Wed 19 Apr 2017 4:32PM

From Platform to Open Cooperativism

ST Stacco Troncoso Public Seen by 99

Hello! We always get a ton of questions about this: "What are Open Coops? Are they the same as Platform Coops? Is Open Cooperativism Utopian?" etc. So we thought hard about it and wrote this in-depth analysis of both approaches and why the matter.

From Platform to Open Cooperativism

Here is an extract:

> Rather than assuming a digital backbone, Open Cooperativism explores how open data, ecological stewardship, and the active production of Commons might expand and revive established cooperative traditions, even reclaim the idea of a Cooperative Commonwealth. Open Cooperativism argues that it’s not enough to have a better Uber or a more democratic AirBnB: we must tackle issues like housing and transportation head on. The root causes of our dysfunctional, destructive economies can’t be danced around.


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 19 Apr 2017 5:40PM

Beautiful article folks, love your work. Have passed it on to the Democracy at Work Institute, as some of their broadcasts reach 45M people (I'm not sure if they're involved in either PC or OC yet).


Stacco Troncoso Thu 20 Apr 2017 6:53AM

Re: Democracy at work. That's great. We really love their work and they'd do well to consider Platform and Open Coops. Richard Wolff is the uni teacher I've always wish I had. No one does genius level about-to-go-postal outrage like him.


Greg Cassel Wed 19 Apr 2017 8:40PM

I've shared this important work already in my small twitter and fb networks. Thanks guys!


Lynn Foster Wed 19 Apr 2017 8:46PM

Very useful, thanks you two!


Paul B. Hartzog Sun 23 Apr 2017 10:57PM

Yep, digested and shared. Hrm, that sounds bad. ;-)


miguel novik Sat 6 May 2017 10:09PM


This article presents a ¨New Ecosystem of Value creation ¨. (and a not scarcity approach)
Could us considered it as our goal or target???

Let us find the right ratios and variables that we can measure it. We have to measure the issues that show if we are achieving or not this ¨New Ecosystem of Value Creation¨.
If we have the variables and ratios, the companies that want to become part of this Ecosystem have to prove it...

I never understood why we can not work together in a weekly base... ( I am going to Portugal in September and we may meet us personally in Spain or Belgium...)

....I am trying to develop these ratios and variables with a group of supermarket coops. The most interesting issue is that we have registered our consumption in our POS system, so we can easily verify if we are being consistent and choosing to buy to those companies that are focus to develop commons.

One important concrete prove:
The companies should have open accounting with public Maximum Wage and Maximum profit.. Each company (or person) has his own definition, but have to publish it.

@paulbhartzog In the Thread ¨How to drive the commons into the mainstream¨.

You mentioned
I agree that we need to bring awareness to p2p as a "third way" but I am still surprised daily by the number of people who insist that collective organization has to go through government or business. 1) We are conditioned to think that those are the only routes to success, and 2) we are still facing off against powerful systems that want it to stay that way.

I would ask you to clarify it.. Again....we want to I to achieve ¨this new Ecosystem of value creation....¨. and for me this is a mainstream of commons......

( Please before you clarify this, let us be sure that we are talking about the same.... I want to achieve ¨this New Ecosystem...¨. Do you??????).

For me, even if you are a teacher in a school or in a University you are selling your time... you are doing a commercial transaction and because of this, there is a business involved.

No matter if in the future we will not need to work, (R based E of the Venus Project), today all of us make a contribution and get products and service to satisfy their need.... (One of the problems that faced the Kibutzim was that many people thought that his/her contribution was hight and what he/she got was low....).

So in my opinion, today I assume that we all make tens of transactions everyday day, so we just have to be able to choose to trade to those organizations/ or persons that prove to be ¨commons oriented or Generatives¨. And each of us (or the company we work for), has also to prove so.

If I have a company that produce any product, or if I live in a Kibutz that produce any product, I want to be connected to the customers (Peer to Peer) (I hate the marketing manipulation and I wish the customers say to us what they need), and I (we) would be focus in develop the common knowledge of the product we manufacture, to have open accounting, maximum wage and profits accepted by my customers...

This is a business approach, but I would thanks If you give an other approach... to achieve our common target. (I could talk about spiritual issues, happiness and to share in harmony with other people and nature as a most important target, but this would be even more abstract, and this article that Stacco published gives us a very concrete starting point).


