July 7, 20023
It is becoming clearer and clearer to us that there is a transformative potential of viewing accounting practices and ledgers as an economic grammar — a formal language that encodes and communicates our economic realities. While traditional accounting principles have long served to sustain capitalist structures, we think that an evolved economic grammar, grounded in the principles of postcapitalism, could provide a platform for redefining economic practices and relationships. Drawing on semiotics, linguistics, and formal languages, we can show how accounting can transition from a tool of capitalism to a language of postcapitalism.
July 8, 2023
Here is the thinking related to our ETH Barcelona presentation — why we think the inevitable future of blockchain space is an inter-blockchain economic grammar as “Layer 1”.
To create a diverse, mutually reinforcing economic network, we need a new economic networking primitive: reciprocal stake holding. This becomes the financial link connecting blockchains, and economic agents. Reciprocal staking relationships involve simultaneous (1) equity exchange, (2) bilateral credit, and (3) co-performance agreements. It is a new kind of economic transaction. Economic agents are taking a risk together on a shared economic goal to increase their value, aligning their performances, while simultaneously creating endogenous network liquidity to sustain their economic activities. We have described this logic in detail in the ECSA economic paper Protocols for Postcapitalist Expression (Minor Compositions, 2023). This model reduces the need for external liquidity, and with that, the power of a capitalist economic logic, allowing the blockchain space to explore new value forms and measurements. Importantly, it creates and amplifies trust to collaborate in a fully distributed way. Even though we need our infrastructure to be trustworthy, the desire for true decentralization and the need for safety must be grounded on acknowledging, understanding and nurturing trust.
January 3, 2021
A podcast with Akseli Virtanen (@econaut6), one of the founders of the Economic Space Agency (@ecospaceagency), an organization for exploring protocols for post-capitalist economic expression. Akseli previously founded the decentralized hedge fund Robin Hood Cooperative and has been referred as The Andy Warhol of Finance. During the interview we talk about how ECSA is exploring the creation of post-capitalist economic media through the creation of a new “economic grammar”, how we can co-opt financial jargon to imagine a post-capitalist future (like social derivatives), and the irony of using the work of Friedrich Hayek on economic calculation to show that capitalism sucks. If you’re interested in the social and political possibilities of the blockchain space, it’s absolutely imperative that you keep up with the work of ECSA.
September 21, 2020
What Comes After Decentralized Finance?
‘DeFi’ is a hot topic in the cryptospace but often reproduces conventional financial and capitalist organizational forms. Could financial protocols be used also to create non-exploitative forms of production and risking-together? This is what ECSA is proposing in their economic paper “The Economic Space Protocol: Towards Protocols for Post-Capitalist Economic Expression”
A discussion with Dick Bryan (University of Sydney, ECSA) and Akseli Virtanen (Economic Space Agency) on what comes after DeFi? What is that new thing that the native properties of the emerging p2p networking technology actually make possible (vs. doing the same finance just with a more capable substrate)?
In the discussion Dick and Akseli propose an answer: a post-capitalist economic media. But what does that mean? It means the production of many different “values” and the use of DeFi-like money market, credit, staking & exchange protocols for collateralizing, circulating and allowing many different kinds of values (like for example care, research, the environment, open source….) to access the accounting system, become stakeable, and conceptualized as “surplus”.
The economic networking protocols ECSA has designed allow the expression of any informational event or activity (and their compositions) as a value proposition, their encoding into a token form and entering into a value accounting, staking and circulation system. This is called “performance” in the economic paper; and the paper outlines a value theory of performance.
The Economic Space Protocol forms (A) a partition resistant & scalable market place [distributed exchange protocol] (B) a distributed payment & settlement network [distributed credit issuance & clearance protocol], and (C) distributed risk-sharing/ownership formation network [distributed equity protocol] among n-parties for these multi-dimensional value performances and their productions.
By doing this it also allows the expression of distributed production organization around these values (kind of like DAOs… but more expressible, composable, flexible, granular i.e. where multiple agents can at the same time participate in the design and operating of shared ownership/risk-sharing structures).
Together these capabilities combine into a new medium, or a new grammar, for economic-organizational expression. It is a new kind of internet native and very expressive economic platform for the information age.
The nature of our “economy” (our economic-organizational composition) is bound by the expressivity of the language that can conceive it. We have created a much more expressive language/medium – which is free to use and gives everyone the same capacities of expression – to describe and participate in our economic-organizational formations.
MoneyLab #9 Playgrounds for Post-Capitalism, Helsinki September 19-20, 2020. moneylab9.m-cult.org/