What if there’s a revolution looming around the corner, yet to be discovered ?
There are many transformative technologies coming online this year. Vitalik Buterin, the young prodigy who sort of grew up with the Bitcoin technology, has launched the first decentralized computer. Ethereum marks the beginning of a new paradigm. The decentralization singularity, a move towards a new type of internet, the crescendo of the global spring. We are now as a species capable of organizing ourselves through information technology and mathematical algorithms. Cryptographic protocols extend the capabilities of the nervous system we call the internet. Apps can be deployed with redundancy, capable of self-organization without any central points of failure.
There is no doubt that these transformative technologies will change everything. The ideas behind them have been discussed for ages, and the progress of the ethereum project is basically unfolding along a path that has been scripted and foretold, Nick Szabo put forth most of the terminology 20 years ago, and thinkers like Karl Marx put forth a lot of the underlying ideas of automated post-industrial communities hundreds of years ago. But what if there’s a piece of the puzzle that has yet to be discovered ?
Enter Resilience. ‘Resilience’ is a fully voluntary wealth sharing network. It’s a continuation of the co-operative model laid down by the Rochdale society back in 1844. (1) It allows a network of people to divide resources between one another, through a trustless algorithm that ensures participation. These resources are distributed semi-equally, adjusted for degree of participation, and serve to ensure that all participants receive a basic income that free them of the limitations imposed by poverty. The Resilience network is a new breed of co-operative, that brings peer-to-peer communities into the internet age.
To understand Resilience, it’s useful to look at the history of co-operatives. Co-ops operate within the market system, independently of the state, as a form of mutual aid, oriented toward service rather than pecuniary profit. (2) They have always been an alternative to the state, and might have prospered if not for the self-righteous tyranny of the state. Even though they’ve been forced to share territory with the violent and monopolist state, they have been very successful, especially in less totalitarian states like Sweden, where co-ops made up 25% of the market back in the 60s. (3)
My system extends the co-operative model with a form of inter-coop contract. Co-operatives can sign contracts with one another, and team up to form a kind of web of cooperatives. The idea of multi-coop communities is not new, it was part of Rochdale’s original manifesto, in which their sixth principle read “Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.”. (4) The execution that Resilience uses is on the other hand new, and unprecedented, making use of new book-keeping technologies in the form of blockchains, and using smart-contracts to manage the organization in a decentralized and autonomous fashion.
Resilience adds yet another component: a distributed welfare system. These new incorruptible blockchain technologies make it possible to perform more complex dividend payments, and Resilience takes the patronage dividend concept (5) of giving dividends based on how much a person has consumed, and extends it by sending the dividends to a distributed welfare system, where each person receives a share based on a set of rules. These rules have been designed to serve the network, and are similar to blockchain incentives for mining in the respect that they reward individuals who consume a lot from co-operatives that are part of the network.
I’ve called it a ‘taxation system’ (6) to hint at what it’s capable of. Resilience could replace the entire welfare infrastructure, globally. The network functions without a single central authority, it extracts value from value creators in a fully voluntary way, and it distributes this surplus in a completely decentralized fashion. The wealth that goes out to people provides an incentive for those people to focus their consumption within the network of co-operatives, which in turn provides an incentive for co-operatives to join the network and the consumer market in it, and so on in a form of self-reinforcing feedback loop that grows with each new entity that joins the network.
The share a person receives can then be partially used to fund services we usually associate with taxation, schools, healthcare, and so on. This is not an entirely new concept, similar concepts have been around throughout the history of cooperatives, with co-operatives allocating part of their dividends to common welfare services. (7) The difference now is that it’s the people and not the co-operatives who can choose to allocate part of their share. How this works is beyond the scope of this article, but basically, people can make mutual agreements about how to invest their shares, and this is completely optional and should be seen as an extension of the Resilience framework and not as part of the core protocol. Just keep in mind that it’s important that people keep at least part of their shares, as it’s the basic income that serves as incentive to seek out co-operatives that are part of the network.
Johan Nygren is a med.school drop-off and natural born creative