Open Source Economy of Affection

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Introduction

This is a term congruent with the principles of the Open Source Economy - emphasizing that the product of a sound economy should be improved relationships, not capital, where capital is simply a byproduct of good relations, as opposed to capital being a destroyer of happiness. See also Gross National Happiness.

See Wendell Berry's notes on the economy of affection -

http://irjci.blogspot.com/2012/04/wendell-berry-in-national-lecture-calls.html

And another:

http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/wendell-e-berry-lecture

Evolution

The concept was first documented by Chayanov, a Russian revolutionary, and the specific term was first used by Göran Hydén. See Economy of Affection on Wikipedia.

In the digital age, open source sharing of information is the enabler of unleashed productivity. For the first time in history - humanity has a good chance of transcending Artificial Scarcity by means of advanced, appropriate, open source technology. Eradication of artificial scarcity implies reduction of Competitive Waste. Open source hardware is seen by OSE as the critical enabler of the economy of affection in the information age. Thus, in the digital age - we propose a more precise form of the concept: Open Source Economy of Affection.

OSE Case

OSE asks - how do we solve all of the pressing world issues without leaving anyone behind?. Our vision is Collaborative design for a transparent and inclusive economy of abundance. Starting at the level of material abundance. Abundance is a rigorous requirement. Abundance has less to do with long-haired drum circles, but more with the discipline of attaining industrial productivity on a small scale.

Employment

We ask - Is it possible that the norm becomes the self-determination - typically associated with honest entrepreneurship - rather than employment - which is frequently associated with wage slavery? We believe that wage slavery should be the exception, not the norm. See How Many People Love Their Jobs?

The industry standard is to hire employees - and managers and workers are not encouraged to be friends.

How do we shift this from a capitalistic mindset to one of the Economy of Affection? Is it possible to set up the livelihood dynamic where self-determination and friendship are the norm?

And once we attain self-determination: how to align people to do good work as opposed to people going off-mission?

Practical Experiment

OSE is embarking on a design incentive challenge where the goal is to create 100 part time Un-jobs as a result of the challenge. The challenge results in Extreme Manufacturing operations for a professional grade, open source cordless drill. The outcome is intended to be either part time or full time engagement. The intended time for the 100 un-job startup is at the conclusion of judging for the challenge - where a winner is selected, and relationships with distribution are already established so that the 100 winners set up operations within a month or 2 of startup time. As one case - there may have to be an immersion training course - perhaps 2 weeks - where we all meet - and then another 2 weeks is committed to setting up efficient production. Ideally, there is a $3k startup cost that is either provides via the Incentive Challenge reward - or perhaps as pre-orders from the distribution partners.

Critical questions are:

  1. How to set this up so that it is based on fully open collaboration - and the collaborators buy in to the culture of working openly? What type of vetting is required for potential collaborators? Is there a trial period? How does McDonalds do it, and what do we learn from McDonalds?
  2. If we promote self-determination - how do we select people who actually contribute to the forward motion of OSE without being alienated? Do we force a certain level of collaboration, or do we make that voluntary? How to structure the job duties so that they are fulfilling to the collaborators - while moving forward OSE's open source blueprints for civilization?
  3. How to maintain proper incentive structure so that the collaborators are truly developers?
  4. Is it possible that we are all friends - not employees where people trust the boss less than they trust strangers? #Can selection for cultural alignment also serve as a selection for friendship?
  5. Of course the answer is yes to everything - but how do we architect the structures so that we achieve the desired goals?

Possible Solutions

The first solution for alignment (non-alienation from work) is efficiency afforded by the Extreme Manufacturing process. If people spend only a small fraction of their time - the concept is that we feel greatly rewarded - and we convert that activity to a source of inspiration.

But this requires a mindset as described in Curious?. Collaborators must find meaning in joining the movement by prioritizing open source development work over other attractive opportunities. This requires a special person. Is it possible to find such people, or do we assume that few people will have such alignment, and business structures instead fill the void of mission alignment? Certainly we can offer training in establishing a mindset of self-esteem, collaboration, and curiosity. Such a program of continuing education will require deliberate effort?

In summary, we must invest sufficient resources into distributed productivity - but also - we must invest signficantly in continuing education for cultural alignement.

How does this play out in practice.