Danyl Strype Sun 7 May 2017 2:00PM

I've been thinking a lot recently about how market pricing was the best available way for businesses to generate and gather information about supply and demand in the era of broadcast (pre-network) media. In that era, for similar reasons, advertising was actually a useful way for people to find out about new products and services that might want to buy or use. During the industrial transition, these were the systems that superseded the last best information generating and gathering mechanism, the theocratic state (the Church and the Crown).

But in the networked era, we are awash with far more nuanced forms of information than pricing. If businesses want to know what people want and need and will pay for, its cheap and easy now to ask us directly, or just listen to the requests we make and the criteria we specify in our online discourse. Similarly, people don't need to have product information jammed down their throats in broadcast style when they can just use a web search and find it for themselves. Informational advertising has been overtaken over by methods of political PR, based on manipulating people's aspirations and emotions (as described in Naomi Klein's brilliant 'No Logo'), precisely because new media have rendered the traditional forms of advertising obsolete.

To sum up; real markets are obsolete, and have been replaced by "the free market", the state enforced marketization of everything that was traditionally a commons, especially the flow of information. So, it seems only logical that the traditional company has been replaced by the corporation, an undead creature that prospers by hijacking the state, and generating unceasing PR to drown out the natural sounds of truth and reality. These three are the political, economic, and media aspects of the global state-corporate system.

If Open Cooperativism is to supersede corporatism it must discover, through experimental practice and collective reflection on that practice:
* What mechanisms will open cooperatives depend on to generate and gather information about what people want and need?
* What mechanisms will open cooperatives use to coordinate production and distribution, according to this information?
* What mechanisms will open cooperatives use to supply people with information about what is available, which products and services best fit their wants and needs, and why?


Simon Grant Mon 8 May 2017 5:01AM

Thanks Bob @bobhaugen for flagging your very rich article which I missed first time round. I've linked it up better from the P2PF Wiki.


miguel novik Tue 9 May 2017 11:11PM

good article. I could understood it in a fast reading because I worked in a big department store for 13 years... as a buyer an then in charge of the commercial planning area. We worked with JDA softwares for replenishment and planning... Also at the end we got more tools to review data and take decisions...

I believe that the end customers will have to learn to ¨use data ¨, in order to choose to whom we are giving our money every time that we buy any product..

You said in the article
..¨Let us propose that demand signals for a Mutual Coordination Economy will be driven by human and ecological needs, based on use-value, and not on needs for profit, based on exchange-value. ¨

I am totally agree...
don`t you see that the project that we are implementing would encourage this criteria???? (regarding the answers I gave to Strypey).


miguel novik Tue 9 May 2017 11:22PM

and I would love to get out from the monetary system as well, (like you), but the change has to come in a peer level.... And that it is in the way and the reason we decide every purchase we do... (As I said it before.... for me we are ¨trading¨ most of our time .. when we work we are selling our time and we eat and dress up every day with product we buy, so the change has to be at this level......)...


miguel novik Tue 9 May 2017 11:42PM

sorry for a new intervention, but when I say to gat out from the monetary system, I mean the current ¨paper coin¨ system, and achieve a ¨very simple¨ blockchain virtual money system that would enable transactions, with the use of prices ( agreement of values).

To imagine a society without any trading it would means to me ...so what do I do now????? ( it means I can not imaging the route that would take us there.... ).... and even the common future vision is very important, the ¨common route¨ has to be also very clear if we want to really go forward....


Simon Grant Wed 10 May 2017 11:03AM

Hi Miguel @miguelnovik I like it when you say:

¨very simple¨ blockchain virtual money system

My questions, simple to ask but I imagine hard to answer:
1. is there any current design or specification for a "very simple" system?
2. would it avoid the difficulties many people have with blockchain technology?

To me, this would be a great opportunity to use a consensus harmonization / standardization process so that we (all?) could arrive at a solution we could live and work with.



miguel novik Tue 9 May 2017 11:00PM

thanks for answer.

It seems to be that we understand the price and the market itself in a different way.
But remember that we want to achieve this ¨New Ecosystem of Value creation ¨ just presented... and we want to develop mechanisms to enable so...

I will answer the question you did based in the project here in Israel.... but before let me notice that our visions may be very closed.... (this is very important, because if we can not assure and clarify common future visions,...we will not get ¨to a common place ¨),

You said:
...¨But in the networked era, we are awash with far more nuanced forms of information than pricing. If businesses want to know what people want and need and will pay for, its cheap and easy now to ask us directly, or just listen to the requests we make and the criteria we specify in our online discourse.¨

Of course I agree with a Peer to Peer vision as you will see in my answers below, but in my opinion that does not invalidate the price as an agreement of value... (the problem is that in a ¨maximum profit logic¨, the price does not give you too much ¨real ¨information about the real value of each product, which it is the commercial dynamic that I want to gate off).. (you said that the price give you information...)

