William Holz

This conversation is closed.

The promised follow-up on the Co-opernation! (with a delightfully enjoyable read!)

Well, apparently all that science and documentation wasn't what everybody needed!

No, The Doctor is who we needed, because this is the sort of idea that everybody expects from him, isn't it? And I have to admit the time travel element really helped us illustrate some things better.

The idea:
1) To create corporation that's owned by all of us

2) Turn that corporation into our very own nation, to turn 'employment' into 'peaceful citizenship'

3) Offer up a variety of amazing sorts of 'life packages' that will only get better,

4) Hire EVERYBODY who can agree not to hurt anybody else in exchange for safety, support, health, and awesomeness, and

5) reset the world, making all other governments and corporations irrelevant and putting the innocent and gentle in charge.

I have no idea what comes after that, because then it'll be up to them. Who else would you trust with our future? It beats our current options, doesn't it?

We've got a google doc that we'll be updating as we get more questions. There's no problem that can't be resolved at this point, because you'll soon see that this is a FAR more plausible steady-state than anything we see in the real world.

Without further ado, here's a google .doc in which Doctor Who points out the obvious and shows us how to crowdsource a revolution.


Also, we posted it on Boingboing and already a couple of people are getting it! Love those guys!


And lastly, for those who want to see some origins, here's the thread that helped us along the path (Thanks Amanda for the reminder!)


  • thumb
    Aug 18 2013: Hi everyone, How does Co-opernation move forwards? Some time ago I did quite a bit of detailed research into how an alternative, parallel society might look more importantly, get started. I recorded a lot of this in a blog. www.cynapse1000.weebly.com . The development of the arguments is best read chronologically. My experiment there failed to reach critical mass and become self-sustaining. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps the time was wrong. Have a look and take what you need
    • thumb
      Aug 18 2013: Thanks!

      Honestly, we're all running into a similar problem, I think. Certainly just among the people who regularly hit TED we've got orders of magnitude more people than we need who'd enthusiastically do something like this, and while gleefully abusing the corporation isn't the only mechanism, it sure is an obvious one since it's such a powerful beast.

      Nobody seems to be getting the attention of people who have the resources or platform to get us organized, however . . . perhaps only those of us who don't are frustrated enough to look for more creative solutions? Because it's kind of obvious that if you give most of us something better to do and TAKE CARE OF US while we're doing it, then you're going to completely change the world. . . nobody can compete with that, the bar's set so very, very low.

      We were hoping this would be the place! But having read a bunch of other threads I'm not seeing much connecting of ideas with practical solutions that allow people to dedicate effort to them, just lots of amazing ideas that seem to kind of fade away.

      I suppose they say nothing important is easy, but this shouldn't be as hard as people are making it out to be. We shouldn't have to have put together a fraction of the work we did to kick something off. Heck, it should have happened without us, right? I mean, how do you not see half these TED talks and not see solutions rather than problems? Isn't that what this place is FOR?

      I'll extend this, just in case something useful comes, even if it's just a couple more of us that combine whatever last few elements people need for this to click.

      Already browsed some of your blog, going to camp there a bit now! :)
    • thumb
      Aug 18 2013: Hey, a quick follow-up!

      First, I LOVED the way you took the 'Imagine if there was no heaven' bit, I've been designing in a Teapot Agnostic way, because I think that's a very strong angle (because let's be honest, the line between 'what we can measure' and 'what we can't' isn't all that fuzzy, is it? And I like being able to say certain things are just none of anybody else's business), but yes. . . behaving as if . . . that has some power too.

      And then the question. . . with the basic concepts you have, what happens if you add the 'corporation as a nation' and 'hiring into citizenship' angles?
      • thumb
        Aug 19 2013: Hi William,

        Like you, as I watched more and more TED talks, I noticed connections and themes that appeared to show an emerging zeitgeist at odds with how the world is actually run. I started to investigate these themes in the blog.

        I think one of the issues that you have to beware of is that the analogy of a corporation brings with it all sorts of expectations, not the least that work done for it will be paid. That creates a very high bar to entry as the funds to achieve this have to be raised. Investors usually require a working prototype or proof of a business case. For this reason, you might want to start by looking at how open source projects can evolve into revenue earning entities over time. With open source, the entry bar is low and people can give as much or as little time as they want. You can demonstrate to investors that the network of people that you have assembled is effective, whilst growing the network. Humans learn by copying. Make something small and manageable that others can grow by copying. This will hopefully take some of the load that you feel away.
        • thumb
          Aug 19 2013: "I think one of the issues that you have to beware of is that the analogy of a corporation brings with it all sorts of expectations, not the least that work done for it will be paid. That creates a very high bar to entry as the funds to achieve this have to be raised. Investors usually require a working prototype or proof of a business case. "

          Yeah, part of that has to be somebody else's job, but there are lots of other people who can handle that. It's not like largely useless business aren't started up.

