Greetings from Savannah


#21

I don’t actually see any of the pros of the blockchain part in those examples:

Haddad acknowledges that—“Of course we could do all of what we’re doing today without using blockchain,” he says. But, he adds, “my personal view is that the eventual end goal is digital ID, and beneficiaries must own and control their data.”

If Building Blocks can’t be adopted there, then aside from making the WFP’s operations a bit more efficient and transparent, it will remain little more than a centrally controlled database dressed in a costume of distributed, decentralized trust.

And for the mypass system, it’s on top of Ethereum (see article), so maybe face the same scaling issues that the WFP did (and resort to private blockchain - building on top of a public blockchain significantly used for financial gain through speculation seems a bit mismatched too) - also it seems a bit like yet another bit of bureaucracy for the homeless person to have to take care of! If they lose the key (which is their phone number for the trial?) they:

and are able to add two additional verified users to their accounts, like a service worker or an emergency-care provider, should they be locked out.

I would rather put focuses on human solutions to not requiring so many official documents in the first place - I sometimes find it hard myself to present as an official person as I might have a utilities bill, or a regular income, etc… even though those things aren’t actually needed to be used, they are just things that work for most/many people, it’s going to be “fun” being an edge case in this future we’re building!

The human solutions I think can be very effective - instead of requiring a specific certificate of education, a group of empowered people can be quite capable of working out if somebody really has the skills they claim to have. And perhaps by requiring so many official documents all the time it just pushes the corruption back to those which can circumvent it (e.g. US college admissions scandals, or fake documents being traded using bitcoin).

I just wish all the energy that goes into those (and many other projects) could be harnessed to address our systemic structural inequalities and to solving human caused climate catastrophe :confused:

I think this is one of the really tricky things to deal with in alternative/activist communities - the “normal” world at least has expensive psychiatrists and therapists to deal with some of it. I think self and community care is not to be underestimated in movements fighting for moral/social/climate justice. This microsolidarity proposal seems a good effort in that direction.

I regularly need to detach from much of what I’m doing, this is my best strategy:


…and it is actually me in the photo!


#22

Yes, I agree. Adding these layers of technology is not really addressing the structural problems at the heart of this society… Would be much better to see folks coming together in real life to care for each other instead of blindly trusting technology to solve the problems.

Nice to see that you get a chance to get away every now and then. What body of water is that in the picture?

For myself, I have started making cyanotypes. I enjoy playing with found objects in the sun. I hope to start a small flower garden to create natural dyes soon.

IMG_20190331_174833278

:sun_with_face::sunflower:


#23

P.S. thanks for sharing the microsolidarity proposal :slight_smile:


#24

It’s off the east coast of Scotland, just south of Aberdeen (on my way to a rethinking economics conference).

Nice :slight_smile: Definitely a good idea to have some activities that do not involve being hunched at the computer…


#25

I really enjoy reading the discussions here because I’ve been thinking myself and planning about trying to introduce a currency to connect some of the grassroots sharing initiatives, including foodsaving, where I live. The principle is exactly what you mentioned @wutougui, to reward and create an incentive to people who put their time and energy to create value to the community, which is otherwise not valued by the capitalist markets. For that I believe a cryptocurrency is unnecessary, it adds complexity and bad governance on top of it. The simplest technology of keeping a ledger in a book to account for people’s contributions and expenses would do the job in a sufficiently small community, and a normal platform with a server and client side could optimize it for larger communities and networks (see https://www.community-exchange.org and http://communityforge.net/en)

The bigger question here is one of currency design, meaning the following:

  • Who issues the currency and through which act is it issued?
  • How can the currency be spent and valued by the participants?
  • Who has the power to decide on the above questions?

For a proper currency design I’m more convinced of mutual credit systems, that can be issued by participants rather than a currency based on scarcity (basically any cryptocurrency and fiat money). Famous examples are LETS, which is a mutual credit system on a more individual level, and business mutual credits systems like WIR in Switzerland.

These are only ways of accounting for participant’s contributions and expenditures without the need of using money. The currency itself is backed by the participants’ promises to provide goods and services when they go into debt (since for every credit there is a debt somewhere, preferably with no interest). So I guess the question to ask in the case of Savannah is “who could the participants (people and organizations) be and what kind of valuable thing do they provide that can be exchanged among themselves with the help of a currency?

For sure! There are lots of real examples out there!


#26

The information you shared is very exciting! I will read through and digest it a bit. I have learned the hard way how important incentives are for an idea to have lasting impact. I am interested in how to do this as simply and efficiently as possible.

I feel much more focused after sharing with you all. I hope to try the best I can to address a selection of core problems with my community:
One systemic issue that is important to address in Savannah (and cities all over the world, I believe) is gentrification, and the inequality that it creates.

Another systemic issue is food deserts, where in the US it is very difficult for citizens living in economically disadvantaged communities to access fresh fruits and vegetables. (I feel this is more of a uniquely American problem and it’s horrible…).

I am drafting a rough plan for an app/tool that can help communities address these issues. I’ll share here in the next couple weeks and would love your feedback.

By the way, are you all familiar with the artist/scholar Rosa Menkman? The teaching resources that she has shared through social media and the web have been very important to me and my perception of media/communication/world…

She created a site beyondresolution.info that is a collection of her class resources. She teaches at Kunsthochschule Kassel. In a perfect world I would have the German language ability and the money to attend her classes, sadly T_T I can’t speak German and am broke…

Anyway, she shared a link to this book: State Machines. I have been reading through it and highly recommend it :smile:


#27

I just wanted to share how serious the food desert situation is here in my city.

Savannah_FoodDesertKey

The city is barely 3 square kilometers but the color coded areas represent low income areas where access to fresh produce is 1.5km to 15km away. Public transportation is horrible here so even carting groceries 1km is difficult. Another thing is because of the history of racism in the city(country) those color-coded areas are predominately black American neighborhoods…

This is the situation in the majority of US cities. Find more info here if interested: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/


#28

Looks like a fucking dystopia to me :frowning: But that is exactly the place that needs committed people like you, so I hope you can always find a good balance between being active and not burning out.

The context reminds me of Jackson, Mississipi. Do you know Cooperation Jackson? They have been dealing with issues of food sovereignty, access to land, racism, etc. and trying to build an alternative for many years. I’ve met one guy who came to make a presentation here in Gothenburg. It was quite inspiring. Although they don’t seem to do any kind of exchange with a complementary currency. Maybe the piece of puzzle missing? :wink:

Will check her out!


#29

Btw, still on the topic of complementary currencies, I just came across this article about an emerging mutual credit system between coops in the UK.


#30

Yes… it’s very sad. The US has serious problems that are not addressed by our government. People are suffering here.

I will continue to study alternative currencies. As you can see though, communities here have been almost completely dissolved in the services of massive corporate interests and heartlessness (using racism, class-ism, nationalism…), there is a lot of work to be done. But how? Collective action is important but is attacked on all sides by student debt loads, a militarized police force and a weaponized prison system. Not to say that it’s all bad here but it’s bad. Way way worse than the majority of Americans understand or would accept. I just have the experience of living abroad long enough to be able to compare…

The time for action is now. And finding ways to use technology as a tool to support vulnerable people and systems of exchange is best. I’ll continue to share some of my investigations/interventions and I look forward to hearing from you all.

:blush:


#31

speaking of interventions. some photos for a project that I am developing looking at the city’s history/gentrification…

DSC02577

DSC02618