...It is a fact that all of we give a contribution to society (and into the production system), and all of we receive something back from it..

The wise take only what they need and give as much as they can..
But many people think and believe that they deserve a lot.... and that their contribution is very high....

Also in our ¨dream market¨ with out any kind of manipulation, with open knowledge companies that share recipes, the producer could believe that his contribution (the product or service that he provide) is very high...

The price is the agreement for these trade off in every transaction we make...

Now your questions:

  • What mechanisms will open cooperatives depend on to generate and gather information about what people want and need? ....Each time I buy in my supermarket cooperative I gave my name and all the purchase information get into the POS system... This is information of our needs. This is free information available for suppliers.. (We are trying to gather with other coops and the kibutz movement).
  • What mechanisms will open cooperatives use to coordinate production and distribution, according to this information? The suppliers should be able to load information in our open coop web and they should prove us how they are using the information, that we are providing to them, to better coordinate the production with ¨other competitors ¨. They should be able to prove us how they are developing the common knowledge, and the ¨think global and produce locally ¨. If they do it properly, for sure we will see the benefits.... ..The suppliers will do it if they get our commitment as a customers...

As I said before, One important concrete prove:
The companies should have open accounting with public Maximum Wage and Maximum profit.. Each company (or person) has his own definition, but have to publish it.

We will encourage to the suppliers to become ¨generative ¨ and to coordinate production because we will prefer to buy from them and we will provide them all our consumption information (and even more information regarding the current technology that allow easily to be peer connected).

  • What mechanisms will open cooperatives use to supply people with information about what is available, which products and services best fit their wants and needs, and why? ..Our open web should receive our consumption information (from our POS) and be able like a data warehouse (available for suppliers) and our web should also receive the relevant information from suppliers that want to become generative and get connected with the members of our coops and kibutzim ...

.In our web it should be the relevant information, (¨relevant¨ will depend of each community or person).

.ethicalconsumer.org could be a good example of how you can tabulate information, and also you can suit it regarding the issues you care more...

But in our project the suppliers would load the information in our web, where you could compare it with other products and suppliers in a tabulated way..

Also the way how they measure the variables should be share and published, so other companies would do it the same way and we could compare apples with apples...

Of course at the beginning we have received great resistance from the companies, and we do not push them to show info, but in the way they see that the customers give their commitment and prefer to buy from companies that are sharing information (knowledge), many companies will do the same...

..We really believe that having clear our monthly needs (mainly from our POS) and finding the better products and services ¨recipes ¨ to satisfy them connected with suppliers, they will be willing to develop Commons-Based Peer Production and, even more, we believe that we will be able get out from scarcity feeling...

Can you see that this project enables a commercial peer to peer relationship??? (from the customers that buy in the coops to suppliers that load info in our Open web (we have a web page but it is not a data warehouse yet..)

Can you see that this project enables a commercial relationship based in information, avoiding marketing expenses???? (even there is people that want to pay marketing and receive ¨status¨, in general the members of our coops do not need it and sharing information with them it will not be necessary at all..)..

The price in this dynamic, with open recipes (open knowledge) should show exactly where it goes every cents we pay.... but it is ¨ a value agreement.¨..

Many people (even in my coop) still see this project like ¨too capitalistic ¨.... not most, but many....
So, If one of you , with peer to peer common ideas also see it ¨too capitalistic..¨, please give a call or voice message to whatsup +972 584881158

Strypey if you would like to explain me how could you avoid the price I would really thank you a voice message or a whats up call...



Lynn Foster Wed 10 May 2017 11:25AM

Thanks for the information on your project in Israel, very interesting. Is there a link you can provide for more info? I'm particularly interested in what is the stage of implementation and how it is going.


Danyl Strype Sat 3 Jun 2017 4:09PM

I still need to sit down and catch up with the rest of this thread, but just quickly...


"It seems to be that we understand the price and the market itself in a different way."

Indeed. When I talk about markets and pricing, I'm responding to the information theory of the classical liberal economists, specifically the theory that markets and pricing are the only efficient way of establishing what people want, where they want it, how much they want it, and so on. I think this was a very sensible theory to put forward in Adam Smith's time, and in fact it remained defensible right through the end of the 1980s. It strikes me as an odd coincidence that this liberal theory was elevated to the status of pseudo-religious dogma among neo-liberals and neo-classical economists, at about the same time that the emergence of the net thoroughly debunked it.

