Crowdpol — a pro-social network for changemakers
How likely is a better world?”
As a species, we have more impact than any other life form on our planet. It is fair to say that we have not been using that power in a sustainable and beneficial way. Certainly not as far as other species go, that are dwindling in numbers unless they provide direct utility to us. Neither do we seem to be doing a very good job of taking care of our own. Certainly, people on average live longer today than a century ago and by and large have more options, but this is only one metric. Despite our technological development and growing affluence, significant numbers of our sisters and brothers are struggling badly. Some are laden with crippling debt, others are struggling by being displaced by wars and natural disasters. Many are severely malnourished and have scarce resources despite the vast wealth that seems to be out there.
There are, as many a scientist has stated, enough resources to take care of everyone’s needs, yet our current distribution system does not seem up to the task. There seems to be some basic design flaw in our current Operating System. At least if its purpose is to deliver the goods of life, liberty and justice for all.
Time for an upgrade?
If we were to take a step back and redesign our current global operating system from scratch, what might it look like? What would we want such an OS to provide? Perhaps we’d like to have more control over the rules and regulations that govern us, more to say about where we allocate our common resources. Perhaps we’d like more schools and hospitals and free time to spend with friends and family or to work on projects that are meaningful to us.
Perhaps we’d even like to have a stab at governing ourselves rather than having to abide by the whims of a select few with often quite shielded lives who spend more time being courted by lobbyists in private than walking among the rest of us in public. That is if we are fortunate enough to live in a democratic state that offers us a modicum of freedom in the first place. For a significant portion of our fellow humans, free and fair elections as rarely as once every fourth year is not even an option. And, let’s be honest, as long as it takes more money than most people make in a year to get elected to an office of influence, free and fair are rather loosely applied terms.
A new OS for a new age?
Many attempts at change have been made over the previous centuries, some more lasting than others. But as it goes with natural systems, all things revert to the mean. If the underlying system is not changed, any changes built upon it will be temporary at best.
Any sustainable change needs to be bold, broad and fundamental, yet simultaneously careful and wise. We need to understand the old system, figure out what parts are useful and can be co-opted into the new operating system we aim to evolve. And we need to decide together what we really want, for ourselves and for each other and for all those who are not yet born. We need to agree on this and then decide what we are prepared to do to get there, to make this all happen.
Taking The Next Step
The smallest unit in a democracy is the individual. The rights of the individual, therefore, must lie in the heart of a new global operating system. But if the smallest unit of a democracy is the individual, the smallest operative unit is the community. The tribe is what gets things done. It was through working together that we eventually rose to the position we now hold. A position we now must take responsibility for, as individuals and as communities.
The global community that this operating system is to serve must take its input from local communities that in turn take their input from individual members. The challenge is great and the tasks are many, but we are many too, and when we work together towards shared goals, there is little we cannot accomplish. We are a resourceful little species and the greatest illusion is that we are alone when, in fact, almost all of us share common goals. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. And we can only attain these by looking out for each other and looking after this planet that we live on and of.
The New Story
So this is the grand WHY of Crowdpol, to create a new operating system for global civilisation. An entirely absurd undertaking with little prospect of changing business as usual. If not for the fact that business as usual is killing our habitat, destroying our communities, making us sad and lonely and disconnected. We need a new operating system. End of story. And since humans are a storytelling species, let’s begin a new one together.
Let’s tell a story where those who work for others are the greatest heroes, where altruism is heralded as the highest of values, along with integrity and a good dose of competence. Where we relate to each other and the world through contribution not through extraction. Where need is met, where support is lent, where respect is mutual, where differences are honoured and where everyone is invited to contribute. And through contribution strengthening their bond to others and to all living things. And perhaps most importantly, their bond to themselves.This and much much more. Quite the story. An epic, even. So how could we possibly go about bringing this story into being? How do we weave nearly eight billion individual threads together and into one great common narrative?
The Nitty Gritty
A new operating system is not built in a day. Perhaps not even in a decade. And Crowdpol does not yet tick all the boxes by a long shot. Perhaps we never will. But we think we have a good shot at offering something that could take us there, the tools with which to someday create this new operating system.