          However, I've got to point out that there's a context here that has to be broken. A corporation doesn't have to make a financial profit to survive, that's a point I'm trying to make. Once it has enough of a supply chain under it's wing it can pretty much ignore the rest of the world if it wants to (we're not going that route specifically, because we want o interface as we grow) . . .

          Does the idea of taking a Mondragon type operation and designing it to be able to hire people more freely work better for you then?
  • thumb
    Aug 12 2013: look at urgent evoke? Jane McGongal (watch her first talk) did something cool there
    • thumb
      Aug 12 2013: Wow! I didn't know about that one, and I stopped counting the TED talks I watched once I broke 800 (I swear they're all taking about parts of the same thing sometimes).

      I'm going to be spending a bit of time there right now, it's interesting that they've got a similar (and more sophisticated!) approach. I'm wondering if the 'science fiction' aspect of things is almost necessary to give people a broader vision of what sort of results we're talking about.

      Of course, considering nothing's happening yet and this is the sort of thing that could take over the world in a matter of months (unless they're not using the hiring = citizenship angle? Is that all they're missing to create the engine?), it makes me worry that a whole bunch of us are feeling like we're talking to gigantic multi-billion person brick wall of lovely but exasperating humans. That's sad, because that just means people are struggling to break context.

      Thanks so much for the link! I'll follow up with impressions tomorrow, I'm already somewhat smitten, especially as I have NO artistic talent!
    • thumb
      Aug 13 2013: Okay, a quick follow up!

      Rebecca and I both saw her first Ted Talk and LOVED it. It stuck in the back of my mind when putting the whole thing together, I use 'stories', but 'games' is really just as good an application. In fact, I've been arguing that we're living in a really big LARP that just happens not to be much fun. I slipped in the 'Guild of WOW' and their top-percentile in overproductivity as a tribute, even. :)

      I' going to have to add both her AND Urgent Evoke as important references, because again. . . several elements not just one.

      In fact, I'm going back to my original thought and thinking if they had the employment = peaceful citizenship angle they could explode just as easily, couldn't they?

      I also amended the document to add this bit, do you think that helps clarify that concept?

      "There are many ways we can go about this. . . bootstrapping an eco-village, complete social revolution with a vision, but most of the most solid ones involve the cheerful use (and friendly abuse) of the corporation.

      I know some people instantly cringed, but I'll just point out three things that may help explain.
      1) The corporation is our most powerful construct, more powerful than a nation.
      2) It's not stuck to a chunk of dirt.
      3) Everybody wants job.

      So what happens when you turn employment to peaceful citizenship in a corporation YOU control from the inside? The Doctor is about to show you.

      There are still several mechanisms even there (starting as a small Valve or worker Cooperative with this purpose, acquiring an existing corporation and hollowing it out, etc.). The only requirement is that the corporation can NOT be publicly traded. No stock market. That road leads to stupid."

      How's that work?
  • thumb
    Aug 12 2013: Thanks for sharing your Doctor Who-inspired piece. What do you see as its purpose and audience? Have you also advanced your outline of the Coopernation? I know on TED people were asking whether you could go and describe your plan in MORE detail/depth than you had rather than less, but I know this site has a different audience than some others may.
    • thumb
      Aug 12 2013: The purpose: To use existing constructs, technologies, and our own psychology to create a bridge between the mess we have now and a future in which we all have control of our lives and people don't think it's okay to hurt other people.

      The audience: Anybody who believes every child on the planet should have the potential to explore the full scope of human experience. Also, those who want a peaceful revolution.

      I know people like lots of info, but doing an infodump on Hieroglyph got us nowhere, it was too dry to read, and too many words with too many elements for most people (I was informed). You can't create a solution that encompasses the entire scope of our lives without covering a lot of bases.

      That being said, ask questions, we'll add the answers to the .doc. If it clicks with somebody then we'd be happy to have them help or even get it out there in different formats or add things themselves. I don't understate when I say that we could fill several novels with solutions, links, references, and ideas.