Anyway, I'm not saying that a future economy will be one without markets, prices, or money, any more than the industrial economy was one without states, religions, or doctrine. Just that the role of these elements, and their relative power and importance within the society, is changing as radically as it did during the industrial transition (what people lazily call the "industrial revolution" even though it wasn't really).


miguel novik Fri 12 May 2017 1:00PM


It would be wonderful if any of you could replicate this project in the communities near you .... We could support each other and find synergies.

I promise you that on Saturday night I will send you a complete detail of the steps and targets that we are facing.

In the meantime you can see the web page:

Community Information Market is the future vision of the project.

But since last January I decided not focus any more in develop ¨a whole huge project¨ and focus on developing and implement some ideas....

And therefore, I decided to be more active inside the little supermarket cooperative that I am member since almost 2 years.


This pages are in hebrew but with google translate you can get an idea.... Any way it is a legal cooperative since 5 years ago, with more or less 150 active members. We have only one person that receive salary. The coop is a little ¨copy¨ of the coop supermarket in Slope Park brooklyn, NY.

The main idea of the whole project: ¨ If a good number of people decided to prefer to buy to companies that prove to be ¨Generatives¨ (Marjorie Kelly) , we would have a ¨Generative Society¨.

One year ago I would have said ¨companies oriented to ¨the common Good¨ (more influenced by Christian Felber and the balance rate that they have ).

The journey has been intense, I have connected many social organizations, ongs, the star up industry (in Israel is strong), the ministry of economy (cooperatives section). organizations that helps and gather new immigrants etc etc etc etc... With all of those I have a story about the way they understood the project. :)

..... But the important thing are the steps and targets that we are facing within the coop....




Lynn Foster Fri 12 May 2017 4:33PM

Miguel, thank you! I will read all of it with interest!

Don't worry about rushing, I'm busy through Monday anyway.... :)


miguel novik Sat 13 May 2017 9:07PM

Then I take another day...:)


miguel novik Mon 15 May 2017 12:42PM

Before to explain the project, I want to express the great resistance that sometimes I feel I receive not only in this forum, but also with many people (organizations) with whom I have had contact.

For instance, when I speak in my coop that I want to build a ¨common – based peer to peer society¨, I can feel that it scare them….. Also, when I talk about prices, trading and private property, I feel there is an incomprehension on the part of you.

Don´t you think that we can express our individuality and at the same time ¨try to understand the whole life¨???

Don´t you think that we can have our own privacy (and our private space), and at the same time be aware and respectful of the common knowledge and resources ... (which we must inevitably learn to share) ???

I hope you will understand (and visualize) that this project aims to achieve so…

The questions that Strypey did were really good (above) . It is so sad that he, and we, could not continue going deeper…. Because now I may be repeating some ideas that I have already exposed answering his questions.

( If we would have gone deeper, getting a better understanding of the questions and the answers, I would probably achieve a better way to expose it and also, maybe, identify the ¨contradictions¨ that the project have in order to achieve the "New Ecosystem of Value creation", which this thread proposes .)..

Again. I would love that someone can replicate this project in other places and I really would appreciate a deeper discussions according a concreate ¨common target…¨.

*For Free, I am not ¨selling¨ the idea …….open knowledge, *

The current work::

Last September a group of 4 members of Beshutaf Coop created a workshop called ¨Behind the product¨ and started studying some suppliers and product that we currently buy at the coop and published in googledoc opened to all member.
I joined them last January..
This group made a survey to know what are the issues that the members most care. (51 people answered and the 2 most important issues for the members are workers right and ecological issues).

Until here …..we only have a group of people that belong to a cooperative supermarket who are willing to volunteer for this cooperative to function. At the same time we have an initiative that is collecting information from the products and suppliers we have, so that, members can choose better what they are buying….

Now we have to go further…….
Why ????

Why do we want to increase the level of the information from products and suppliers that these members are developing and sharing within the coop????

Because enable us to choose to buy to those companies/ products that better reach our targets us a cooperative. (at the web of our coop Beshutaf are social justice, community and reasonable prices).

If we prefer to buy, based on ¨ apple to apple ¨ comparative information, from companies that demonstrate that they meet these same objectives, and we bring together many members (even if they are in other cities and in other cooperatives or organizations), we will be creating a real social change.

What does it means ¨go further¨…????

