Thu 9 Apr 2020 2:59PM

'new economy' ontology - working group

OS Oli SB Public Seen by 164

I'm shifting this conversation to a new thread where we can discuss developing an ontology for the 'new economy' (which is a term which needs defining!) - if you would like to contribute to this 'working group' please add a comment to that effect


Ollie Bream McIntosh Fri 27 Mar 2020 2:19PM

Hi all

Just something I've been thinking about recently, coming from linguistics background - would be nice to have a few sessions defining/unpacking key vocabulary/concepts/debates aside from the project-focused content. I imagine some of the attendees (and wider population who might come across recordings of sessions online) could benefit from a few of these conceptual primers, so whenever the concepts come up later, we all have a common sense of what it is we’re talking about, and to a common level of detail. This may sound a bit basic, but I think its value can be easily underestimated.

Not sure if this is the right forum for that sort of work, but I’ve had the feeling at other conferences (mainly in the world of futures studies) that people are using newly-coined words and invoking abstract and/or technical principles for which everyone has a *slightly* differing definition, meaning lots of overlapping and head-nodding but little explicit consensus, making common vision (as precursor to good collaboration) harder. Just a feeling, but I'm junior in the group here, so by all means tell me if this doesn't correspond to your previous experiences.

Some of these 'conceptual primers' could really serve not just so 'we' can learn from each other, but so what we're doing has an impact on those who have never heard of mutual credit or LETS, let alone their latest sophisticated tech-spangled incarnations. To this end, Oli SB and I chatted about potential pedagogical output from the conference back when it was an offline event, ie: mini interviews on the side, edited strings of clips from panels and keynotes, audience popvox etc. This could then be published for people who don't know anything about 'new economy' to begin to get familiar with it, but obviously requires a bit of work to be put together.

If we like the idea, I wondered if we might want to flag up what terms/concepts that are likely to come up in the sessions are the hardest to pin down/least accessible? What terms and concepts do 'the people' most need to know? And do any of these align with what 'the Open2020 crowd' already knows but might benefit from communally clarifying? Could we even seek to co-produce an authoritative 'dictionary of the new economy'? (Don't want to reinvent the 'p2p wiki' wheel though...)

In practice, this could involve simply asking some of the ppl who are presenting webinars to do mini video-glossaries covering some of the trickier concepts they're working with in their respective projects, separate from their main presentations? Or to introduce their talks with a clear/accessible working definition of the specialist vocab they're wokring with, which we can edit out into separate content. Alternatively, have a bunch of presenters AND attendees summarise the concepts in a sentence or two, to be glued together and published later?

Just a thought. Happy hand-washing all :)


mike_hales Fri 27 Mar 2020 4:24PM

I like this 🙂 Conceptualising is an important aspect of organising - especially when breaking new ground and attempting to link and bridge fragments - there are so many fragments!?

My specific take on this would be, aim not simply for a lexicon or glossary, but for a pattern language? That's something ongoing, not a one-off. An collaborative enquiry practice. A strong way of communicating experience and facilitating practical achievement. So, a conference session would be a starter, in on ongoing project of language-evolving and -mobilising.


Ollie Bream McIntosh Sat 28 Mar 2020 4:13PM

Thanks Mike :) will read up on pattern languages too!


Vincenzo Giorgino Thu 9 Apr 2020 3:09PM

Hi Oli,

yes please: it will be fine to continue the discussion wherever you wish.




RobertD Thu 9 Apr 2020 3:12PM

Yes, I would like to participate in that discussion.


Robert Damashek
571-221-3914 Mobile


mike_hales Sun 29 Mar 2020 11:54AM

There are a few resources here @Ollie Bream McIntosh wiki


Ollie Bream McIntosh Sun 29 Mar 2020 1:01PM

Brilliant thank you @mike_hales


matt wilson Thu 9 Apr 2020 3:19PM


Just requesting that I get added to the ontology of the new economy working group. Cheers


Danyl Strype Sun 5 Apr 2020 9:46AM

I think of the P2PF wiki as more like an 'encyclopedia of the new economy'. A 'glossary of the new economy' - especially a video one - is a fantastic idea, and would be of ongoing value. I agree with @mike_hales that it could precipitate the ongoing development of a pluralistic 'pattern language' of the commons. Just within this comment there are at least 3 words and phrases that could do with glossary entries; 'new economy', pluralistic, and 'pattern language' ;) As an example of a pattern language, here is one for anti-user 'dark patterns' in web design: https://www.darkpatterns.org/


John Waters Thu 9 Apr 2020 4:48PM

I'd be very interested to see how this unfolds, especially given the ambiguity resulting from catachresis and linguistic dift. "Catachresis" itself seems to have become warped by catachresis, and until quite recently "ontology" was unambiguously a branch of metaphysics dealing with existence. The newer meaning (originated by computer scientists) seems to be accepted assume here, but may grate on some. While I accept Humpty Dumpty's right to use words to mean whatever he chooses them to mean, we must remain conscious of the power of catachresis to destroy words and to render confusing many writings which were originally clear and unambiguous. Let's try to prevent the sort of destruction that befell "cybernetics" and "anarchism".

There is also a problem with the term "new economics". Everything labelled "new" ages before too long, and accepted meanings ramify. Every user of this term has the right to define it (even those who clearly intend to abuse it), so an assessment of the usefulness, applicability or acceptabililty (within the context of our shared objectives) is (in my opinion) far more useful than trying to converge on a common unique definition of each term.

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