[Update: Drew Little has added a new post on Producia, "Build a New Economy for the Cost of a Coffee?!"]
I’ve been following the development of various distributed economic platforms for some time now. Some major ones include phyles, as described in David de Ugarte‘s book of that name and exemplified by him and his comrades in the Gruppo Cooperativo de Las Indias, and John Robb’s Economy as a Software Service.
Drew Little recently brought to my attention a tantalizing new venture in that category, the Build a New Economy project.
Producism is an evolutionary economic model that has the goal to help everyone become an impactful social entrepreneur to eventually self-actualize. (Theory)
Producia is a fun, barter-based marketplace by and for social entrepreneurs. It’s a Marketplace, Social Network, and Startup Incubator all-in-one. (Practice)
According to the Producia Presentation at Google Docs, Producia’s goal is to “Foster the Evolution of a New Economy” by these means:
- Money becomes an accounting unit aka Barter Dollars
- Enterprise becomes a for-purpose company
- Education becomes Producer-focused
- Social Networking becomes driven by epic meaning
The system is built on a digital barter system as its basic architecture. It also includes a large element of “gamification” (shades of Jane McGonigal, obviously, and also Daniel Suarez’s MMORPG D-space interface in Freedom(TM)) for teaching new members how to participate in the economy.
There’s also a slideshow, “Producia: Welcome to the New Economy.” It presents the New Economy, ultimately, as a way of achieving self-actualization in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In the existing economy, most of the money flows center on the financial system rather than production for use. As Little says by way of analogy, if a human body concentrated 93% of its blood flow to the brain, the rest of the body would eventually suffer progressive necrotization and bloat up with gas gangrene, until the victim died an agonizing death from blood poisoning (actually Little doesn’t put it in quite so colorful terms, but I like to kick things up a notch).
Likewise, “there’s not enough money circulating in our economy to supply everyone’s needs.” (Although analogizing the segment that engrosses the 93% of money as the “brain” is really pushing it — maybe a tapeworm in the colon?) It’s the age-old problem of overaccumulation and underconsumption, in which money is redistributed upward from classes with a high propensity to consume to classes with a high propensity to save and invest. So you have a chronic glut of investment capital without a profitable outlet, a chronic crisis of excess production capacity, and expedients like FIRE Economy pyramid schemes to soak up the excess money. Meanwhile people with productive skills and consumption needs can’t complete the circuit because there’s “not enough money.”
The solution, Little says, is to turn money into “numbers measuring our time & energy instead of being a thing or a commodity.” As Karl Hess said a long time ago, when people have productive skills they can exchange amongst themselves to meet everyone’s need, but say they can’t do it because there’s “no money,” it’s like construction workers saying they can’t measure out any more boards because they “ran out of inches.” Anyone familiar with Tom Greco’s analysis, which is the base for most digital barter currency systems (including this one), the money in a mutual credit-clearing system is created — as an “accounting unit” — by the act of exchange itself. So nobody needs a preexisting supply of money, as a store of value from past transactions, to begin participating in the local exchange economy.
The dominant form of enterprise operating on this platform is the Social Enterprise Cooperative, which is fostered by startup incubators. Social networks bring like-minded people together to form enterprises, with their actions coordinated through the Producia game (back to gamification). “Producia is a not-for-profit, fun, barter-based marketplace/social network/startup incubator all-in-one, that is by & for social entrepreneurs.”
There’s also a brief introductory video to promote the project. As stated in the video, it project initially aims to raise $15 million and set up Producia pilot projects in ten cities.
As Little describes in greater detail in a prospectus:
What do we need from you?
Simply put, your influence…
Send intros to other potential influence investors, relevant media outlets, and synergistic organizations that you have relationships with. (organizations such as non-profits, student organizations, think tanks, Occupy Movements). We need to partner up with 10 non-profits in each city of our launch (100 in total) so we can donate $5 Million of the proceeds if we reach our goal. We’ll have template intros to make it more convenient for you.
Quick sign up for the endorsement of the Build a New Economy campaign on our website, Producism Nation, and a short blog post explaining why you support it (can be in text, audio, or video form).
Build Awareness via Social Media
Participate in weekly online flashmobs to build awareness every Friday (Flashmob Fridays). Our goal is create massive retweets of content related to the campaign using clicktotweet.com. All you have to do is click a link to perform a retweet. It’s very easy!
Let Us Interview You
Interview on Producism Nation’s Blog and/or Online Radio Show
Participate in the Tour
We’re in the process of putting together the “Build a New Economy Tour” where we will speak to the Occupy Movements and colleges within the 10 cities of our launch. If you’re schedule allows it, we’ll love it if you can show up to one of our stops during the tour.