POiU is an on line initiative intended to promote direct exchange between its members, both businesses and individuals. At the moment, the initiative is in public beta release, hoping to attract a sufficiently robust community to make being a POiU citizen a worthwhile thing to do. Here is how they describe themselves…
The Country of POiU Initiative is a movement to create the world’s 1st country organized online where you build and belong while making money and making a difference. The Country of POiU is a place where real businesses, non profits, and individuals connect, improving their lives and communities.
POiU is not a virtual country. However, POiU is the first country without physical borders, organizing itself and its citizens online rather than on land. Citizens of POiU all reside and maintain a residence in their home country. They are encouraged to visit and do business in person, around the world. POiU is open to anyone who would like to apply for dual citizenship. It is built by its people, who participate and want to see the world a better place.
POiU is grounded on the five fundamental principles of Community, Trust, Participation, Value exchange and Social collaboration. The iO is the currency used for transactions that occur between it’s citizens. It is the only currency in the world backed by real products and services pledged by citizens and residents, is interest free, and inflation resistant.
Whether they will succeed is anyone’s guess. There is a marketplace, and some videos explaining how things work are located on this page: http://www.poiu.com/
The question is whether this will be sufficient to construct a real community. Signing up is easy, and each new member potentially becomes a seed for a local cluster of members, a community of friends and acquaintances in some area who, by virtue of also being members of a global initiative, can interact both locally and internationally.
Some well known names have been recruited to lend credence to the initiative. Among them are Margrit Kennedy as the Interest Free Economy advisor, Henry Polmer as Legal Counsel for Monetary Issues and Jack Gillion as a Financial Advisor. Bernard Lietaer is the Central Bank of POiU’s Chief of Currency. Ammar Charani has the title of Chief Poiuneer, Gene Browne is POiU’s International Development Advisor and Nakhli Zeidan, a banker, is Head of Cash Investments of POiU’s Central Bank.
Members are supposed to be involved in governance, although the explanation of how this is to happen is held in somewhat vague terms:
It’s government will be run by the people, allowing those to vote in, and out, the leaders of their communities. The communities in POiU have real budgets, to affect real change, and every transaction that happens within the country does a little bit of good by providing a small percentage back to its non-profit sector and the community.
Their welcome video is here:
Welcome to POiU…
And here is the page where you can sign up to join the marketplace:
Although the site is professionally done and there are some overtures towards member governance, the initiative is not open source and it is a top-down, rather than a bottom-up approach to constructing that community of common interests that we all would like to see grow and prosper. Is this another “walled garden” approach to community?