Open Source Economy of Affection

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The Economy of Affection refers to an economy based on good human relationsips, as opposed to alienating human relationships that are typical of business-as-usual. Economy of affection 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 merely the production of capital. Effective and efficient production is essential to the economy of affection, as a prerequisite to happiness. Thus, terms such as Gross National Happiness are relevant in the Economy of Affection. Thus, the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness can be reframed as pursuit of the open source economy - beyond business-as-usual.


The economy of affection has seen little success to date, because selfish orientation dominated in the 20th century. As society runs into issues associated with runaway capitalism, is becomes apparent that considering others is a good thing. Thus, human and environmental regeneration can once again take hold as a strong pattern. We have seen entire nations and continents - human and wild - trashed by poor management and brutish operating systems. The open and collaborative economy - which is perhaps synonumous with the economy of affection - is a way forward.

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

And another:


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.

The idea is that we convert the scarcity-based business models of typical capitalism into collaborative design for a transparent an inclusive economy of abundance. We envision an economic system that nurtures affection to others and to nature - not one where taking advantage of others, or of nature, is the norm.

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, as discussed in the OSE founder's TED Talk.


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.

Historical Context

The economy of affection may well be contrasted with alienation for compensation, which was Marx's critique of workers being alienated from themselves and their true needs - in exchange for compensation. In other words, the opposite of Self-Determination. It may be said that alienation for compensation is the standard model of the Western economy, where in the USA, most people do not like their jobs and would rather be doing something else. This Gallup poll says that this number is 85% worldwide [1] and 66% in the USA [2], and 76% disengaged according to an HBR survey [3]. Gallup started tracking engagement since 2000, before that we probably din't care as much:


13% 'active disengaged' appears to mean nearing destructive or toxic proportions.

OSE Enterprise

  • We can link Housing and Jobs - get a house, start producing in your home microfactory for DMS. Right now that is a possibility with the 3D printer and house enterprises. Here we address Unjobbing and Mass Creation of Right Livelihood and Production by the Masses
  • We always keep customer service personal - each person has up to 1000 clients, not mass production - so personal face always remains.
  • Personal face is seen in video - where we don't have a company video - we have a video specific for each person
  • The community aspect is prime. This addresses the alienation, keeps it in the economy of affection. This is a direct solution of negative psychology - psyops, manipulation, propaganda, conspiracy theory, idolatry, cults, etc.
  • MJ role is to facilitate people coming up with solutions, not providing solutions.