At the core of Crowdpol lies a liquid democracy function. A forum where you can vote on proposals yourself or allow others to vote for you. A place where you can write your own proposals, polls and petitions, or together with peers of like and unlike minds. Because the more perspectives, the better the solutions. A synthesis of direct democracy and representative democracy. Not disruption but evolution. A democracy worthy of the New Story.
Democracy, however, is more than just the drafting of proposals and the casting of votes. It is an entire ecosystem that needs to verify facts, raise funds to allocate to common projects, measure the results of the outcomes in accurate and transparent ways, and learn from past mistakes. To name but a few features. Crowdpol does this by providing tools to do this and more and funds it all through a neat piece of technology we call The Altruistic Wallet.
Paying It Forward
The Altruistic Wallet is both the financial engine and the means of distribution within the Crowdpol Ecosystem. The concept is fairly simple. Though it is free to create a profile on Crowdpol and vote on issues if you so chose, as a paying member you get a number of perks. Paying members, after all, are the reason we don’t have to resort to advertising or harvesting your data. Paying members also get to decide what direction Crowdpol takes and what we build next. But mainly, members get to decide where the surplus that Crowdpol generates goes.
Crowdpol is a non-profit platform and does not have shareholders that expect dividends for their shares. Once we have paid the running costs and development costs, all surplus funds will be reinvested in the ecosystem. This happens through The Altruistic Wallet. Unlike regular wallets, the altruistic wallet can only be used for two types of payments. It can either support a changemaker by paying a regular dividend, or it can be used to support a project within the ecosystem. With enough members, most of the fee will be paid directly back into the members individual altruistic wallet, who can then decide who or what they want to support.
In this sense, Crowdpol lets you decide where your “taxes” should be spent. Naturally, you can add to this wallet with your own funds, or offer services to others within the ecosystem and receive payment into your altruistic wallet. But basically, this function allows you and you alone to decide where your share of the surplus created by the ecosystem should go.
A Better Currency
The final point that needs to be addressed in our brand new OS for civilisation is how do we establish and nurture trust among so many strangers? In the local village or tribe everyone knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, altruism and collaboration were simply the most effective ways to get things done. Favours were the currency long before the concept of symbolic value in the form of money was born. And more importantly, less trustworthy members of a close-knit community or tribe had very little chance to gain influence that would be detrimental to the group. The global village clearly lacks these dynamic mechanisms. But must it be so? We think not.
Through participation on Crowdpol, by contributing to projects and proposals, moderating discussions, verifying facts, managing projects or being favourably reviewed by project managers or performing a dozen other services and adding value to the network, users will rise in their trust ranking. This ranking will be able to be used outside the network, as a general indicator of a person’s trustworthiness and altruistic tendencies. Within the network it will give a user access to features that might otherwise need to be paid for out of pocket. As your deeds add up, your reputation grows into a thing of true value, acknowledged even by those who have never interacted with you. Trust is the cohesion of society. An honest and open way of measuring contribution to the common good, a system to measure trust that we can trust, is crucial for us to evolve as a species.
Why Join Us?
There are many other perks with Crowdpol that sets us apart from other platforms. We don’t spy on you, that we don’t manipulate you with secret algorithms, that we don’t sell your data to third parties, or even use your data ourselves without your explicit permission. We are open source, transparent and we let you decide, through your Altruistic Wallet, what path we take as a platform.
We offer a platform designed and dedicated to support you in your active work to create change with your community rather than try to lure you into staying passive in front of the screen for as long as possible. We promote open discussions and the meeting of different minds over positioning and gaslighting. We offer our users far more practical and advanced options than mere likes and dislikes in order to evaluate the confusing content that permeates social media and digital news purveyors today. We defend free speech, but we also require that everyone in our network treats everyone they interact with respectfully. And when individual freedom of speech clashes with individual rights, we let you be the judge of what is and what is not a transgression. We promote signal over noise, depth and consideration over soundbites and oversimplification, facts over speculation.
So why join us? Because what good are the best tools in the world without changemakers to use them to improve it?
We don’t harbour any illusions that Crowdpol will solve all our problems, but it might just be the ecosystem within which the new rules for a sustainable human civilisation can evolve. And you might just be the one who figures out the next crucial step in that evolution.