Consent, consensus and Covid April 8

The video file seems to be corrupted for this call. Following are the meeting notes from Laura:
DAO call April 8, 2020

Grace

Not everything is done by voting, in collectives and collaboratives. In DAOs we seem to rely too much on voting. What happens is that we all have to agree, and that’s what consensys is, but consensys actually means, “can you live with this?” In the scale from y”ou don’t need anyone’s permission” to “you need everyone’s permissio, that’s what we are today. Today we are talking about the Covid-19 commons, which is not democratically run. How are governments dealing with it? How can we use the commons to govern stuff that belongs to all of us?

Ostrom’s 8 Principles for Managing a Commons

  1. Define clear group boundaries.
  2. Match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions.
  3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules.
    1. Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities.
  4. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior.
  5. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators.
  6. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution.
  7. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.

Martin

We would benefit as a whole from diving in to these questions.

Grace

Governments are trying to get input without admitting that they want to do it or letting go of their authority. I can tell by how many masks I see at the open market how much people are accepting authority on this.

Martin

I am in a peculiar position of bouncing from the UK to Ireland. I’m not sure how easy it is to talk about “governments” as a homogenous group. It’s easy for a government to nod through draconian legislation in the UK. That’s really interesting to me.

Anja:

We have been talking about this with Margaret somebody. In Slovenia, we are so small that most people obey the government. It’s easy when you have local/smaller communities. When there are some measures being imposed, they are on a local scale. Here, we only have the opposition and the party in place in power. Everybody knows that we don’t have enough time to elaborate each decision. In the US or Switzerland, they do not have consensus and the response is localized. Around decisions that are imminent, I think consensus is the right way to go, but you have the risk that it is not going to be passed. We don’t want to risk that, so we pass laws, with say, ⅔ vote. What is it that we are trying to do with that decision? We are still going to have people on the streets, but we will have the police deal with us, still in governmental hands, but that leads to governmental privacy invasions. I don’t wnat to go in that direction, but that’s what happens when we don’t have consensus among our citizens.

Grace

When you need consensus and when you force an outcome: in some decisions, it requires expertise, like a fire. One of the criteria is if you have epidemiologists who declare that some decisions need expertise. Who should

Lauren

What’s in the Covid commons?

Grace:

Covid is the thing in the commons

Martin

But what about the narrative? What about the data? Taxpayers pay for science, and it is not unreasonable to ask that the results are available for us all to inspect.

Anja

I disagree with thinking that Covid is a commons. It is a common threat. It doesn’t demand us to think how we will governing the resource, but how we will be distributing the common resrouces that we have to deal with the common threat. A common threat is climate change, while a common resource is air. The common resources are the science, the knowledge, etc.

Jeff

They are related, but the commons is managing public health on a global scale.

Grace

Managing public health on a global scale, but that’s not what’s been happening. People are managing it on a local scale, but the common threat doesn’t recognize boarders. Who is governing? It’s interesting because the epidemiologists don’t agree country to country, and how you govern it is really complex.

Anja:

It is frustrating: Germany is closing borders, and they prevented equipment from reaching Slovenia. WE don’t think of things like common resources. Slovenia can’t produce this kind of stuff. For someone like germany or UK, that’s not such an issue, but it is for us. When it comes down to the spread of disease, it spreads with the same speed everywhere. If you have the subway, the spread is even faster, but the r0 is the same; if there are thousands of people getting sick in our country, that’s going to be more serious for a small country.

We’re starting the database of measures within different countries here: https://www.notion.so/FLC-COVID19-977758a8d13244e19bd951e5b1cf2894

Grace:

It’s not how fast it spreads but how many hospital beds you have. How fast you are going to die does not have to do with how fast it spreads. But we are saying that it

Michal:

In the US, the discussion was: are we going to save the economy or are we going to save people? I like PolkDot, because there is no binary outcome or trigger. If it is done by the council, based on the people, if the public wants something badly, they need a threshold to say yes. They have more flexibility to adapt.

Grace

There hasn’t been a situation where a government has explicitly say: “Here are some specific proposals for you to choose from:” American has made an assumption that we want to optimize for market value, but no one is being explicit about what decisions are being made and why.

