, one may feel more heard as a result of being treated this way, and less alone.

How does this relate to decentralized society and incentive mechanism design? If we are trying to build a societal infrastructure that actually lets us look out for our own good as a species, without encroaching upon the sovereignty of the individual, we will not only need tools to better enable community-managed capital, but we will also need to better relate to one another.

On a technical level, there are innovations taking shape which arguably point us to a possible synthesis of the two great models for society at scale: communism and capitalist liberal democracy. The former can be seen as one extreme, with a totalitarian state as a central planner, while the latter can be seen as the other extreme, with a neoliberal obsession around individual sovereignty. The former sought to abolish private capital, while the latter has insisted that free markets around private capital can create a better society than any interventionist central planner could.

While the above characterizations may be too simplistic and generalizing, the point is to illustrate a dialectical opportunity which may be rendered more feasible by distributed ledger technology. Namely, the publicly verifiable automation of administrative operations, via smart contracts, may allow communities to better control assets. Here, the community is a middle ground between the totalitarian state and the individual. That is, between totalitarian communism and neoliberal capitalism, there may be an opportunity for a communitarian capitalism, whereby communities, as on-chain social institutions operated by empathic individuals, can be more politically and economically enabled to exert influence on their surrounding ecosystem of other such institutions.

If we are to reconcile the interests of the individual with the interests of the community within which the individual belongs, we may also need to bear in mind the community analogue of empathy. That is, if empathy can enable a community of individuals to arrive at decisions that address the shared interests of the individuals, communities themselves will also need to be able to arrive at public policy decisions that address the shared interests of the communities. Here there are three levels of decision-making entities: the individual, the local community, and the ecosystem; none can be understood outside of the context of the others, and finding ways to reconcile individual, local and global interests is arguably the purpose of statecraft and public policy. Totalitarian communism and capitalist liberal democracy have been the two largest examples of attempts to reconcile these interests, and now we may have an opportunity to learn from both attempts, and utilize a new set of tools, as we continue to explore and engineer decentralized society.

To be sure, reconciling the interests of hundreds of millions of individuals is no simple feat, and to expect technology alone to address it is naive at best. We don’t need a perfect reconciliation, we just need a better reconciliation, one that does well what the current system does well, while also addressing the bleak and sour lack of empathy exhibited by the current system, thus making the current system obsolete. Doing so will require leaders of this new age to step outside of their own minds, their own opinions, and listen to others.

To do so may require the disarming of one’s own egoistic preoccupations, in order to grok that one’s own values, which may be shared with others as a basis for a community, are not necessarily universal, nor are they even permanent across one’s own psychological development. These values differ extravagantly, and such difference is the chaotic beauty of our situation as social and conscious biophysical constructs, billions of years in the making. The task of reconciling these values and interests is a profound one, which we each have the empathy within us to undertake.
just dont thikn it's possible tbh specifically this bit which is almost snuck in but is actually massive and impossible imo

"One way to address this sense of isolation is to genuinely invest your attention in other people, to actively listen to them. Conversely, one may feel more heard as a result of being treated this way, and less alone."
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Yeah the attempt here is to strike a certain emotional chord, in the interest of fueling a cultural shift toward community-based thinking.

To me this actually gets at the philosophic premise of communism invoking the dissolution or at least backgrounding of the ego, a transition from individualism to communitarianism. That said, it’s no simple transition, and arguably requires a sort of paradigm shift in one’s mind, an internal hero’s journey
 

version

Well-known member
If we want to “build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” we will need more than a technological movement - we will need a psychological one as well.

I think if the technology's successful the psychological change will happen regardless. The technology shapes the psychology.
 

version

Well-known member
How does that refute my point? I didn't say anything about good or bad psychology, just psychology.

Look at the influence 24 hour news, Twitter, Instagram and so on have had. You don't think that technology's shaped the way people think?
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
I think if the technology's successful the psychological change will happen regardless. The technology shapes the psychology.
To a degree I agree here, but I suspect that a lot of this new tech, EG DeFi, will just add to the toolbox of solely profit-maximizing actors. Not a very controversial claim, and indeed it’s already happening, hence the rallying call to approach this tech with a preemptive psychological shift - even engineering this tech with such things in mind. That’s what Sapien is doing. Building out a platform with these values in mind.
 

catalog

Well-known member
Er, I mean like I don't think the technology influences the psychology. I mean like money is more important. If you have it first I mean.
 

version

Well-known member
Er, I mean like I don't think the technology influences the psychology. I mean like money is more important. If you have it first I mean.

You could just say food or water is more important if you're going to take that route, seems unnecessarily reductive.
 

version

Well-known member
The other thing to consider is whether you can ever really predict how the technology will shape psychology. You might think you can, building things in you think will get a certain response, but once it's out there it can take on a life of its own.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
The other thing to consider is whether you can ever really predict how the technology will shape psychology. You might think you can, building things in you think will get a certain response, but once it's out there it can take on a life of its own.
Exactly, and that is the art/science of mechanism design. No accounting fully for how it’s adopted, but we can bear in mind more than we could in previous eras, which isn’t worth nothing
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Er, I mean like I don't think the technology influences the psychology. I mean like money is more important. If you have it first I mean.
Yeah my point is along these lines too. The major asset managers and financial stakeholders are getting more and more exposure to crypto markets, and are using the same precarious methods which threaten to drag along the whole market, EG Three Arrows Capital, which likely employed over leveraged investments.

And I understand why. Beyond just profit maximizing for oneself, there is then the fiduciary imperative of maximizing profits for clients - which is perhaps a stronger motivation than the former, all the more so if personal profit is predicated on it.
 

version

Well-known member
What I'm saying though is that the technology itself will shape the psychology, regardless of other factors also shaping psychology.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
What I'm saying though is that the technology itself will shape the psychology, regardless of other factors also shaping psychology.
Yeah I don't disagree, and I think you and I are on the same page that such influence isn't unilateral or exclusive, but rather multi-directional and plural.

But I agree. If/when distributed ledgers start underpinning the online social platforms people use, our way of thinking could change dramatically, in light of the data itself being publicly auditable. It may hold people to higher levels of accountability, hopefully.
 

version

Well-known member
... hold people to higher levels of accountability...

"Corruption has in many ways become the defining issue of the 21st century, just as the 20th century was characterised by large ideological struggles between democracy, fascism and communism. Today a majority of the world’s nations accept the legitimacy of democracy and at least pretend to hold competitive elections. What really distinguishes political systems from one another is the degree to which the elites ruling them seek to use their power in the service of a broad public interest or simply to enrich themselves, their friends and their families."

Fukuyama on corruption
 
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