      Also, as I mention in the .doc, there's a dance between creating a clear but overly specific vision and exposing a much broader framework with much more potential. I was hoping to get a lot of people's neurons firing BEFORE hitting too many details, because that's the best way for you guys to give us some pleasant surprises.

      And we're all in this together, aren't we?
      • thumb
        Aug 12 2013: I did not mean the purpose of the coopernation. I meant the purpose of the Dr. Who piece specifically.

        If you have a document that lays out your proposal in more detail than you had the last time you brought your coopernation idea to TED, I would appreciate your linking it here.

        That way you guys can give US some pleasant surprises if you have some substance you are willing to share!

        I think your sharing in that way would be very consistent with the spirit of your coopernation.
        • thumb
          Aug 12 2013: OH! I'm guessing you haven't read it yet, then?

          The Doctor Who piece contains the explanation, and it's also got a living document at the bottom to incorporate any questions and answers in a coherent way.

          I hope we didn't give the impression that the Doctor Who bit was just a bit of fun!

          No, instead it's a tool, it's not a fan-fiction at all but a demonstration with examples and context, it's been FAR more useful in explaining things to people than anything else has been.

          When doing things the 'right' way fails, sometimes the 'wrong' way can succeed!

          It's also far more entertaining, so people actually tend to finish it, giving them enough information to at least appreciate the potential, and any questions they have from there can be answered.

          There's a lot of psychology in play here, I've had a lot of people just assume that because it hasn't happened yet then it can't, or get their head in a weird place (like assuming that we'd have to give up all our toys, when in reality the status quo is the low bar there). I can keep ahead of that in 1:1 in-person conversation, because I can watch reactions, but that doesn't work nearly as well in text, does it?

          It wasn't my initially preferred method, but I can't argue with results. I live with the fact that every day we wait is a whole lot of cumulative suffering that isn't being prevented, and finally we have progress.
      • thumb
        Aug 12 2013: Of course I read it! It printed out until the the following partial sentence: "So now we've got very flat salaries, even more control over the local environment, and some" And i looked at the last page or so online.

        Forty pages, I think.

        I participated in the previous thread, so it did not add to my understanding, though of course to someone who had not participated in that thread, it would.
        • thumb
          Aug 12 2013: Ahh, groovy. So what are we missing then? This is important, because that contains far more information than I had when the seed was first developed and everything else was just piling on. The script has definitely been sufficient for some people and far more effective than anything else. Timetraveller also did a nice partial summary back in the old thread.

          What more do you need? Because I can't do this alone, that's not how this sort of thing works.
      • thumb
        Aug 12 2013: Let's say you were going to Kickstarter or to a foundation for support for launching your idea.

        Would you expect this script would, for example, be enough to convince people that what you are proposing is a sustainable model in the sense of not requiring continuous further infusions of outside money to stay afloat? Do you think they would understand what the launch would look like? How it would scale up sustainably( again, without continuing infusions of cash from outside?)

        The only reason I ask these questions is that I take seriously your interest in actually making something happen.

        But if you are getting everything you need through the distribution of your Dr. who script, that's great.
        • thumb
          Aug 12 2013: THIS is what I'm looking for, thanks. I can't answer 'make it make sense to me', but I can answer specific questions very easily.

          I'll need to think about some rephrasing. In particular because there are several different possible approaches and timelines (i.e. kickstarter, planned eco-village, starting as a small Valve-like company with purpose, buying an existing company and hollowing it out, social rewrites, our own Sealand, and so on).

          I'm also seeing there's an important bit not clicking! And that's great, because it's a very important part of this. . . because while some of our timelines would involve selling internally developed products externally when we need an infusion of resources (NOT MONEY! Money doesn't actually do anything in the grander scheme and it's more effective to focus on what we get out of it, that opens up far more possibilities as well) . . . it's also really important to point out that it doesn't take that many people with very little land to create a fully functional supply chain that needs very little (if any) external resources.

          I think that point needs a lot more emphasis, Mondragon's a small example there I'm sure, but the more of a supply chain you have under your wing, the less important the rest of the world becomes. That's not the point, of course, but the design fundamental helps keep things sturdy depending on the approach.

          I'm moving tonight, so tomorrow we'll be updating the bottom section with a bunch of answers and solutions and see if that fills in the gaps. And we'll just keep adding from there. That'll keep things focused on the bits people actually need without scaring everybody off with a few million characters :)
      • thumb
        Aug 12 2013: I think that saying, for example, " that it doesn't take that many people with very little land to create a fully functional supply chain that needs very little (if any) external resources" is not the same as showing the numbers, if you will. It is the proof that may be credible rather than the claim.

