This capacity is being embodied in on-line communities through the work of platform coops, (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) and now the emergent (Decentralized Human(Holonic) Organizations) like the Digital Life Collectives’ .
DAO’s and most blockchain-based systems are on the track of developing “trustless” or “automated trust” systems. Digital “smart contracts” are used to hold the social and economic agreements of the organization. This is the appropriate approach for present day businesses and common infrastructure systems like power grids or service sharing platforms such as ride sharing. DOAs potentiate eliminating the wasteful hierarchical and non-democratic structure of many value platforms - imagine AirBnB without the middle man - or Uber without the need for the profits to be siphoned off to a central company.
Participatory Commons, SACS, and DHOs - on the other hand - seek to bring the human, social and cultural elements back into the commons while still seeking to scale using these digital tools resulting in “trustful” as opposed to “trustless” or automated trust systems. We hold that purely trustless systems will not lead to a rich web of participatory commons ecosystems where the best of human expression and enlightened stewardship can flourish.
So how do we bring cultural wisdom, social belonging, and social intelligence into a Participatory Commons? At a small scale this is the re-emerging but age-old art of creating highly cohesive “intentional” communities practiced by indigenous and small village peoples for millenia - and by small societies and social experiments of many types spanning over 3000 years and all continents. These including many Chritianity-based societies including the Essenes, Quakers, Anabapitists (Hutterites, Mennonites, and Amish), Bruderhofs, and many cultural and ideology based societies including the Diggers, the Shakers, Nashoba, Oneida, Mitraniketan in India, Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka, and Yamagishi in Japan to name just a few of thousands. This long lineage is now being built upon in the intentional communities, cohousing and Ecovillage movements and in thousands of small communities all over the world. Many modern day communities don’t rely on the religious or the cult-like aspects of some of these earlier experiments and bring out the best of small-scale social intelligence and community cultivation tools and processes while upholding individual sovereignty. Small entrepreneurial teams are also bringing this wisdom into their endeavors by using a sociocratic approach to business organization and management.
These communities have in common a way of creating a high degree of social cohesion through various processes and practices in the simple acts of living and working together. A high degree of social intelligence is cultivated through very carefully designed agreements and protocols, embodied systems of respect and mutual upliftment, collective work and play and shared generation and distribution of power and multi-dimensional wealth.
Our work now is focused on bringing these two worlds together - combining the wisdom and practices of age-old small community cultivation with the power of our next internet and next economy understandings and tools. The communitarian movement has developed a rich toolbox for holding social containers and building trust and a sense of belonging for small communities. These practices, processes and protocols can be embodied into the social DNA of any size Participatory Commons.