Michal:

One report about the US was declassified. They had a plan in January, and then a guy who is responsible for some of the response sold stocks because he had privileged information.

https://newamericafoundation.github.io/pandemic-response-repository/ — it’s not legal response but could be used by the governments https://news.expats.cz/weekly-czech-news/under-czech-coronavirus-regulations-even-nudists-must-wear-face-masks-czech-police/

Anja:

There is an obvious tradeoff that we are creating. We are managing the situation well in Slovenia. They are providing us with a UBI, and the tradeoff was that they introduced some strict measures.

Michal

There was this article that the police in Czech republic was checking people with masks. At a nudist beach people could be naked, but they needed masks. I have a close Mexican friend studying in the Netherlands. They were very liberal with the sex trade and marijuana, “tolerating” things, and if you have in your head that you are the most tolerant, but something is disapproving in the back of your head. In the CR they do not think that they are tolerant and do not want to tolerate the measures.

Grace

Some of this is cultural. People aren’t thinking that it’s a long term measure, with the UBI.

Anja

“To tolerate” means to bear the pain. The Chinese word is “broad minded.” This may effect the cultures as well.

Michal

The Polish word for entrepreneur is a guy in his 50’s, slightly obese, and abusing his employees.

Grace:

We can notice that we are perceiving that the government is deciding things rather than experts or hospitals. “We are going to allow you to govern our commons even though you are not legitimate.” This is a displacement of who should govern what. We don’t have a good methodology for saying, “these communities can be responsible for themselves.”

Michal

You could do liquid democracy, giving temporary right to govern the commons, because we have faith that they would govern the commons correctly, but this is where it breaks down on an international level.

From Jeff:

Gus

We are living in a society with a governance culture from royalties. Kings were entitled by God to rule. Governments now talk about democracy and people can vote, but it is for me just a circus. We need to empower ourselves.

Michal

If times are uncertain, people will go with what’s familiar. The alternatives are new and people don’t know them. For people who have studied Ostrom….

Jeff

Aside from the 8 principles, she identified 6 roadblocks for achieving commons. How can we build new institutional patterns? It is basically Ostrom saying, “these work in small groups.” In Slovenia, you could say, don’t be a Covidiote, and people will listen, but that starts to break down in larger nations. The paper that is coming together between CommonsStack, Commons Engine, and P2P Foundation should be coming out soon. New institutional patterns: how could we make it an effective form of global governance?

From Jeff Emmett to Everyone: 04:55 PM

Ostrom’s 6 challenges of scaling the Commons:

  1. ‘Scaling up problems’

  2. ‘Culture diversity challenge’

  3. ‘Complications of interlinked CPRs’

  4. ‘Accelerating rates of change’

  5. ‘Requirement of unanimous agreement as a collective-choice rule’

  6. ‘We have only one globe with which to experiment’

Hedayat

I would like to add something from Sartre, telling that “if you are imagining the virtual embassy, do not hand the real bomb to a virtual terrorist.” We have imaginary governance but a real threat as coronavirus.

1.5 months ago in Germany we had a carnival, and normal people were asking why it was not shut down, but they didn’t have enough authority. If we had self-government situation, we would be in the same situation. This bomb, the Coronavirus, let’s step by step create a small group, local people.

Grace

I was reading about in Wuhan how the government stopped people from warning each other. We might want to take care of each other, but in some ways we don’t have good enough social signalling to say that we agree. My religion (I’m a Jew) is an example of long-scale governance of people, with lots of laws and cannons. The Rabbis are saying different things. I wouldn’t call it a hierarchy, but there is a way of getting social signalling. If you look at the Talmud, the bible is in the middle, and you see 5 different interpretations around it. It’s meant to be that way. Bet Shammai was by the book. Bet Hillel was more “the spirit of the law.” That’s a pattern of what we have seen in the past: ceremonial and “That’s what God said.” People love ceremonies, pretty masks, there are ways to ceremonialize some stuff.

Michal

(Holds up the book, Rituals at Work). Most of the laws are kind of trashy, not as good as they could be. Think about it: how good was the regulation under the UK, a few people working over a weekend creating a 400-page document?

Anja:

The underlying problem: you cannot expect the people to know all the laws. People cannot abide by the rules, so we develop a tolerance mechanism. The more we automate regulation policies, just how much we don’t act according to the laws: for example, with taxation. We have been automating a lot of processes.