        Similarly you would want to put forward a sensitivity analysis encompassing several scenarios for what happens if you start with a small or medium sized operation staffed by everyone who wants to participate. I seem to remember that qualifications of any kind are not considered for your hires.

        I really don't think people who would be scared off by a well-articulated proposal are the ones you need to launch your project. You have a background in business, as I recall. Would your colleagues have been scared off by a business case? Would a foundation? The lawyers, engineers, economists, small business owners, non-profit entrepreneurs and board members, PhDs, scientists, and energetic young high school and college students here? I think maybe you are underestimating the ability of the audience.
        • thumb
          Aug 12 2013: I'm not a 'well articulated business proposal' person, and parts of this idea don't fit that context well. If somebody wants to help there, that's fine, but you're asking me to relearn things I've deliberately unlearned and I've only go so much neural processing power. I have no difficulty understanding what I'm talking about, but what is crystal clear to me can be difficult to communicate in language others easily understand.

          I'm FAR better suited to solving problems and have mentioned several times I'm horrible at documentation, so would we prefer I just completely give up (I've only got a bit of stable time left) or can other people actually HELP? Because this is not a job for one person and a couple of loyal friends.
        • thumb
          Aug 13 2013: Oh! I have a question for you, Fritzie! You may be able to help flesh this bit out.

          I need to find a better illustration of a problem with a lot of the supply chain documentation out there, because I'm having a hard time putting all those bits together without it getting HUGE, and this is actually an explanation that can be really small and tight if I can find the right source.

          There are plenty of small, independent, peaceful groups out there that illustrate part of the concept, but most of them are fairly low-tech, and often their accidental solution is their limited communication helps them get past monkeysphere issues without even trying (if you haven't read the CRACKED article, Mr Wong explains Dunbar's Number brilliantly!). . . in particular on peacefulsocieties.org . . . however we're going the high tech (if people want) route, and there's a problem in context there.

          Most of my references include dollar costs, and while that's useful for initial acquisition, most of those costs have LAYERS of artificial inflation. An MRI machine is less advanced and requires a lesser resource investment than your average minivan, yet the prices don't reflect that, nor do the prices of parts. . . it's a rabbit hole of illusory value that actually goes deeper than I can dig, and that's before I incorporate low quality!

          Anybody know of a resource or group that's got something out there already? I figure here they'd have somebody with a Tech-friendly eco-village concept where people put those bits together already! Because . . . wow. I have no words. (okay, lots, but I want TIGHTER ones!)
      • thumb
        Aug 12 2013: I think you can get people to help if you let them in.
        • thumb
          Aug 12 2013: We're begging everybody, there's no pride here, just service to the greater good and humanity as a whole. I already mentioned that we'd love people to contribute, and to be blunt, that's an understatement, I for one want people to take over if possible, or at the very most to be one of many.

          Since we still have a whole bunch of unemployed people, and because all those third world orphans aren't helping us get things right, I think it's safe to say that we're still struggling to get this out there properly.

          Give me a leader a sponsor or a visionary, somebody who's got energy and isn't all traumatized like me, somebody with resources or somebody who can help get this to somebody who can. They can do what I can't. This is about the whole world, so not only is it arrogant of me to think it can be as good as it can without other minds involved, but it's also asking a bit much of me, I think. I mean, I like to rise to a challenge, but this one is overwhelming.
      • thumb
        Aug 12 2013: I remember from your previous thread, William, that you are looking for help and a potential new leader. I think you will find people here and elsewhere willing to help you when they can see how to do that- when they know what the 'this' is.

        There are large numbers of talented people all over the place with a great commitment to change as well as the time, energy, creativity, and critical thinking skills for worthwhile big projects. I don't think people-resources are scarce in this area. People love to put energy into worthwhile undertakings when they come upon them.
        • thumb
          Aug 12 2013: Yeah, it's been a while, I should have made sure to re-emphasize some parts! I honestly got a bit frustrated at Hieroglyph (it is a slow forum, but I felt alone out there and it gets frustrating talking to yourself!) so the script idea was truly an act of sheer desperation.