Next Steps:
(attached you will also find a more detailed description of what do we want to achieve through these 4 steps... )

1.- Establish alliances with least 10 supermarket cooperatives, or social organization, that are willing to use and share our database information and allow us to get agreements with suppliers. (I also have been in contact with the kibutz movements that usually have small stores inside them).

2.- Find suppliers that would sign the ¨ Letter for learning process agreement¨.
*…..To understand this letter as a ¨Learning ¨ process agreement is very important if you want to understand the project.. *
(Attached in pptx you will find the letter in my ¨basic¨ english, which it has to be presented in Hebrew to the suppliers, so four weeks ago one person took the responsibility to translate it to hebrew.......Last week he told me that he does not have time to really get involved in this project.....)

3.- Merge the information given by suppliers and the consumption results from the store partners in a open web.
.....You have to understand that we already have all the sales information that the coop do to each member… to go further on this, you have to imagine a data warehouse intelligence that any bit retailer have, (you can review http://www.nielsen.com/ ). Of course in our project all our POS information is open…

In the other hand the suppliers will load information about themselves and their products… To imagine this you can see:

4,- Find support and/or alliances from organizations alike to scale and replicate the experience and achieve really social changes..... (because of if most of the companies ¨care about us¨, we will be in a ¨social environment that really care about us¨, but if we do not care to who do we buy, we are not really taking care of the society..¨.


Bob Haugen Wed 17 May 2017 12:07AM

@miguelnovik I'll skip your complaints, although you can expand on them if you wish, because those are really interesting details. Will come back tomorrow and comment at more length.

(If I wish to escape the limitations of private property that does not mean I don't understand it and don't understand we are in a transitional situation.)


miguel novik Wed 17 May 2017 8:33AM

Bob complaints sounds like "somebody else fault".... Please, that is not the idea....
I just describe the difficulties I have had in bringing people together to build a common vision and to implement it.
In my opinion if any "peer to peer common project" can not be replicated (implemented elsewhere), or if it does not really serve others, it means that there is "a failure or error" in the proposal.

Thanks for note it to me....


Bob Haugen Wed 17 May 2017 4:47PM

Sorry, Miguel. I didn't take anything you wrote as being somebody else's fault, just the usual difficulties in communication between people. I'm sorry if I made it seem like a complaint about you. As I wrote above, the project seems good.

when I talk about prices, trading and private property, I feel there is an incomprehension on the part of you.

We have a good friend who works on local business ecosystems. They are composed, for the most part, of conventional small businesses who collaborate to help themselves and their local economies. They all deal with prices, trading, and private property.

I think those efforts are useful and hope to see more of them.

I would help with a project like that if it were around me, locally, in my community. The global projects I work on are trying to get beyond those factors and relationships. It's a transitional stage, I hope to a better economic system, but it could also be a transition to something much worse. So I'm happy with anything that seems like it's going in the better direction.


miguel novik Wed 17 May 2017 8:02PM

Bob, please let us talk by whats up or skype... I really would like to understand what do you mean about prices, trading and private property.
+ 972 584881158


Bob Haugen Wed 17 May 2017 9:18PM

Miguel, I don't do whatsup and skype hasn't been working for me lately. Jitsi or Appear.in has been working. Would either of those work for you? If so, when? I'm in US Central Daylight Time, UTC-5.

But really, I use those words with the common meaning, I have no special meaning. Or do you want to know why I am working globally with projects who are trying to get away from all three of those economic factors? If so, I think I can explain. Might be good practice in bridging the kinds of communication gaps we have talked about in this Loomio group, to try to explain right here and see if other people can help or disagree or suggest style improvements.


Lynn Foster Wed 17 May 2017 2:31PM

Miguel, thanks very much for the detail. I'll read all in the next few days.

And I think I understand the difficulties you run into trying to bridge the discussion between people who are deeply into P2P or left theory, and people you work with on your projects on the ground, say the coop. I'd love to figure out how to do that better myself.


Simon Grant Wed 17 May 2017 3:37PM

If anyone -- myself, you, Miguel, or anyone -- makes a proposal and is inviting support, or indeed any kind of constructive feedback, I guess we need to explain what it is we are proposing in terms that the other person can understand well enough to respond. That's just a commonly understood starting point. In a forum such as this, the next question in my mind is, how do we go about explaining it?

One general approach is to take a current aspect of common experience, and point out how the proposal is similar, and how different, in practical, concrete terms.

One of the things I find quite difficult is to consciously let go of my own way of conceptualizing things, and approach it from some common ground that I share with my audience. So, what is the common ground you share with the people you are in contact with, Miguel? Explaining that to us will also help us to understand...