Michal

In China, they have drones monitoring to see if people do jaywalking. Now the phones do contact tracing. Once in China, you go to the supermarket with a fever, and they take you away for two weeks, with no discussion.

James

The CDC was telling everybody that masks were not effective, and it seemed like a plan to maximize the availablity for the people who needed them most. And 3M, who had a bunch of resources, masks I think, and sold them to the highest bidder overseas. Americans were upset at these “shameless capitalists.” It’s interesting how it plays out in the minds: socialism vs. capitalism and where this situation is leading us. Really interested in continuing the discussion.

Gus

I heard the shipment was intercepted by the US Navy and sent back to the US.

Michal

I had a bit of a heated conversation about Poland’s closing of borders. Germany has been stopping trucks from going out. There was another story that the Trump Administration was talking to a company who might have a vaccine, and Germany ousted the CEO. There are weird things happening on capitalist and socialist side.

James

We don’t want to feel responsible for this virus, but drawing a link between climate change and Covid. It’s nicer to think that we don’t have responsibility for it, but it is a commons and we are sharing it and have to prevent negative outcomes. What isn’t a commons?

Grace

What isn’t a commons? I love that. In the Crypto industry there is this libertarian view, like “I’m not harming anyone.” Re: China: I was watching something in India and some Chinese follower said, “We are dealing with a lot of prejudice.” And the response was, “There are a lot of viruses coming out of China, maybe you could think about that.” But then China is a commons too.

Michal

Is China responsible, or not responsible? The people in climate change who are the most responsible do not bear the brunt of the harm.

Jeff

You are right, grace, everything is connected, and systems don’t end where we draw the boundaries. What China is doing with their air pollution affects us, but we have no way to deal with that. It can be resolved from complicated, nested DAO ecosystems. We have reached the peak of our ability of nation states to deal with these problems. We currently have a global race to the bottom with the environment. I think that the Commons as an institutional pattern will help to mitigate that in the future.

Hedayat

We put a value on whatever is scarce. It is our common mistake. We should have been talking seriously before about global warming, but didn’t. Scarcity is the meaning of the money. Til the time that we are thinking of the wrong pattern, we will continue in this way. Soon we will have to buy air in a capsule.

Martin

Good reference: https://www.esrad.org.uk/resources/vsmg_3/screen.php?page=recursion

Hedayat

It’s getting clear that I want to start the community around me. To review my fundemental problem: scarcity is the root of our problem.

Lauren: I am just thinking of the informaiton as a commons. A lot of these governance strategies are silly with the current state of our info grid, as we can’t even figure out what is happening and what the threats are.

+1 Lauren! We need Computer Aided Governance real bad: https://medium.com/commonsstack/computer-aided-governance-cag-a-revolution-in-automated-decision-support-systems-5d15aec2c3d5

Martin

Synergies of thought are going on in this group. I hope that it’s not an echo chamber, but I don’t think so. A lot of motivation to change matters responsibility and taking responsibility for doing so, which is perhaps quite new generationally, and only tech advances will give us an opportunity to do. An interplay with a centralized narrative.

Gus

The conversation today: the proper boundaries of the commons. It’s cool to talk about real public commons that effect us all, but also to remember how much influential we can be in a range of actions. In my point of view, I prefer a pragmatic approach. Resource mapping. When we are talking about nation-state issues, that has been like that for hundreds of years, I hope that we can govern those as a commons with rockstar tools. But I will be skeptical.

Jeff

Lines between silos are being blurred, lots of synchronicities to explore.

From Michal to Everyone: 04:55 PM

Grace
If you have diabetes, your feet are not signalling correctly to the rest of your body, so maybe we will have some sessions in May dealing with our information systems.

Michal

I can do gratitude now. I am intellectually lazy, but I am grateful for the intellectual stimulation. There are lots of different insights coming.

Values & priorities vs. Consensus

Some placeholders MM:

  • institutional yes (Amazon, 2 page memo)

  • “will it hurt the organization”

  • “can you live with it”

  • tolerating vs. accepting

  • Polkadot — two-way inputs

  • Masks — UK, liberties, politicians, incentives

  • Highest principles - politicians, UK, economy vs. lives