          I know there are SO many people who can run with this and do amazing, wonderful things and make it so much better even, it's just been a struggle to connect the idea with the people. That's why I came back when I figured I had an easier to digest angle. :)

          On the positive side, the carpal's much better now.
      • thumb
        Aug 13 2013: I fear I must leave that research to you. As you say, there are small high tech companies that operate very successfully, collaboratively, and in ways that bring their employees pleasure and keep energy high, but they are about functioning rather than opening up supply chain sort of book-keeping to people.
        • thumb
          Aug 14 2013: OH! OH!

          See, that's what I was talking about, the context overcomplicates things. Those corporations already serve as good examples, I just wasn't sure if people were digesting the fact that the more components of life we incorporate internally (whether health care, entertainment, food, or housing) the less we have to worry about getting those elements from the 'outside world', which largely eliminates the cost issues, save for in the purest sense (man-hours, resources, time, ideas, and energy)

          Perhaps I should just not bring the term up? It may not be necessary to illustrate it, and maybe that's the sort of thing that is hard to break contextually?
      • thumb
        Aug 14 2013: I think it is clear, in the sense of normal common sense, that what you provide for yourself, you don't need to buy from outside. This is not at all confusing.

        What is reasonable to ask yourself is how organizations typically decide on the level of vertical integration that makes sense and the range of products and services they believe makes sense for them to produce internally.

        As an example, why do you think Microsoft does not make the automobiles for its employees or their toothbrushes? Why do they use a contractor for any purpose?
        • thumb
          Aug 14 2013: "As an example, why do you think Microsoft does not make the automobiles for its employees or their toothbrushes? Why do they use a contractor for any purpose?"

          Three reasons!

          1) Capitalism itself encourages a sort of manufactured scarcity, so internally reducing an immediate cost by outsourcing is often wise in that context, especially since that frees up resources for other purposes and doesn't stick you with employees that you may have to lay off.

          2) They're not designed with the 'employment = citizenship' concept, so they couldn't really pull that off effectively, their corporate structure is currently really unfriendly to that sort of concept.


          3) There are some monopoly/antitrust laws they risk running afoul of, which is part of why I bring up Citizen's United and/or the idea of basing ourselves elsewhere. Location is largely unimportant in the grand scheme of things, it's just dirt.

          Thanks for the food for thought, I'm glad we had this conversation, it's exactly what I was talking about, the difference between a hard to read novella and a few short statements that are easier to grasp and don't confuse!
      • thumb
        Aug 14 2013: I do not believe these are the reasons. The first you offer about manufactured scarcity does not make sense to me as an explanation of outsourcing. The second is a claim that they cannot pull it off, that their structure is unfriendly to this, but I see you offer no evidence to support your claim. It's kind of like saying that they just aren't cool enough to do it. The third claim is simply wrong. There would be no antitrust threat if Microsoft were to make cars for its employees or for sale or make toothbrushes.
        • thumb
          Aug 14 2013: *sigh*

          Yeah, I'm sorry, we're not clicking. I need somebody else.
      • thumb
        Aug 14 2013: Just be sure as you proceed to listen also to thoughts and questions that challenge not your goals but your assumptions.
        • thumb
          Aug 14 2013: No argument there, but I'm looking for solutions and help, not problems and stress. For whatever reason, this approach has been too much work and completely exasperating, and I need to keep my stress levels down.

          I've stated REPEATEDLY that I desperately need somebody with energy to help, not somebody to drain all of mine.

          What isn't helpful is you quickly discounting things you haven't fully digested yet, I had similar problems the first time around with you, and while we all have different perspectives it's exhausting to try to deal with you. I'd rather you not reply anymore.

          I mistook 'host' for 'helpful' and spent far too much time trying to convince you. This has drained us both and provides no value. I honestly regret posting here at all, I hesitated at first and only posted because I had promised before, and I really did believe that somehow this forum was connected with the amazing visionaries that do those lovely TED talks.
  • thumb
    Aug 12 2013: Update: Cool, thanks (:
    Is there a link you can add, to the archived conversation we had that led up to this one? Thanks!
  • thumb
    Aug 14 2013: As an update, I posted here because I had promised, despite the first time being AMAZINGLY frustrating. Between the forum structure, the hosting, and the difficulty in getting any but the most limited sort of help (with occasional gems, thanks Christophe!) this has been far more frustrating than helpful. I fear I assumed that this forum somehow connected with the amazing visionaries we see so often on TED, and there was a mechanism in place to help connect good ideas with good people and to help make things happen.

    I'll set it to close as soon as possible and focus on other avenues that are more helpful. I haven't completely given up, but I'm not even slightly hopeful that this is the place where we'll make progress anymore.