I'm then wondering if the challenge with people here is that "the commons" etc. is our common ground, so how do you relate you proposals to our shared concepts and values? Maybe that could be in terms of a journey or path, for which your proposals are one step along the way. And yes, we need those practical steps, just as much as we need to know the paths that step leads along.

Hope my generality is helpful here. As always, please ignore if not ;) Just to say that I haven't yet understood what you are proposing in a way that I could explain simply to anyone else. I'd like to.


miguel novik Wed 17 May 2017 7:58PM


Thanks a lot For being direct and honest.

I hope I understood you correctly (je je je je) but, believe me I am totally agree with you and I will try to answer….

I know that I can be I confused (even in spanish..je je je ).

You said:
..¨One of the things I find quite difficult is to consciously let go of my own way of conceptualizing things, and approach it from some common ground that I share with my audience. So, what is the common ground you share with the people you are in contact with, Miguel? Explaining that to us will also help us to understand...¨

..I think ¨ you hit the nail…¨. If we want to build a common future vision and/ or to have a fruitful dialogue, we have to ¨let go of my own way of conceptualizing things. (as you said)...

And how do we do this???

In my opinion, with questions. I try to do questions and try to open my door to understand your thought, your vision, your preconceptions….

Please let me know if is there is any other way, but questions, to achieve so….

I will answer your questions, please let me know If I did not understand correctly your questions…

The common ground with the people in my coop are the three values that are in the beshutaf.org: rectitude or righteousness in society, community feelings and reasonable prices. I general every member is willing to give some time to the coop, to care about others and, in some way, we agree that the current economical system is not sustainable at all and we try to buy at the coop as a way of ¨do something ¨.

The common ground with you (in this forum), I think, is that we all would like to live in a common based peer to peer society..(Although we should try to clarify what does it means and try to build a common future vision).

How does it fit the project in ¨our common ground ¨….?..

If we buy products/ services from companies that prove that they implement ¨common peer to peer practices¨, and If we are a big quantity of people that prefer to buy to these kind of companies, we would get a ¨common based peer to peer society ¨.

Or as I explained before:
The main idea of the whole project: ¨ If a good number of people decided to prefer to buy to companies that prove to be ¨Generatives¨ (Marjorie Kelly) , we would have a ¨Generative Society¨.

If everybody want organic products, you will not find other products but organic…

Could some body dispute or question this???

Of course you can say that it very, but very hard to measure which companies are common peer to peer oriented you also can say that most people do not care, you also can say that is very hard that the people get informed about it with out marketing or publicity . etc etc etc, and I think ( I may be wrong) that the project allow to build a way to learn how to measure any value, or practices, any thing about companies and products and to bring them closer (more connected) to the customers (coop members).

I will open a new thread just to reinforce this concept as a possible way to achieve a common- based peer to peer society ..

The project proposal itself I think I explained before (including the attachments). I really do not know how to explain it better. Please send me by email all the phrases that not make sense to you, or even easier if you can build a questions regarding each one…

May the force be with us…. :smiley:


miguel novik Wed 17 May 2017 9:31PM

ok. I will load down one of those... or Can I call you to a fix phone (for me is free). Let me know to my email.
It will be ¨¨¨strong¨¨¨ (maybe a little traumatic) to understand how can you to get away from all three of those economic factors.....
...( I want to make them ¨ transparent and honest¨, but I can not even imagine how would be a society with out trading....

We have to talk :smiley:


Bob Haugen Wed 17 May 2017 10:02PM

While I am waiting to talk to Miguel, I can practice explaining here. I don't think we can get away from all of those factors immediately or all at once or altogether. As I wrote above, we're in a transitional phase in human social-economic-cultural-political development.

Let's deal with price first. You want low prices for food. Farmers would like to make a living. Many people don't have even the low price for cheap food, or the slightly higher prices maybe for better food.

The price mechanism means that human and ecological needs without money don't count. And if all people want is lower and lower prices (called a "race to the bottom" by farmers and workers), the farmers can't make a living. My cousin Leon is a farmer. For many years, Leon needed to drive long-haul trucks to make ends meet.

One working example of getting away from the price mechanism a little is community-supported agriculture. http://www.csacoalition.org/about-csa/

People support a farm financially, usually with yearly subscriptions, and return get regularly deliveries of whatever the farm grows. Sometimes the community even owns the farm, maybe with a community land trust, so they get away somewhat from private property as well. Often community members work on the farm as part of their support.

