It occurred to me a few days ago that this blog might be quite confusing for some folks. So far, we have not posted a clear overview of exactly what it is we are all discussing and exploring. I thought it might be helpful then to try to put into down-to-earth language the basic tenets of our (the contributors to this blog's) thinking.
Over the last six months, my work as a documentary filmmaker has allowed me to be in an ongoing dialog with Eric Harris-Braun and Arthur Brock about currency related issues. These conversations made clear to me that the core money issue goes much deeper than I had ever thought or imagined.
For me, their central revolutionary insight is that many social tools / institutions that we have previously put in different categories may actually share a common deep structure. The best way to understand what we mean by a "common deep structure" is to make a comparison to the concept of universal grammar in natural languages. Universal grammar is the deep structure of grammar that all natural languages share. While natural languages differ in an almost endless variety of surface ways (phonemes, written symbols, grammar, syntax, etc), all of them share the same deep structure.
What Arthur and Eric realized is that there is another type of language that humans use to coordinate group behaviors. We are all very familiar with the manifestations of this other type of language, but we don’t usually think of them as languages. Money is one (and in some ways the most obvious) manifestation of this language. Other manifestations include voting processes, grades, diplomas, reputations systems (like on Ebay), task management systems, movie tickets, and even brand labels.
What all of these social institutions have in common is that they establish flows of human action / information / meaning that, when taken together as a whole, create complex group behaviors. This includes identifying goals and milestones (both personal and at the group level), distributing labor among the members of the group (deciding who does what), creating personal and group accountability, determining the permissions and privileges of individual members if the group, and evolving the terms of these interactions as the need arises.
While we can describe piecemeal the particulars of a given flow, the complex behaviors that arise out of interacting layers of feedback become nearly impossible to describe or even imagine within the structure of conventional language. These complex flows may require an entirely new type of language to succinctly communicate; a FLOW language. For this reason, we have begun exploring the universal grammar of social contracts and the flows of human activity they enable.
As Jean-Francois Noubel of The Transitioner points out, as our society has tried to deal with complex social and environmental problems, it has become increasingly clear that our current form of collective intelligence is sadly inadequate. By understanding the deep structure of group coordinating systems, we hope to design a virtual platform that allows for the creation of a variety of new social tools that coordinate the behavior of groups while still respecting the autonomy of the individual (all open source style of course). These new tools for expressing, understanding, and influencing social flows are what we are referring to when we use the word CURRENCY.