Ownership is the key here. To my mind, it’s the leverage point underlying all ‘social’ issues, and therefore what gets camouflaged by everything else.
Of course, ultimately, metaphysically, on the axis of the absolute, nothing can be owned—not even our own bodies or selves. But in the practical world, on earth, stuff is owned by people. Ownership means control; it means “who gets to decide.”
I can’t imagine an integral society in which ownership is something only a few people get to have, especially when it comes to basic needs, services, and the platforms we rely on to conduct our social, cultural, and economic lives.
Ownership, however, is not just a privilege. There’s a reason we say, when someone messes something up, “you own it.” Ownership entails responsibility.
I’ve started reading the book that @vmatekole recommends, Who Owns the Future?, by Jaron Lanier. I hadn’t encountered the author’s ideas before; really interesting dude. His argument, in a nutshell, is that in our networked world, whoever owns the most powerful computers (as well as the data those computers crunch) is going to have the most power. He calls these “siren servers,” as in the sirens Odysseus encounters—and whose allure (i.e., whose ‘network effect’) he must resist—on his journey home to Ithaca.
But what’s most interesting to me about Jaron’s arguments (as I understand them so far; I’m only a couple chapters into the book), is that he says the unequal outcomes are by design. Not intentional design necessarily, but effects of programming; code. And it follows that systems can be redesigned to produce different outcomes; and he has some suggestions about how this can be accomplished by encoding the notion that people own their own data, and should be transparently compensated for the information gleaned from them that companies and governments use.
But there’s another book that’s wonderfully complementary to Lanier’s, which is called Owning Our Future, by Marjorie Kelly. What’s great about this book is that Kelly compares and contrasts two fundamentally different models of ownership, extractive vs. generative, and she traces real world case studies, starting with the banks behind the 2008 financial crash, but then looking at various cooperatives and worker-owned businesses, showing how the ownership design of an organization effects outcomes.
I think blockchain could be a really powerful tool for challenging entrenched ownership models, since ownership often positions itself as the intermediary between needs and wants and their fulfillment, and blockchain offers the possibility of creating disintermediated flows. However, we could just as easily bake in extractive economics using blockchain, which is why Wall Street is so interested in the technology. As far as I can tell, blockchain is not inherently generative or justice oriented.
This is why I think ownership design is one of the key features of Cosmos we’ll need to discuss, and figure out how to distribute power and responsibility (along with costs and rewards) in a way that creates the most desirable outcomes for all involved, whether we end up using blockhain or not to make this happen.