Money does change hands (from the community to the farmers), and there is a trade of sorts (regular deliveries of food), but it's whatever the farmers can grow. In a bad year, the community takes a risk as well as the farmers.

That's one example of transitional practices. https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/ has a lot more.

Does that make sense? Traumatic?


Bob Haugen Wed 17 May 2017 9:40PM

Nice thing about jitsi or appear.in is you don't need to download anything. But I am sending my phone number to you in an email.


Bob Haugen Wed 17 May 2017 10:27PM

The wikipedia page about community-supported agriculture https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community-supported_agriculture is also interesting, but makes it seem more like a US thing, while it actually started in Europe and Japan. There's another name for these practices in Europe, which I just looked for and failed to find, that seemed to focus more on the community ownership of the farm.


Lynn Foster Thu 18 May 2017 7:59PM

@miguelnovik I have finally read everything you posted, thanks, because I am most interested in people who are doing something on the ground. Thanks for your patience. The way I understand what you are doing is this - partially for you to see if I do actually understand, and partially to feed back for @asimong honest questions.

You have a cooperative supermarket that is run by a group of volunteers. I assume the volunteers are also the customers, or perhaps the most dedicated customers. The supermarket has suppliers, but does not yet choose suppliers by criteria such as openness, paying living wages, care for the earth, etc. Beyond being a cooperative, the supermarket buys and sells products as a retail supermarket, this is in the realm of trade (fine with me). The cooperative however, has open books, at least in POS data.

The next steps you want to take are to widen the open association, by banding with other cooperative markets, and by surveying suppliers to see what are their practices and values, so that the group of markets can choose suppliers by those practices and values. This will further the fairness of the whole system so that workers can have living wages, people can have food they can afford but that can also support living wages. Key to this is open books.

My thoughts: All of this seems totally fine to me (including trade, prices, etc.), and I would guess many others. We are in a transitional period, we can only move from where we are at collectively. I don't think you need to be defensive about it. I like the expansion to including suppliers, and also more markets. Besides the related examples @bobhaugen mentioned (Community Supported Agriculture, small business ecosystems), another one is the idea of multi-stakeholder cooperatives. There is one around us that includes farmers, processors, institutional customers (schools and hospitals), and a coordinator. All are members of the cooperative, which forces them to have some kind of agreement of fairness to all, done in face to face meetings.

In terms of others replicating your ideas, I think people have to get ideas from others, so your sharing is great; but also to respond to their specific opportunities and constraints. So replication seems a too narrow goal to me.

I think your experiments sound very useful; I think others' experiments are also useful, even if they do not include trade, prices, etc. We need to be trying a lot of things right now and learning from each other.


miguel novik Fri 19 May 2017 1:05PM

Lynn. yes, you described the project pretty good...congratulation and thanks a lot

I would only ask you if you can clarify this phrase:
¨We are in a transitional period, we can only move from where we are at collectively. I don't think you need to be defensive about it.¨

Are you saying that you visualize that a project like this wouldn´t allow us to ¨move from where we are at collectively¨. ???

You are right that I would try to explain ¨that it moves ¨ (je je je je.... ).

Please, without any rush, let me understand what do you mean with that phrase

I insist that if we can not build a ¨common future vision¨.... we will never get ¨there¨..

I am asking you to clarify this (and I will thanks you for it), just because I need to confirm that I am ¨walking¨ in the right direction. (It could sound silly, but it is true). So, please, even you could feel that I am ¨defending ¨ this project, believe me that I want to learn, so this way to walk faster to ¨ the society I dream to live in¨

thanks again and have a good week end.


Lynn Foster Fri 19 May 2017 6:40PM

I would only ask you if you can clarify this phrase: ¨We are in a transitional period, we can only move from where we are at collectively. I don't think you need to be defensive about it.¨

Are you saying that you visualize that a project like this wouldn't allow us to ¨move from where we are at collectively¨. ???

Not at all! I am saying that to me projects like your cooperative seem very appropriate to the stage we are at, very positive. And I am saying that if you want to talk about trade and price in the context of working on creating a better economic system, that should be fine with everyone here. Nobody among us can be certain of the best way forward, and it may be different in different situations. I think we are in one of those "let a thousand flowers bloom" stage of history.


Bob Haugen Fri 19 May 2017 7:18PM

I agree with Lynn.

@miguelnovik I am afraid my earlier comments did not communicate very well.

We have a lot of topics in this forum entitled "From Platform to Open Cooperativism". And there are many different projects happening, from local to global. I was trying not to criticize your project, but to differentiate what projects I worked on locally (where I do participate in projects like yours, with prices and trade) and projects I work on globally, where I am attracted to projects aimed at bigger changes. But every project, especially local ones, needs to start from their local conditions.

Just a short time ago we met with people in a nearby town who are starting a project like yours, and several others exist in other nearby communities. I like them all.

And we also participate in local community-supported agriculture projects, which work quite differently. Both of those types of projects have different strengths and limitations.

I apologize if my earlier comments caused confusion. Hope I am communicating more clearly now.


miguel novik Sat 20 May 2017 6:25PM

ok. Thanks to you two for clarify.
I hope I will let you know how the project advances....


Bob Haugen Sat 20 May 2017 7:43PM

Ok, good. Communicating clearly is hard sometimes. I'll try to be more clear in the future.


Bob Haugen Sat 3 Jun 2017 4:18PM

Price theory never did work. This is a good discussion of some of the angles: http://crookedtimber.org/2012/05/30/in-soviet-union-optimization-problem-solves-you/

Shalizi doesn't quite understand how much of the capitalist economy is planned, but it's still a great essay.

Excerpts from down the page, so you don't miss them:

If it’s any consolation, allowing non-convexity messes up the markets-are-always-optimal theorems of neo-classical/bourgeois economics, too. (This illustrates Stiglitz’s contention that if the neo-classicals were right about how capitalism works, Kantorovich-style socialism would have been perfectly viable.) Markets with non-convex production are apt to see things like monopolies, or at least monopolistic competition, path dependence, and, actual profits and power.

Both neo-classical and Austrian economists make a fetish (in several senses) of markets and market prices. That this is crazy is reflected in the fact that even under capitalism, immense areas of the economy are not coordinated through the market

The conditions under which equilibrium prices really are all a decision-maker needsto know, and really are sufficient for coordination, are so extreme as to be absurd.(Stiglitz is good on some of the failure modes.) Even if they hold, the market only lets people “serve notice of their needs and of their relative strength” up to a limit set by how much money they have. This is why careful economists talk about balancing supply and “effective” demand, demand backed by money.

This is just as much an implicit choice of values as handing the planners an objective function and letting them fire up their optimization algorithm. Those values are not pretty. They are that the whims of the rich matter more than the needs of the poor; that it is more important to keep bond traders in strippers and cocaine than feed hungry children. At the extreme, the market literally starves people to death, because feeding them is a less”efficient” use of food than helping rich people eat more.


Simon Grant Mon 5 Jun 2017 8:25AM

Wow, @bobhaugen this looks really rich and weighty. I'll come back to it if I feel the need to learn more about the theoretical issues in market economics.


miguel novik Tue 6 Jun 2017 8:19PM

I do not believe that any of us can clarify at what specific point we agree and in which we disagree ...

But now I think that the important thing is how we visualize ourselves in a " Peer To Peer common based society "..

What do you visualize yourself that you will be doing?? You as a Peer connected with others.....

What do you think that you will share with others and in what way..?? ( what should be 100% shared??

Which mechanisms??

We know that good bibliography is helpful, but at this time I would thanks much more your personal "future vision"... ( concrete projects that you visualize yourself in, are also welcome)...

Don`t you visualize that you will be sharing your consumptions information that will be use the suppliers??

Don´t you visualize yourself choosing every day to buy from ¨generatives companies¨ regarding ¨common measures and ratios¨. ?

Don`t you visualize yourself learning about these ¨generatives measures¨ ?

Don´t you visualize yourself participating in the development, construction and improvement of these ¨generatives indicators¨???

Come on guys¡¡¡¡¡ what do you really want..... where do you want to go,.....

(Even reading the article that Stacco published today in the P2p post ( ¨How to see the people in the collaborative economy¨), it is obvious that the word ¨ market¨ bothers to some people. If this is your case, please let me know how do you visualize yourself on the production of the products and services that everybody needs.... how would you get it.... how do the companies would do the production planning (using what information, how would they get that information.... etc etc but concrete issues...

It is very simple.... Everybody needs products/services and most of us collaborate in the production of those....... just let is share concrete ideas of how will be connected peer to peer... How do you think that we will have a lot of ¨generatives companies¨ that share the knowledge??? and why they would do so???

.... I would like to hear you personal wishes... how do you visualize yourself and your relationships and interconnections with other in the ¨peer to peer society that you want to live......¨..

I hope at least one of you will share your personal visualizations...(and ¨realistic wishes¨ )